Zoe Price, Negosentro | One of the infallible rules of business dictates that the wider your reach is, the more customers you will get, and with the percentage of global consumers about to cross 25% of the entire world population by 2025, opening your business up to international trade makes all the sense in the world. Nevertheless, selling internationally gives rise to a lot of additional factors for you to handle as well. In order to make the transition from a being a local seller to becoming an international seller less troublesome, here are a few things that you need to consider and prepare for.
If you are planning to open your doors to international trade, you will need a well-chalked out plan to make it happen. Identification of international markets and customers for your product/products is the first step in creating that plan. After the customers and markets have been identified, it’s time to gather additional market research data specific to the target regions, such as buying habits, spending patterns, local competition, local demands, gaps in supply, etc. As a general rule, it might pay off to remember that smaller nations tend to have the highest number of international shoppers on the internet.
The Payment Options
A major portion of the buyers are sceptical about international purchases, to begin with, and that’s why it is imperative that you present them with all the well trusted payment options when they are about to checkout and pay. In Europe, SEPA payments are one of the most trusted options, so make sure that you are using AccessPay to gain that all-important trust. It’s a cloud-based, single access SEPA payment portal, which offers clever little advantages such as mass-file conversion, direct-debit management, and quick credit transfer.
The Rules and Regulations
This is one of the primary reasons why a lot of businesses refrain from reaching out internationally; they do not understand the rules and regulations governing international trade and are, therefore, afraid of how those might impact their business. It cannot be denied that things can get pretty complicated and it would be impossible to explain everything involved without knowing all the particulars such as the countries in question and the foreign policies governing them. Nevertheless, here are a few points that you should keep in mind while doing the necessary research.
- You must let your customers know in advance about import duties and taxes that they have to pay
- The taxes and duties will differ, depending on the product in question and not just the country or region
- Check with your shipping service to make sure that they take care of the customs forms which must accompany the product
- Take note of the countries or regions that have free-trade agreements with your own nation
One of the biggest shortcomings of online shopping, in general, is the unavoidable delay that exists in between making a payment and actually receiving the product you paid for. This becomes an even bigger problem when an international shipment is involved because it takes much longer than domestic shipping. Even then, customers going online for international shopping usually expect a delay and are generally willing to wait for the product. That, however, doesn’t mean you should not be making the best effort possible to deliver the products as fast as possible – and well before the last expected delivery date. Keep them updated about their shipment’s status on a regular basis for assurance.
Returns and Refunds
Your return policies must comply with the regional consumer laws, but they must also be planned in a way so as to not put your business in a hard situation. On that note, check out the following points, which every seller should keep in mind while devising their return policy.
- Put a time limit on the return process
- Give your customers the option to opt for full store credit, instead of a full refund, when possible
- If the customer must pay for the return shipment, make that clear from the start in your return policy
There are, of course, a lot of other factors to be considered here as well, but these five are probably the most important ones on that list. Keep an open mind and accept the fact that you might make a few mistakes, but also know that in the long run, the ensuing international growth will be well worth it.