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Preparing Your Ecommerce to Go: From Local to Global Scale

Erica Sunarjo graduated from South Texas College majoring in Marketing and Creative Writing. She used her knowledge to make a difference in the realm of business copywriting and invested heavily in traveling and language learning. Find her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

SMB’s have long thought that moving into global markets was just beyond their capabilities—that it would be too expensive, too complicated, and would involve a lot of red tapes, loads of research, and tough marketing.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, today, it is easier than ever, given the tools that are now available to smaller businesses to establish a foothold in foreign markets. And why is this? Because countries all over the globe have come to accept this new global economy, and the taxation, legal issues, and even shipping, have become far laxer.

If you have reached a plateau in your business, in terms of a customer base, and need additional markets to grow your company, then going global is probably your single option.

So how do you go about doing this?

Well, there are several strategies and tools that can make your global e-commerce goals totally reachable. Those strategies and tools revolve around three major activities—assessing market viability, developing strategies for moving into those markets, and then developing solid marketing plans to attract your target audiences in those markets.

Yes, there’s a lot of detail involved in other areas of expansion. But, for the most part, these can be handled by third parties, often at very low cost.

Let’s take a look at these three major activities.

1. Evaluating Your Opportunities

You want to pick and choose your global markets very carefully. The goal is to determine if there is a market for the product or service you are selling. Obviously, if you are selling bikinis, going into a traditional Muslim country is out of the question. And you won’t find a large market for your luxury jewelry in Nigeria. But you have to dig much deeper than this in your research, making no assumptions until you have the data to make a good decision.

There are tools available to make this job easier. You can begin with Google Trends—there is one tool that will allow you to see countries and regions which house the same demographics are your local target audience. You can also enter in keyword search terms in the target language and get a handle not just on popularity and demand, but also your competition. Another popular tool is SimilarWeb. You can actually scan in your local website and see foreign sites that sell the same products and services as you do, along with stats on use and popularity.

Still, a third avenue is to enlist the services of a native of any country you are considering. They will be able to tell you if there is a market for you and even provide you with general advice regarding modifications you might want to make, pricing, etc.

Strategies for Moving into Foreign Markets

As a small to mid-sized business, you will not be moving into several new markets all at once. Best to choose one or two of the best prospects from your research. But even if you do choose several, you will find that the details of setting this up can be much easier than they used to be. Here are some strategies and tools that will get you up and running quite quickly:

2. The Marketing

This is the one area in which you must be heavily involved. Of course, you can hire professional marketers, but your budget may not allow it.

You need to develop a strategy for marketing your product in foreign markets, and here are the important things you must consider:

The Bottom Line

Moving into foreign markets is much easier than it used to be. You no longer have to do everything yourself, and the right tools and partnerships can streamline the entire process. Going global only makes sense if you have a product that is in demand in foreign markets. Go for it!

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