Going international with your e-commerce business? Be prepared!


When you start your own e-commerce business, it is not long before you start thinking about growing it. One of the first issues you will want to address is how to sell your products internationally. There are loads of reasons you might want to do this; more customers, less competition, the potential for higher revenue and the list goes on. However, getting your e-commerce business off the ground is really hard work! There are many pitfalls you could run into if you are not prepared. So, figuring out the international aspect of your e-commerce business can be overwhelming. Here are the top 6 things to consider off the bat to help you reduce these issues so your international customers can enjoy their experience with your company.

1. Studying International Demand and Regulations

If you sell products internationally, you must be aware of local demand. Find out what products have a high demand and look into the laws that regulate their selling. For example, most countries ban door-to-door home delivery, so you will have to develop creative ways to reach your customers. If you sell FDA-regulated products like medical devices or medicines, you will need to examine the market’s regulations and determine if you need to build an office or subsidiary there.Understanding these regulations is crucial to the success of your international e-commerce business.

2. Freight Insurance

While your online store can be open worldwide, shipping internationally can be complex and expensive.If your shipment is stolen, lost, or damaged while in route, freight insurance can help you recover your losses and minimize your financial exposure.

At times a customer might ask you for a refund due to any reason, and you might adhere to their request. However, when the same customer asks for a refund on shipping charges from the shipping company, they might get a refusal. This can reflect poorly on the company’s image, and the buyer suffers a loss as well.

This is not a hypothetical situation. It has happened to thousands of e-commerce retailers, both large and small, and it only worsens when products are shipped internationally. This scenario emphasizes the importance of freight insurance. It will assist you in mitigating any losses you incur as a result of shipping a damaged product or if a product gets misplaced. If a buyer is unsure whether your product is a good fit for them, freight insurance can protect the buyer and the seller, even if they decide to return the product. Although the cost of freight insurance may appear to be prohibitively expensive, it is a worthwhile investment.

3. Attending Local Export Training Seminars

Exporting your product overseas can increase your revenue, but shipping your products internationally can be a tricky process. For example, you may have difficulty determining how much your product costs to ship overseas. You may not know which shipping methods you should use.

Fortunately, some business seminars offer training in export management. These seminars can teach you how to reduce your product’s shipping costs, as well as which shipping methods to use. A combination of these methods can be a real money saver when you are shipping to foreign countries. Attending an export seminar can provide you with a better understanding of export management. They areorganized by export management professionals, who can teach you what you need to know about exporting your product to international markets.

4. Invest in a Low-Cost Alternative

Websites make it easy for your international customers to make purchases. Still, you have no control over their fulfillment or payment processes. In other words, you have no control over what happens to your products after they are bought. But thanks to the growing number of global e-commerce platforms, you can simplify the process and sidestep the headaches of international shipping and payments. Like Amazon, some of these platforms are easy to use, free or low cost. They do not require you to invest a large amount of money in inventory or marketing. The main advantage of using these platforms is that it lets you get started right away. You will be able to test whether your products will sell and whether your pricing is effective. Also, they have built-in features that help you sell internationally — from currency configuration to shipping, taxes, payments and more. 

5. Supporting Multiple Currencies

Many e-commerce store owners invest time and effort into ensuring that their online store is localized for as many national currencies as possible. Sometimes, though, this becomes too much work. In addition to your local currency, you can also support other currencies. Doing so can extend your reach to international customers, and it allows you to make global sales. It is, however, a good idea to stick with just a few currencies so that your site does not get overloaded with currency conversions.

6. Excellent Customer Service  

International customers have unique expectations and are often concerned about the handling of their orders. To help make sure your international customers are not disappointed, give customers instant access to customer service agents. They can ask any questions they want and even check their order status while they wait. While chatbots and automated customer service systems are great, having actual customer service agents available is essential. Humans are better at providing outstanding customer service, and customers know that. Customer service reps should be available by phone, email and live chat. This helps customers reach them quickly and allows customer service agents to handle multiple queries at once. Sometimes customers may not follow up with you right away, but following up with them is important. If you send an email asking customers whether they have received a parcel or not, it gives them an incentive to make another purchase.

The Key Takeaway It takes immense effort to expand your e-commerce business internationally. However, if you want to sell your product overseas, it is essential to consider international e-commerce possibilities. Indeed growing your business globallymight be complicated, even if it is solely online.However, you can overcome all challenges by doing your homework, following the best practices, opting for export training and providing solid customer support.