A Guide to International E-commerce – Clark St. James AdWords Agency, Social Media Marketing & SEO Norwich

The interconnectivity of the digital world means it has never been easier for e-commerce companies to advertise internationally. Breaking ground in new marketplaces holds out the potential for exponential growth both in sales and revenue. Indeed, research has shown that businesses who sell products internationally see 10-15% more sales on average than those who don’t.

International e-commerce is not something which can be entered into lightly, however, and there are many factors to take into consideration if your business is able to advertise effectively to a global audience, including linguistic and cultural barriers.

In our latest article, we highlight some of the key elements of successful global e-commerce.

Shipping Costs & Regulations

In making the transition from a domestic to an international e-commerce company, shipping is going to be one of your primary areas of concern.

No matter where your customers are located in the world, they are going to expect speedy and reliable delivery, otherwise, they will simply shop elsewhere.

Many online shoppers also expect delivery to either be free, or negligible in relation to the price of the product in their trolley. To illustrate this, a survey into online shopping habits found that 57% of respondents have cancelled orders due to high delivery costs, while 60% have abandoned a cart due to prohibitive shipping fees.

In order to estimate the cost of shipping in a new market, there are a few factors to consider:

Of course, many of the obstacles encountered in the shipping process can be circumvented by maintaining stock in a local warehouse. This is a much greater logistical challenge, and will also require significant ongoing investment, but it may be unavoidable for companies hoping to make a long-term impact in an international market.

Adopting Native Payment Methods

While credit cards are generally thought to be borderless, a failure to offer localised payment options could prove to be a barrier to a sale. Almost 50% of online shoppers claim to have cancelled a transaction if their preferred method of payment is not available, and this is something brands need to be sensitive to when branching out into new markets.

Preferred payments methods differ from country to country. For example, online consumers in China generally pay by Alipay, UnionPay or WeChat Pay, while those in Russia prefer Qiwi or Yandex Money. Failure to account for these preferences when entering these markets will almost certainly be to the detriment of product sales.

Adapting Your Marketing Strategy

With crucial considerations such as shipping costs and payment methods dealt with, your company will then be able to focus on defining strategy in your new target market.

The groundwork in defining your marketing strategy will go into researching and identifying your channels of choice to market your products abroad.

You will need to be able to identify the most popular and effective channels at each stage of the buying funnel. While the channels will remain broadly similar, the way in which they are used, and the function they serve in the shopping funnel can differ from country to country. Different countries will also have different social media and search engine preferences, and the advertising options in these channels will also differ.

E-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay reach into virtually all corners of the world, but there is still some diversity in native marketplaces, which generally only operate within one country or region (Walmart and Best Buy in the US, for example).

Adapting Your Advertising Strategy

When putting a product to market in a new country, there are also cultural factors to take into account when predicting how an audience will respond to your advertising. For example, tone-of-voice in German advertising is generally more formal, whereas shoppers in the US and UK are accustomed to a more informal tone, particularly on social media.

The psychology of colour is another factor to consider, with 85% of consumers citing colour as the primary reason for buying a product. Colour evokes emotion in human beings and naturally plays an important role in successful advertising. Perception of colour differs from region to region, however, meaning a one-size-fits-all approach to ad design is unlikely to be effective. In Asia, for example, red is a joyous colour, associated with happiness and celebration, whereas in the Middle East it is associated more with signs of danger.

For this reason, researching how your audience responds to textual and visual variations will be just as effective in marketing your products internationally as research into customs regulations and shipping fees.

Finally, Facebook Advertising is likely to be an attractive outlet for any brand advertising in a new market. Features such as multi-country Lookalikes, which allow you to match the demographic profile of your domestic audience in a new country, and dynamic language optimisation, which lets you show the same ad text in multiple languages, solve some of the major challenges posed by international e-commerce advertising.

For expert assistance with reaching your target audience online, whether domestically or internationally, contact digital advertising specialists Clark St. James on 01603 343477 or info@clarkstjames.com. Our team delivers a scalable return on investment for e-commerce companies across the major search and social media advertising channels.

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