New markets can offer both tremendous opportunities and unexpected challenges. Despite the fact that the world is becoming more connected thanks to internet and air travel, there are still some cultural, economic and geographical differences.
Five key factors are essential to successfully go global: Language, infrastructure and payments. Legal requirements and cultural norms are also important.
Although it may seem obvious, communicating in foreign languages can be a major problem for companies when they enter new markets. Although many countries have a limited English-speaking population in many places, it will help you reach more people if your site is available in their native language. Google Translate is useful, but MultilingualPress is better. This tool creates localized experiences on your site.
No matter what tool you use to communicate, languages can be complicated. You don’t want to offend customers by using awkward language. It is possible to test key pages and ask for customer feedback. You can also focus on one language at the time.
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China is a country with many languages. Many regions also have their own dialects, which can lead to confusion among native speakers. According to estimates, only 10 million of the 1.3 billion Chinese people speak English. This could require significant investment to make your site accessible to speakers of Mandarin, Wu and Min as well as other local dialects.
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You’ll need to be familiar with issues in other countries if you are used to selling and shipping within America. Internet penetration may be lower, roads and air traffic may be less frequent, and it may be harder to get products to customers in rural areas.
Customer satisfaction will depend on knowing which areas in your new market can be serviced. You could damage your company’s reputation if you fail to deliver the product or have significant delays.
WooCommerce shipping is our preferred solution for eCommerce stores selling in America. Now international shipping options are available with DHL. This makes a complicated process much easier and more economical.
Take Argentina as an example: While many Latin American countries lack the infrastructure of North America or Europe, Argentina has much to offer. The country has a higher internet penetration rate than many of its neighboring countries and more than 1,300 airports. Only 142 of these airports have paved runways and 30% of roads in the country are paved. This can cause delays and logistical problems when it comes to getting products to customers.
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There are many ways to manage money. Some countries rely heavily on cash while others rely on credit. Others have moved to digital wallets. Money habits can change across countries. Rural areas might require different payment options to cities. It is important to research the country and learn how they make their purchases. A website by the US Department of Commerce provides great starting points.
WooCommerce makes it easy for merchants to accept payments from anywhere in the world. You can accept credit cards, debit cards or any other payment method by using the WooCommerce-ready payment portal.
Take Australia as an example: Paying in Australia is relatively simple. Nearly 70% are made using debit or credit cards. The remaining 30% of payments are made almost exclusively with PayPal. You will need to be able to accept multiple credit cards in order to expand your business into Australia.
Regulations and laws
It can be difficult to learn the laws and regulations applicable in each country or region. Some countries prohibit the import or sale of fruits, vegetables or plants because of agricultural or environmental concerns. Others limit alcohol, weapons or books, while others restrict alcohol and toys.
There are rules that govern business operations, as well as rules regarding commodities. Although some legal information is available online, it is advisable that a shop looking to expand to a foreign country hire a local lawyer in order to make sure they comply with all regulations.
Take India as an example: In 2018, India amended its laws regarding inventory-driven eCommerce models to limit foreign companies like Amazon and Walmart. Although many eCommerce companies are unaffected by the changes, it can be problematic for those companies that use dropshipping or bulk purchasing.
Marketing and culture
Cultural norms can be complex and nuanced. They are important, just like language. If you use inappropriate phrases, photos or marketing techniques, it can be offensive to your customers. However, marketing that is in tune with local cultures can result in significant success.
While you can search business etiquette online, hiring a local expert will give you the best chance of spotting potential pitfalls before they are published. You can track your ads to see which messages are performing well and which ones are not. You’ll also be able optimize your efforts to maximize conversions at the lowest possible cost.
This helps you monitor potential fraud in certain countries. Are there campaigns that are located in particular areas or appear on certain sites that generate a high volume of clicks and revenue? This should be a top priority.
Take Japan as an example: Social media in Japan is just like the US. Contrary to the US, Japanese advertisements are text-heavy and provide a lot more information than American ones. Some reports indicate that Japan has the highest level of ad fraud worldwide, despite having a high newspaper circulation. Digital advertising might be less important in Japan than it is in other markets, because of this.
The world is waiting
You must be ready for hard work, research and memorable memories if you want to expand your business into new markets. The WooCommerce community has experts from all disciplines, as well store owners, developers and marketers who are going through the same challenges as you. To ensure smooth transitions and expansions, take the time to meet new partners and to get the right extensions.