Essential advice for launching a global ecommerce business

If, as many experts believe, Ecommerce is the future of commerce, smart entrepreneurs should be quickly figuring out how to get their share of this potentially $3.5 trillion global market.

Thu Dec 15 09:46:00 EST 2016

If, as many experts believe, Ecommerce is the future of commerce, smart entrepreneurs should be quickly figuring out how to get their share of this potentially $3.5 trillion global market. Already 80% of the world’s online population has made a purchase using the internet, and half of those shoppers were repeat customers. As Andre Schmidt, Pitney Bowes vice president and general manager, global trade solutions, says, “Ecommerce is a thriving component of global commerce.” And, he adds, the “costs and complexity of cross-border Ecommerce are going down, making it an easier and more attractive” option.

There’s a good reason to going global – two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power lies outside the U.S. That’s 790 million international customers you could be reaching. But how to start?

If you’re considering starting an Ecommerce business, there’s a lot you need to know. To make the startup process less daunting we’ve curated some advice and insights from business experts and created this list of Essential Advice for Launching a Global Ecommerce Business who contributed to our recent #PowerofPrecision tweet chat.

Step 1: Identify Challenges and Obstacles

  • Global Ecommerce requires having local market knowledge, including knowing about each country’s laws and regulations, commerce policies, import duties, compliance requirements and proper payment methods.
  • Make sure there are actually buyers for your products/services in any prospective market.
  • Deliver quality products and excellent customer experience.
  • Language can be a sizeable barrier. Check your words carefully.
  • You’ll need logistical infrastructure. Where can you get information, assistance and support; what are the most efficient payment methods; what are your preferred shipping times; and what costs will there be?

#Ecommerce can't be denied - and the whole world wants it! #PowerOfPrecision


Step 2: Get Started

  • Enter easy markets first to see what works and what doesn’t. Consider Australia and China. Craft a specific plan for each market you plan to enter.
  • Be hyper-transparent when it comes to prices, quality and brand value.
  • Make sure consumers clearly understand any shipping and customs charges and can easily track their orders.
  • Allow customers to use their credit cards or other trusted universal payment option, such as PayPal.
  • Ensure your site is trustworthy.
  • Be available. Tie in a live chat feature so you can answer questions when customers get to your site.
  • Hire and empower locally, but don’t overwhelm local employees with international roles.
  • Work with experienced partners who offer turn-key solutions and cross-border shipping.
  • Using the same tactics and strategy in every region will not work. Learn the culture first.
  • Make sure your products, prices, language and currency fit each market.
  • Think There are now more mobile devices (7.9 billion) than people on earth (7.4 billion).
  • Mobile makes up at least 45% of total Ecommerce sales.
  • When setting pricing include all additional costs, such as duties and fees.
  • Getting dimensional weight down is key to determine shipping costs.
  • While free shipping encourages buying, make sure the shipping fees are covered in the final costs of the products.
  • If you charge for shipping, let customers know their specific shipping costs, including customs charges.
  • Think locally when it comes to customer expectations, sales & marketing practices, import & export laws, packaging preferences, currency fluctuations and which economies are particularly volatile and laws/regulations.

A3) Global #ecommerce requires local market knowledge including laws/regulations, import duty & proper payment methods #powerofprecision


Step 3: Begin Your Marketing

  • Start building your brand. It helps protect your trademarks and brand name.
  • Be aware of how your messages translate into other languages. Chevy tried selling its NOVA automobile in Mexico. But nova means “No Go” in Spanish.
  • Use v It helps customers “see” the item as their own.
  • Use SEO. If it’s not discoverable, it won’t be bought.
  • Use social selling. Social media platforms make it easier to hook in shopping features.
  • Use local domains and social profiles.
  • Use social media. Consumers “discover” products on Pinterest and Facebook. They “find” them via Google.
  • Use creative packaging.

Adapt or Perish! RT @NeilOKeefe: Technology is shrinking the globe and opportunity is fleeting. #PowerofPrecision


Resources from Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce

The Global Ecommerce Roadmap.

10 Things You Should Know About Global Commerce

Thanks to the following for sharing their insights and expertise during the #PowerofPrecision chat on July 22, 2016.

Bart Casabona                 Chitra Chaudhuri

Marsha Collier                  Adel de Meyer

Maria Floria                      Scott Johnson

Russel Julius                    Evan Kirstel

Angela Maeirs                  Brian Moran

Neil O’Keefe                     Andre Schmidt

Nicole Smith                     Timothy Snow

Christy Soukhamneut       Ivana Taylor

Gwen Turner                     Greta Wilson