Welcome to this page about the technical side of expanding your online business into other countries. We’ll show you how to think beyond your home turf and give you a checklist to help make sure your website, e-commerce system and payment process are friendly to international visitors. Imagine you own a vintage record shop in Brighton. Your reputation has spread and you’re starting to get some inquiries from international collectors.
There’s never been a better time to take your online sales global. Let’s have a look at what you need to do to succeed. Step one, language and localization. We have an entire lesson with tons of details, but here’s the basics. If you’re growing into an area that primarily speaks another language, you’ll need to translate your site and have it done by a native speaker, not a machine along the same lines. Is localization also covered in more depth elsewhere? Essentially, this refers to making sure things like forms where customers submit information or inquiries is compatible with, let’s say, the ways other countries write addresses or phone numbers. Moving on to step two payments. Different countries have different preferred payment methods, so you need to investigate each to include them in your target markets. Online payment services like PayPal and world pay may be an easy solution since they work worldwide. Remember that some customers may not have access to credit cards and so will prefer to use these services or even their debit cards. Also look into using an e-commerce system that adapts for different currencies and taxes, helping your customers pay without having to think about exchange rates, an additional tax. When customers don’t have to make these calculations themselves, they’re much more likely to buy. Finally, step three review. Take some time to go over your entire site. From the point of view of an international visitor, look at the site objectively and run through the process a visitor from your target market would take to make a purchase or to engage with you. Is it a clear path or their familiar terms and formats, currencies, payment methods, if everything’s ready?
Congratulations, but make sure you come back on a regular basis and check that everything’s working as it should be. Being able to advertise to customers from international markets is a potentially lucrative opportunity. Making your website friendly to visitors wherever they’re from will help remove any barriers to sales.