Growing your business by selling internationally may seem daunting at first, especially as a small ecommerce business, but the Internet makes it possible for a company of any size to reach emerging global markets.
The truth is – when it comes to selling internationally – all you need is the basics. Once you’ve got these in line, you’ve already won half the battle. So for those of you still on the fence about taking your business global, here are the top four myths about international selling put to rest.
International Selling is Complicated, Competitive and Time-Consuming
There’s no doubt that growing your business internationally can appear incredibly complex. However, once you get a handle on the basics, you’ll be able to expand and grow into any market. In fact, according to a 2010 report from the National Small Business Association, companies that export are actually 9 percent less likely to fail than strictly domestic companies.
So what can you do to make international shipping and selling a little less intimidating?
The first step with international selling is not to do it by hand. Getting the right technology in place eliminates the fears and complexities associated with global selling.
Start with shipping software, which can save businesses time by pre-filling international customs forms. Shipping software also makes printing international shipping labels easy as pie (check out this video to learn how). It can also sync up with your product inventory and warn you of international shipping bans for specific products (for example, you can’t ship leather goods to Italy or playing cards to Greece – who knew?).
Another thing you can do is look into transaction management software and currency converters. These can integrate directly with your online store and manage the global payment process.
Only the Big Dogs Can Sell Internationally
So many small businesses believe that international waters are reserved for the likes of Amazon and big-box retailers. Want the truth? Any business with an online presence can take their company international.
Take a look at Seattle-based The Purple Store. The Purple Store began by initiating conversation on social media with potential customers overseas. When a Facebook post went viral, their international sales took off – now they have a fan base of customers around the world.
If this shows us anything it’s that your business, too, can tap into international markets.
You Have to Be Multilingual to Succeed
More than half of consumers purchase only on websites where information is presented in their own language, which is definitely a big factor to consider when taking your business global. However, it is not a necessity to speak every language in the book to be successful. While it is a big hurdle, there are countless options such as using an online or in-person translator, or a local expert.
If the idea is still too intimidating, start small and in your native language so you don’t get in too deep. For U.S. retailers, a great place to begin is Canada. You don’t need to expand everywhere all at once. Take it slow and make sure you can handle each additional market you take on.
There’s No Security or Visibility – It’s Just Too Risky
Many people have the notion that international shipping poses a high risk. Maybe your package will arrive, maybe it won’t.
While the reliability ultimately depends upon a country’s postal system, there are a number of options that can provide additional security.
For example, most couriers offer package tracking, even to international locations. One option in particular, USPS Priority Mail Express International, not only offers USPS tracking for free, but comes a money-back guarantee to select locations, as well as insurance against lost, damaged or missing contents. And don’t worry, speed and price aren’t compromised with this service – packages are delivered within 3 to 5 business days.
So what are you waiting for? Conquer those fears and get that international revenue stream moving!