Starting any business is always going to be a challenging proposition, let alone an eCommerce business. If running a business was easy, everybody would be doing it. After all, who wouldn’t want the freedom and control that comes with working for yourself and being completely in charge of your own destiny?
The main thing that keeps most people from pursuing their own business venture is self-doubt. That’s understandable – the majority of businesses will ultimately fail. However, once you make it past that initial tricky period – those first few years where most of the businesses that are going to fail will fail – and achieve a reasonable level of stability, you can then focus your attention on expanding your business and growing it out.
The advantage of an eCommerce business is that the internet enables you to reach a global audience with ease. If your website sells goods, then you will need to overcome the logistical challenges of transporting and shipping those goods to customers. If you sell services, on the other hand, you can sell these to someone on the other side of the world without having to incur any additional costs or difficulties.
If you want to turn your eCommerce business into a global brand and an economic powerhouse, you are going to need a damn good world domination strategy. Fortunately, we are here to help you out.
Don’t Take a One Size Fits All Approach
Many businesses hold ambitions of one day breaking out of their home market and branching out into other, previously untapped opportunities. However, every market is different and requires a different approach to tame and conquer. If you want your business to work for different audiences around the world, you are going to have to incorporate the characteristics of those audiences.
Obviously, you don’t need an entirely new website for every territory that you are trading in. However, you should offer different versions of the same website to the different markets. This will enable you to make any slight tweaks or adjustments that you need to in order for your eCommerce store to be easy to use for any customer, regardless of where they are from.
Similarly, your marketing strategy should take into account the differing tastes of audiences from around the world; the kinds of slogans and imagery that play well in one part of the world won’t always translate well elsewhere. A more personalized approach to marketing that demonstrates an awareness of local culture is a great way of improving perceptions of your brand in that place.
Create a Detailed and Fully-Costed Plan for Expansion
You should always have a plan to refer to and to guide you through the challenges of your chosen marketplace. Expanding into a new territory means that you won’t just be contending with the usual challenges of your industry, but also the challenges of the place you will be expanding into. In order to give yourself the best possible chance of success here, you are going to want to have a detailed plan that includes proposals for funding each aspect of it.
While each region that you expand into will require a slightly different approach, you should also aim to develop a regional roll-out framework that can be deployed whenever you expand into a new territory. This plan should include a strategy for establishing local contacts and training staff, if applicable, to deliver goods or services on behalf of your eCommerce business.
In order to make your expansion a success, you are going to need a dedicated and talented project manager to oversee the whole thing. If you don’t currently have anyone on your staff to fulfill that role, consider enrolling someone who shows promise in a project management training course.
Consider Your Pricing Strategy
Different markets, even if they share a currency, can be exposed to vastly different economic forces. In order to account for the differing economic conditions that exist throughout the countries that you trade in, you may need to adjust your prices to reflect local realities. In some places, the price of an item can vary significantly from what you are used to.
In some cases, this can make certain markets unrealistic targets for your business. If you don’t expect to make much money from expanding into a new area, then you will find it hard to justify paying the myriad costs involved in setting up shop there. Instead, you should focus on the new markets where you think you will be able to land the biggest returns.
Maximize Brand Exposure
The more you are putting your brand name and logo out in front of people, the more your brand will be recognized. If you want to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, then you need a strong brand to base them around. In some cases, your business will be your brand, and in others your brand will be a smaller part of your largest business.
In either case, you need to ensure that it is crystal clear to your customers what your brand is and why they should care about it. Your main marketing campaigns will do the heavy lifting of ensuring that people are aware of your business and why they should consider using you instead of your competitors. But it is through maximizing your audience’s exposure to your brand that you will be able to augment those campaigns and enhance their efficiency.
The best way of putting your brand out there will depend on the particular market that you are looking to break into. Different markets will respond to different techniques. If you fail to appreciate the nuances of the local market, the effectiveness of your efforts will suffer.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a vital marketing platform for any business operating today. Social media platforms are able to serve up highly targeted and finely crafted advertisements to specific groups of users. The power of this from a marketing perspective is hard to overstate. Social media will enable your business to reach out to the exact people that you need to win over in order to thrive in new markets. If you are able to generate some organic social media buzz, this can help to remove some of the biggest barriers to market penetration.
Use social media to get the word out about your business and test the waters before you commit too heavily financially to a particular course of action. You can use social media data to gauge how well your business is likely to be received by a new market without having to pay the considerable costs involved in actually expanding your operations there.
Global Cross-Border Shipping
Just as important as marketing your products and brand, is the delivery of the goods purchased by your newly acquired customers. When you run a local eCommerce business, you could choose to store your goods in your own warehouse, have your own staff to handle the pick & pack and make use of local logistics companies at fairly high rates. This is however hard to scale, and can be both costly and time consuming. Many growing eCommerce businesses therefore choose to work with an eCommerce order fulfillment provider. Partnering with such fulfillment houses means that they will handle the whole process from after a customer places an order, all the way up to the delivery of the goods at their doorsteps.
Storage, pick-packing, stock replenishment, marketing inlays (knitting) and more will all be handled by an eCommerce fulfillment provider. Shipping through such a partnership in most cases also means better rates, as fulfillment providers have special agreements with logistics companies and ship in bulk. They know the infrastructure, policies and tariffs of all countries around the world and can give you professional advice on growing your business.
Floship is one of Asia’s leading eCommerce order fulfillment providers. We set ourselves apart and pride ourselves for truly listening to the needs of our clients, providing them with a customized plan to get the quickest shipping times, at the best rates and reliability. Contact us for a free consultation and lets go over your business needs together.
Growing your eCommerce business from a small start-up and into a global brand is a very challenging undertaking. Naturally, you will have your work cut out for you if you are going to cut through the noise of your competitors and establish yourself as a brand that is recognizable around the globe. Make sure that you carefully consider each step before you take it and ensure that you are always aware of the nuances of any new markets you approach.
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