Mistakes to Avoid when Expanding Overseas
Expanding overseas can be difficult. You are dealing with new customers, new marketplaces, new regulations and new territories. All of these elements mean that there are several potential pitfalls, here's what they are and how to avoid them.
1. International Shipping Services
Posting your products overseas can be troublesome without the correct research. Just because you can ship an item domestically with one carrier, doesn't mean you can use the same carrier to ship that item overseas. Be sure to investigate size and weight limits in each territory before you begin shipping, this will save you time and effort in the long run and prevent parcels getting rejected before your customer receives them. You can find out details of Royal Mail's overseas parcel delivery limits here.
2. Delivery Costs & Times
This needs to be taken into account before listing your products. Investigate which company and shipping service will be used for each of your products and how much this will cost. This will affect your product pricing and the shipping services you offer. Once you have the information, you will have to ask yourself: Can I really afford free shipping? Would I be better using 3PL or Amazon FBA?
Be fully transparent with your customers. There is nothing worse than being stung at checkout with enormous shipping costs and tariffs. Have your shipping policies fully translated fully visible.
3. Getting Lost in Translation
You would never post low-quality content in your domestic market, so why would you do it overseas? 19% of customers don't trust foreign shops. Provide them with a fully translated, fully localised experience so they feel comfortable throughout the journey.
Accurate, human translations of product content and company information are crucial to selling cross-border. Clarity E-Commerce Translation's service covers product information, policies such as delivery and returns, social media content and much more and we never use machine translation. (Find out more here.)
4. Not Meeting Customer Expectations
Providing excellent customer service is the best way to build trust in your brand. A good customer experience leads to positive reviews and repeat custom. If you are selling via your website, all delivery and returns information should be easy to find and easy to understand.
For marketplace sellers, you must monitor messages and feedback and be sure to stay within the marketplace targets. Keeping up with messages and feedback, while meeting Amazon's KPIs across several countries can be difficult, so we have introduced the Multilingual Customer Service Package. By using this service, you let us reply to your customers, monitor feedback and ensure you are meeting marketplace KPIs.
5. Forgetting Seasonality & Local Promotions
Local promotions and seasonality can represent both huge opportunities and (if not managed correctly) huge risks. Be aware that different dates have different significance across the world. Mothers day is a classic example, celebrated on different dates throughout the world. Find yourself an e-commerce calendar and plan promotions and campaigns around this, the same way you would in your domestic marketplaces.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day are 3 huge shopping days on Amazon and it is essential you are prepared in all the marketplaces you trade on. You will need to consider pricing, stock levels (Seller Fulfilled and FBA) and listing errors.
As with any promotional day, failure to prepare could cost you a huge amount of sales, so don't get caught out.