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4 steps to build your e-commerce website globally

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With e-commerce becoming increasingly popular as a sales outlet, opportunities to sell products on a global scale are also increasing, particularly in North America, with e-commerce sales expected to reach $423.34 billion in 2016, a rise of 15.6%. However, launching overseas is not easy. We will outline some of the main steps involved to launch your e-commerce website globally.

Localize your product

If you’re going to launch a particular product in more than one country, it’s important to make sure you adapt that product to suit local preferences and cultural differences. KFC made Chinese consumers a bit apprehensive when “finger licking good” was translated as “eat your fingers off.” This is an example of a well-known business failing to bring an existing product to a new market. Some companies go the extra mile to localize products by changing flavors or appearances to suit local preferences. Chocolate company, KitKat, for example, created a green tea chocolate bar specifically for Japanese customers.

Localize your website

Independent research firm, Common Sense Advisory conducted a survey in 2014, which found that 87 percent of consumers who can’t read English won’t purchase products or services from an English-language website. 60% of global customers also said they rarely buy on English-language sites. So it’s vital that if you’re branching out to non-English-speaking countries, that you translate all content. And that doesn’t mean relying on Google Translate. To ensure content appeals to international consumers in terms of language, style, tone, shopping habits and terminology, you should recruit a local team or professional translator.

Assess supply and demand

In order to know what to sell in a new market, you need a good understanding of the demand in that particular market. Conducting a regional analysis around local competitors, product demand, pricing and consumer behavior will give you a better idea of the size of the market that exists, the supply-and-demand dynamic for your product and the price at which it can be sold.

Set prices accordingly

As mentioned in our previous point, after conducting a regional analysis of a new market, you can get a better idea of how to price your products accordingly. Many factors contribute to local pricing in global markets, including the cost to manufacture the product, your competitors’ pricing in that market, fluctuations in foreign currencies, and even the preferred payment method of that country. For example, according to Ontraport, 50% of Germans prefer paying with bank transfers, while many Chinese customers favor the international payment platform Alipay.

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