A fair majority of American e-commerce operators do not sell beyond U.S. borders. For the most part, it’s due to a lack of knowledge about customs and exports. Business owners view exports as a big unknown and something they don’t want to be involved with. The thought of international ecommerce shipping can also be intimidating. Still, there is one compelling reason to set all that aside and expand your ecommerce operation to a global market.
What is that reason? Revenue. As an ecommerce operator, you are in business to make money, right? And to make money, you need customers buying from your store. The more customers you have buying, the more revenue you are bringing in. So doesn’t it make sense to reach as many customers as you possibly can?
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Online Shopping Is King
Online shopping was already coming into its own before COVID struck. The pandemic only pushed it to the next level. So much so that 50% of the world’s consumers shopped online more than usual during the height of the pandemic. That amounts to billions of people. If you learn nothing else from this post, this one fact alone is the #1 reason to take your ecommerce operation global.
Estimates suggest that the global ecommerce market will exceed $5 trillion in 2022. Furthermore, China is the world’s fastest growing ecommerce market. Chinese consumers already account for 52% of all ecommerce activity worldwide, so if your products are not reaching them, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to grow your business.
Going Global Takes Time
Taking an ecommerce platform global isn’t exceptionally difficult, but it’s not something that can be done overnight. Ecommerce operators need to build their infrastructure to accommodate overseas business. They must build their inventories so as to be able to keep up with demand. They need to learn the rules and regulations governing exports.
Above all that, ecommerce operators also have to figure out who they want to use as a shipping partner. DHL is one of the world’s most prolific global logistics companies, according to Texas-based Preferred Shipping. Through a global network of resellers and partner companies, DHL is able to offer international ecommerce shipping to nearly any country in the world. They would be an excellent choice for shipping.
Start Slow and Close
Preferred Shipping, like so many other experts in the field, says it is best to start slow and close. As a U.S.-based ecommerce retailer, consider expanding your operation to Canada first. Mexico is another good option. By staying closer to home, you will be able to launch your expansion efforts while simultaneously improving your infrastructure.
Going full global will mean investing in software solutions for accounting and export compliance. Depending on the products you sell, export compliance may mean little more than making sure you print shipping labels accurately. But even if your exports are more complicated, there are plenty of companies that offer compliance services at reasonable rates.
Growth Could Come Quickly
With the popularity of online shopping, it is very possible that growth could come very quickly for your operation. Just expanding to one or two international destinations could significantly increase your business. Be prepared for it. Once you have those first few international markets nailed down, you can choose a few more and start working them the same way.
In closing, remember this: revenue is what drives this whole thing. At least half the world’s consumers shop online on a regular basis. They have no plans to stop. The only way to tap into the largest possible share of those consumers is to go global.