Entering new international markets can be an effective way to rapidly grow your e-commerce business. But it comes with a few challenges you need to consider.
Thinking about taking your e-commerce business global? (If you are, check out our 4 step guide first to decide whether you should ship overseas).
Implementing an international shipping policy comes with many positives including the opportunity to grow your business by selling a wider range of products to larger markets.
However, there are also some challenges – like additional marketing costs and a new set of local competitors – that you need to keep in mind.
Use this list of pros and cons of international shipping to help inform your decision:
- Grow your business: It’s the obvious benefit but also the most important. Implementing an international shipping policy will open your e-commerce business to new overseas markets that will drive the growth of your business.
- Reduce seasonal slow downs: If you sell a seasonal product, shifting focus to the North Hemisphere summer when Australia moves into winter, for example, will help keep your sales steady year round.
- Sell a wider range of products: New markets come with different needs. Just because a product range may not have worked well in Australia doesn’t mean that international markets will not be more receptive.
- Reach larger markets: Retail is essentially a number’s game. Expanding beyond Australia’s modest population gives you access to a huge number of potential new customers in markets that dwarf your home-grown base.
- Leverage Australian-made products: Australian-made products carry a certain level of prestige in some overseas markets. Consider making this a central part of your international marketing strategy to create a point of difference from domestic competitors.
- Additional marketing costs: You must spend money to make money, and that means investing in marketing campaigns that target international buyers in order to break into emerging new markets.
- Extra market research: New customers come with new expectations. Ensure you do your research so you know exactly the delivering timeframes, shipping costs and customer service support that international buyers expect.
- Managing international returns: Just like managing your domestic returns, you’ll need to implement an international returns policy that protects your bottom line against associated costs.
- Dealing with documentation: Most governments require documentation when you want to ship goods across borders. There are also varying duty rates between countries that you’ll need to account for.
- Competing with local companies: Entering an international market means you’ll also be competing against existing local companies with cheaper shipping rates. Focus on defining your unique selling point to overcome this.