E-commerce is big business. No, scrap that – it’s HUGE and will only increase as internet penetration grows and more and more people turn to their computers and smartphones to purchase goods and services.

Recent statistics suggest that e-commerce will account for $53 billion of global FMCG sales by 2016 — an increase of $17 billion (47%) on the current $36 billion (Kantar WorldPanel). Although the USA has historically dominated e-commerce sales, by the start of 2016, China will overtake them in spending by collecting over $6 of every $10 spent on e-commerce in Asia-Pacific, and nearly 3/4 of regional spending by 2017.  In 2014, for the first time, consumers in Asia-Pacific will spend more on e-commerce purchases than those in North America, making it the largest regional e-commerce market in the world (Multichannel Merchant).

In short, if you want to truly maximise your sales and ROI you need to look abroad – the future is global.

If you haven’t yet embraced this massive potential then you really need to start looking at getting your website ‘international ready’. If you have and you’re finding sales have flatlined, well here’s 4 techniques you can think about the give your website a shot in the arm.

Exploit Shopping Days & Events


All countries and cultures have certain times they spend, spend, spend. You need to identify these and start being smart about optimizing your website and your goods to fit with these events. Christmas is an obvious example but have you ever thought about Eid ul-Fitr in the Muslim world, New Year in China or Diwali in India?

Similary there are other reasons why people may at one point in the year rush online; in Japan for example, receiving a summer bonus is the norm and what do you think they do with their extra cash? Shopping of course!  Even in the UK and the USA we have events such as Mega Monday (Cyber Monday in the USA) and Black Friday where there is a clear spike in online activity and sales.

Don’t forget to also look at special occassions across the globe. Valentine’s Day is an international phenomenon now but beware of national differences. Brazil celebrates Día dos Namorados on June 12, and Columbia celebrates día del amor y la amistad on the third Saturday of September. Taiwan, the greedy lovers, has two Valentine’s Day celebrations – February 14 and July 7.

So get out there, do some research and create a calendar of shopping events that are going to fuel your sales throughout the year.

Localize Into More Languages


If you’ve already translated and localized your website into Spanish, French and German then why have you stopped there? It’s a big world out there with lots of customers so identify new markets and localize your content and offering into those languages.

Common Sense Advisory found that it takes 12 languages to reach 80% of the world’s online audience and 21 to reach 90%. However rather than go out and start translating your website content into a whole raft of new languages, pick them carefully. You can start by identifiying a particular country/region you want to target or look specifically at growing e-commerce nations and focus your attentions on them.

Even better is to look at your Analytics and understand where you are getting traffic from. Are there any regions or countries where you are seeing small numbers coming through? Look at their behaviour and what they are doing. If the bounce rates are high, a localized site may soon put an end to that.

Create Trust With Your International Consumers


One of the biggest challenges facing online retailers is creating trust – trust in your brand, your customer service, your product and your legitimacy. Why people don’t trust your site will vary from country to country, however, here are a couple of surefire ways to build and create that trust.

Customer reviews: there is nothing more poweful than peer reviews, no matter what country. Try and encourage reviews on your website to help prove to visitors that you are legit. You can use other tricks such as showing how many people have bought a particular item or even how many have shared it on social media.

Use Trustmarks: trustmarks are the images or logos that can be displayed on a website to show they have passed certain levels of customer service, privacy tests or quality assurance. Have a look at local retail associations you can join – using their logo is in essence borrowing their trust. If you sell B2B, using logos of clients can also act as a trustmark. Endorsements through PR, news articles and if possible a local celeb can also be invaluable.

Go Mobile, m-Commerce is the Future


Look at some facts and figures (such as this) and you can see that more and more of us are using our phones to purchase online. According to new forecasts by Goldman Sachs, by 2018, m-commerce sales will reach $626 billion, which is just shy of equaling total global e-commerce sales for 2013 of $638 billion.

As it gets easier and easier, we buy more and more. Best of all, this is an international development. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you need to take immediate steps to rectify this as you could be missing out on a lot of traffic and therefore sales. And the good news is that creating an m-commerce site isn’t the headache it used to be offering you some pretty instant ROI.

Ready to fast forward? Try one or some of these techniques and watch your global sales grow.