Since its inception, the Internet has broken down international borders and created a host of selling opportunities for businesses around the globe. And although there has been a steady uptick of cross-border online sales since, there are still some business owners that need to pop an Advil or two before even thinking about making the big leap overseas.
And that’s because international commerce comes with its own set of issues, such as country-specific regulations and requirements, additional shipping charges, and duties and taxes. Although these items can sometimes stop eCommerce companies dead in their tracks, the pursuit of expanding their market base can still have big payoffs.
To find success abroad requires, first and foremost, due diligence on the seller’s part. Long before worrying about taxes and regulations, a merchant must conduct country-specific research to assess the viability of sales success for their specific product or service. Once it’s been determined whether an offering can fill a need in an emerging nation, the next step is creating a marketing strategy, tailored for the new market.
Once those items are tied up, a merchant can work toward locking down the particulars, like those needed for international shipping. Fortunately, most eCommerce solutions, like IBM’s WebSphere Commerce, support global shipping and already have the appropriate rules in place for dozens of countries.
Although there are taxes and duties that must be customized for obscure delivery locations, most countries have already been factored into the out-of-the-box software. Beyond that, an IT team can be solicited to make the necessary customizations as well as setting up an API for the global carrier of choice.
For those who don’t feel they have the legal aptitude or confidence in regard to the legalities of shipping overseas, there are businesses dedicated to help. Businesses, such as Bongo International and MyAmericanShipper, dedicate their entire efforts to streamlining the process of shipping overseas.
No matter the route, there are a lot of things to take into consideration from a business sense before kicking off international selling. Even when an eCommerce business is technologically equipped, it’s still key to ensure that the proper processes are in place from a business, marketing and inventory perspective.
When a business takes the appropriate, thoughtful steps toward a new endeavor – as opposed to rushing into something – the appropriate results are sure to follow.
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