SMB's Guide to Growing Your E-commerce Business Internationally

You are soon going to take the best decision of your life, India is one of the fastest growing economies and has been giving a strong stimulus to exports with improved global ties and incentives on international trade

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By Saahil Goel

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Nothing feels better than your products selling like hot cakes in the market. The next best thing can, perhaps, only be this happening at a global level. As in this case, you don't merely book a profit – you book it in dollars.

But taking your business beyond the national boundary is not an easy job. It can only be done through unceasing toil while simultaneously maintaining the perfect approach. So, if you're planning to go international with your business, here are some things that you should surely keep in mind:

Gauging the Waters, You're Planning to Tread:

First and foremost, you must be completely aware of the dynamics that affect your trade or might do so in the future. Conduct thorough market research while planning to expand to an international market. You must also understand your target market's GDP, infrastructure, legal requirements, culture, customer behaviour, demand for the product, and other relevant parameters.

Another factor to keep in mind is the bilateral relationship of your nation with the country (or countries) you're foraying into. Ideally, choose a country that enjoys an excellent bilateral relationship with India, as even a small escalation in bilateral ties can put your business (after all the toil over the years) in jeopardy. You can also avail additional benefits if your target country has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India.

Create a Global Website:

If you're an e-commerce marketplace-based seller and planning to expand, the next step will be to create a website for your business. Your website must work well internationally and should abide by relevant compliances (such as GDPR). You must also enable your buyers to browse web portal in their local language and see prices in their local currency. Integrating an additional converter will be a good move if you're targeting Indian expats.

Upping your Marketing Game:

As much as your target market is essential to you, so should be your marketing game. Understand demographics, local market, and work aggressively on reaching out to the locals for generating brand/product awareness. Expand your social media presence, tie up with local influencers, and run campaigns to popularise the brand/product amongst the local audience before selling in full swing. Your potential customers must be aware of your brand and its products.

Work out the logistics:

Figure out and streamline your end-to-end order fulfilment and shipping process. Be familiar with the foreign country's infrastructure and figure out your delivery procedure. Finalize international courier partners that can offer e-commerce shipping at reasonable rates and has an excellent track-record in fulfilment. Make sure they provide a good service while shipping products from India and have a broad reach across the world. They must be adept with the customs and fulfil all transportation demands that may arise.

Understand the customs duty, taxes, fees, etc.

You must also have a fair idea of the tax structure, fees levied, and the government regulations around selling in that particular country. Go through the norms and complete all formalities.

Zero in on Pricing

Gather adequate information around pricing of the product(s) that you're foraying with. Based on information gathered, define your pricing strategy. Factor in all additional costs including shipping and fulfilment costs, product costs, tariffs, and the cost incurred in currency conversion.

Setup Secure Payment Gateway

Also, set up payment options, again, while keeping in mind the local market. The payment options provided by you must match their preferred mode of payment including local mobile wallets and payment processors.

Analytics: Gaining Superior Visibility

As they say, "Data is the new oil.' Ensure that you track all the relevant data, source it, and analyze it using appropriate tools and technologies. This will help you gather valuable insights, drive superior traction, and ensure a higher return on investment. Base all of your decisions on hard facts, data, and insights. Moreover, track your progress and also study the failures that you may face.

You are soon going to take the best decision of your life. India is one of the fastest growing economies and has been giving a strong stimulus to exports with improved global ties and incentives on international trade. There couldn't have been a better time for you to go global. Now, all you need to do is make sure that you leave no stone unturned to ascertain your eventual success. Godspeed!

Saahil Goel

CEO and Co-Founder, Shiprocket

Saahil Goel is the CEO and co-founder of ShipRocket (BigFoot Retail Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)

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