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How to Grow your eCommerce Business Internationally

As an eCommerce business owner, you’re selling yourself short if your goal is only to grow in one country. eCommerce is special and unique because anyone anywhere in the world can buy your products. Check out some of these statistics from our latest blog post:

  • Global eCommerce sales are expected to reach $6.4 trillion in 2024
  • Online shopping is happening increasingly outside of country borders. 
    • 14% of shoppers in India bought goods from the United States. 
    • 57% of consumers in both Western and Eastern Europe and 48% in Asia/Pacific buy from retail websites outside their own country. 
  • Cross-border shopping is predicted to make up 20% of eCommerce in 2022.

Convinced? Although growing your eCommerce business across the globe is entirely possible, it does take some proper planning and execution. Follow along for tips on how to grow your eCommerce business internationally. 

Growing Internationally: A Mix of Marketing and Practicality 

When you hear the words “growing your business,” your brain may automatically jump to marketing. While you wouldn’t be wrong in guessing this article is about marketing, it’s also about practicality—for example, the speed of your website or your international shipping. There are several main points to understand that can help get you started:

1. Understand your target market.

How you market is dependent upon who you’re trying to market to. But even if you’ve decided your target audience is “moms all across the world,” you still have to discern if you need to change your approach to marketing when virtually crossing international borders. 

People who live in different countries are, well, different! From the jokes they find funny to the language they speak, what might make people in your home country laugh could offend people across the globe, so it’s important to understand who you’re marketing to. 

As for the language barrier, you could try subtitles on videos or create marketing collateral in a variety of languages. For example, you could create a website specialized for a different country you are targeting. Greeting consumers in their native language is important because 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.

But the first step is making sure your customers find your website in the first place, so the key to that is optimizing your new website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). To rank internationally, your website needs to be optimized internationally. 

To rank on international Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)—the key to international eCommerce success—you need to translate 100% of your website. The SERP is the results that the consumer sees when they type a keyword into the search engine. Translating your website includes:

  • All written website content
  • Metadata (example: meta descriptions)
  • Unique URLs with language-specific subdomains or subcategories

After you cater to your new market in their language and their “style,” as well as make sure they can find your website easily, you’re on the path to growing your eCommerce business internationally.

2. Ensure your website is speedy and mobile-friendly. 

A fast website is essential to rank on the SERP. Why? Because it’s important for a great user experience, which is the priority of the search engines. Slow websites negatively affect your conversions and your SEO ranking.

To improve website speed (and increase conversions and revenue), here’s what you can do:

  • Reduce redirects
  • Leverage browser caching 
  • Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN)
  • Optimize images & decompress files
  • Improve server response time
  • Remove render-blocking Javascript
  • Optimize your coding (Javascript, CSS, or HTML)

In addition to speeding up your website, it’s also important to ensure that mobile users have a great experience on your site. Not only does Google favor mobile-friendly websites, but they also increase conversions. 

Still not convinced mobile website optimization is that important? Let’s take a look at the mobile eCommerce statistics

Here’s how to optimize your site for mobile users:

  • Avoid pop-ups
  • Optimize menu navigation
  • Ensure all text is readable on mobile devices
  • Accept a variety of payment methods
  • Include a search function
  • Ensure images and videos are optimized for the mobile experience

By speeding up your website and improving your website on mobile devices, you will grow your website internationally and increase your revenue.

3. Offer fast international shipping (and returns).

If you’re selling physical products, and you want to grow your eCommerce store internationally, offer speedy international shipping. International shipping is crucial for global success. No matter where in the world you may be, consumers want (and expect) to receive the products they bought in a timely manner. They don’t want to wait weeks or months on end, and they also don’t want to pay a hefty shipping fee. You can learn more about international shipping here.

When offering international shipping, it also makes sense to offer international payment methods. Preferred payment methods vary depending on the country (and its culture). Take time to consider how your target market would prefer to pay and offer them those options. The more payment options you offer, the easier the checkout process is for consumers (which will decrease cart abandonment rates). 

For example, check out the differences in how consumers in the Netherlands prefer to pay versus Germans:

Similarly, international return options also need to be available to consumers. If you don’t offer international returns, consumers will be less likely to purchase your products. Returns are like a safety measure; they ensure that the consumer either gets what they expected or their money back.

International deliveries, payment methods, and returns are all essential if you want to elevate your eCommerce business on the global market.

Bottom Line: Focus on your Consumers

Whether we’re focusing on a marketing or practical aspect of growing your eCommerce business internationally, your priority should be your consumers. Their experience shopping with you should be seamless, from the moment they click on your website to the moment they’re unboxing your product. 

Focusing on your consumers and their experience browsing your store, checking out, and receiving (and possibly returning) their products is the key to growing your eCommerce business internationally. 

While ensuring your consumers across the globe have an excellent experience with your store isn’t easy, it is certainly possible. Here’s to your international eCommerce success!

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