Analyze the local market
To establish an effective commercial operation in foreign markets, it is necessary to know the cultural context, consumer habits and what competitors are offering. Studying the local context in which you intend to operate will therefore be a fundamental element to properly calibrate your offer, taking advantage of the market trends: you will have to overcome language barriers by adapting your online store with a translation of the contents and all aspects related to sales methods. It will then be important to understand customs and traditions to intercept particularly favorable moments for your business in order to organize marketing activities such as promotional campaigns and targeted offers. The identification of possible local partners to collaborate with can also be a useful advantage to bring yourself closer to your consumers.
Study the regulations of the reference countries
When you want to sell online abroad, it is important to consider the relevant regulations. It is the laws and rules of the country in which the consumer resides that must be complied with in order to avoid running into delays in deliveries, the blocking of goods at borders or possible sanctions.
If the goal is to sell in European Union countries, the reference legislation is unique and homogeneous. This is the EU Directive 31/2000, which through the Geo Blocking measure protects consumers residing in the European Union by preventing geographic blocking between countries, discriminatory forms based on nationality or the application of different conditions of access to goods and services depending on the places of residence.
The situation is different for non-European countries, for which it is necessary to know the customs regulations and to inquire carefully to find out if there are restrictions regarding your business.
For example, China, one of the largest online markets in the world, has released the List of CBEC Retail Imports, the so-called Positive List, which collects all the products that can be marketed in the country.
However, there are general rules that are universally valid to take into consideration which concern the clarity of sales contracts, the guarantees related to the conformity of the goods, which must meet the requirements of the laws of the country in which you intend to operate, the payment methods, the rules relating to returns. You will then have to evaluate carefully whether there are particular shipping costs, taxes or the applicable customs duties.
Marketplace, App or proprietary e-commerce?
There are various ways to sell abroad and they can greatly affect the level of the initial investment. If you intend to start with a minimum amount, the advice is to rely on the numerous marketplaces on the web, such as Amazon, eBay, Spartoo, ePrice and others. These platforms, which have millions of users, play an intermediary role in B2C: they offer their space to sellers, who can offer their products to a large clientele by exploiting their structure and reliability. In exchange, the marketplace retains a percentage on the transaction of the item sold. This sales method is an excellent tool for testing products and pricing policies in foreign markets before deciding to invest.
To avoid part of the sales being absorbed by intermediaries, it is possible to base your business on a private platform, opening a proprietary e-commerce operation. In this case, it is obviously necessary to invest economic resources in setting up, planning and managing the online shop. Finally, it is necessary to activate a collaboration channel with specialized companies for the logistics part in order to make warehouse management and shipping operations more fluid and rapid.
Rely on logistics service companies.
If the role of logistics appears to be fundamental in local e-commerce sales, it is absolutely essential in activities that aim to expand what you offer in foreign markets. The certainty of a quality transport, a safe packing for goods and the ability to provide information on the status of the shipment are now indispensable elements for adequate customer service.
In a context characterized by sales in foreign markets, companies that deal with logistics also provide a contribution of considerable importance as they know the regulations of foreign countries and can provide services that are appropriate to the needs of sellers first and customers then when delays occur, if there are problems with delivery or when there are obstacles at customs.
To start an e-commerce operation abroad, rely on the experience of the MBE Centers: thanks to a wide range of logistics solutions to support companies during the stages of business creation, from website creation to packing, up to the management of orders and returns, documentation and parcel tracking.
Thanks to automated processes and the experience of qualified personnel, MBE Centers help companies and entrepreneurs managing shipments while saving resources and time.