Most e-commerce businesses enter markets hoping to cater to a broad international audience. However, budget limits and logistical problems often hinder the ability of e-businesses to serve international customers. Even if your online business is based in the UK, you will most likely find customers all over the world. Certain consumers in some parts of the world might even pay a premium for British goods. If you want to expand your e-businesses outside of the UK, here are several tips that might help:
Use an “International” Domain Extension
Most UK e-businesses use the “.co.uk” domain extension. While this country-specific extension might help you target British customers, it will work against you when you try to capture an international audience. Search engines like Google only show websites with country-specific extensions to IP addresses originating from that country. So, if you have a customer in Denmark or China, they will not see your website unless they scroll way down the search results. Therefore, you need an “international” domain extension like .com to become visible to international customers. You can keep your UK online store and create an additional .com “international” version of the site for non-UK customers.
Find a Reputable Package Forwarding Company
Your biggest challenge as an e-business catering to foreign customers will be shipping. Mailing small packages to foreign addresses frequently could cost you a lot in international shipping. If you charge a lot for shipping from customers, no one would want to buy from you. So your best solution in this situation is to use a package forwarding company like My UK MailBox that facilitates cross-border online shopping. You can forward all your international parcels to the company’s address in Britain, and they will ship the packages overseas. This is the most affordable and convenient overseas shipping option for small to mid-sized companies.
Use International Keywords and Generic SEO Terms
Remember that you need to target international customers with your SEO efforts as well. So, if you have been using local keywords and search terms, you will have to switch to generic SEO. Generic search terms are not specific like local SEO, but they will make your website visible to users in any country browsing the web in English.
Learn the Laws
If you do not send massive shipments overseas, you do not need to worry about things like international trade agreements. Small packages you send overseas are not rigorously taxed like large commercial shipments. However, it helps to know the laws just in case. Hire a lawyer who knows international commerce to ask about your tax status once you begin to ship overseas. Also, you need to know if any specific international laws are affecting the goods you ship. Some countries may have banned the items you sell. Be aware of any legal hurdles before you start selling to international customers.
Also, it will help to translate your web pages, apps and services to other commonly used languages. Find out where most of your international customers come from. For example, if you find that your e-business is attracting many customers based in China, you should translate your services into Chinese to draw even more.