It’s never been easier to take your business worldwide, but there are still some key points you’ll need to consider before diving in head first. From legalities and communication to payment processing and cultural necessities, here are the basics to get you on the right path to expanding into the global market.
1. Start early
You don’t have to jump in the deep end straight away, but the earlier you start thinking about going global, the more data you’ll have and the better decisions you’ll be able to make when you do take the leap. Put systems in place that have the capability to grow with your business.
2. Implement a global payments system
Access to foreign currency payments had previously been one of the most difficult parts of expanding an e-commerce business overseas. Partnering with a payment processing company that can expand with your business, like Braintree, makes it simple. Braintree supports 130 currencies in 46 countries, and gives you access to 173 million PayPal users.
Braintree’s platform makes payments seamless for your customers so your brand can shine through. With mobile SDKs for iOS, Android, and libraries in six of the most popular languages, simple integrations ensure that you can get up and running with ease.
Either conduct your own research, or hire a market research firm that is culturally aware for the regions you’ll be expanding to. Look into demographics, purchasing habits and any local competition. This will help you work out how you’ll approach marketing your brand. Travel to the countries you’ll be expanding to in order to meet those you’ll be working with in person, get a first-hand look at what marketing is most effective, and pick up some (often vital) cultural tips. Be sure to research and adhere to expectations in regards to clothing, hospitality, language and communication — especially when visiting.
4. Go virtual
The more you can do online with a global team, the better. Virtual assistants can help with emails and social media, while other cloud-based software can help manage team projects, hold meetings and even deal with your accounting needs. Communicating with remote employees has never been easier, too. Phone, email, video conferencing, in-person, online project boards — whatever your preferred method, do it often. Some countries may prefer a different platform to you, so prepare to be flexible.
5. Amp up your security
When switching to a global market, you’ll be focusing more on online interactions and payments a whole lot more. Be sure to use two-step authentication for any online services (when possible) and use a payment system that offers extensive fraud protection such as Braintree, which constantly analyses customer data and purchase behaviour to catch the transactions most likely to lead to fraud.
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