If you are thinking of starting to expand your business internationally, then it is sure to be an exciting time, as the prospect of gaining new clients all over the world lets you dream of increased revenue. Before you can increase your international presence, though, you will want to consider which tools you need to make it work.
Do Your Research on the Markets
Market research has always been a big part of moving into new markets and it continues to be a crucial concern. However, as times change, this research is less-focused on some of the more traditional worries. What used to be one of the most difficult aspects of doing business in other countries is now one of the easiest to resolve, for example. Moving money around the planet has never been simpler, as e-wallets, international bank cards, and cryptocurrencies are among the options that can be used in many places.
For instance, PayPal is available in more than 200 countries and 25 currencies, while the Skrill wallet can be used in 131 countries. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin are banned in some countries but they offer a fast peer-to-peer transfer option in the other countries where their use is accepted.
Naturally, the fees and time it takes to receive the cash varies between different methods and across different regions. It is worth investigating which methods are fastest, cheapest, and most popular in the regions where you plan to operate. You may need to accept a new type of payment method in order to make it easy for people to use your services in a certain country. This means that the focus of research can be better placed looking at what might be needed to crack a new market.
Offering bonuses and deals for different regions is a popular way of trying to open up new markets. If you're looking to introduce your business into a new territory that has a decent level of competition when it comes to your product or service, a scheme to attract customers by using lower prices, gift packs or maybe some sort of VIP scheme could be beneficial. Research what is common practice in these regions when it comes to introductory deals or offers and you'll have a much better chance of taking off from the start. In some cases, the same deals can be used everywhere, as is usually the case with multi-national companies like Netflix who can offer a similar product to everyone, knowing it will be well-received.
In terms of localisation in the fast-food industry, the likes of McDonald's and Burger King will vary their menu to meet differing tastes, so their offers will change in line with this. Looking at forex trading as another example, we can see that traders benefit from numerous different forex brokers bonus types when starting. The currency being traded is the most important factor, but the initial bonus grabs attention. This market also uses the popular refer a friend bonus method to help attract new customers, which can be useful in a new country when looking to establish a loyal user-base.
Track Your Shipping
Whether you are sending your product half-way round the planet or waiting on supplies arriving from foreign shores, the different ways you can now track shipments is a huge help. There is no longer any need to be left in the dark about where in the world your shipments are currently.
All of the main couriers and shipping companies will give you the tools that you need to track everything that matters to you. There are also some eye-catching new projects that could see the blockchain used to make this process easier and more flexible in the future. ShipChain offers an end to end 'track and trace' platform that is already up and running, for example.
The Blockchain in Trucking Alliance has close to 500 members in two dozen countries, and they plan to make the most of emerging technology to ensure that shipments are safer and more efficient than ever before. If you need to ship delicate items that need to handled carefully or kept in a temperature-controlled environment, the blockchain approach should soon make life easier for you.
Keep in Touch with International Customers
The days of trying to call abroad on expensive, poor-quality phone calls are long gone. You can now choose exactly how you plan to speak to your clients whenever it suits you and them. Best of all, this can often be done for free and without wasting any time.
Skype and Zoom are now the undisputed leaders in the video conferencing market, with people in some regions preferring one over the other. If you need to contact a client in China, Skype can be used there but Zoom isn't offered directly to users, meaning that you are less likely to be able to get hold of a Chinese client using this platform.
WhatsApp is another simple option that operates in most countries but is blocked in China, Iran, Cuba, and a few other countries. Telegram is often viewed as being a more professional alternative, and it is particularly widely used by technology firms. You could also consider using virtual reality to let your prospective clients see what you offer without having to travel to your premises.
Understand the Language and Business Culture
Understanding the language your clients speak is no longer as difficult as it used to be, with online translators like Google Translate and the Bing version doing a great job of helping you speak the same language.
However, cultural differences can be more difficult to overcome. In this case, the solution can be as simple as looking at blogs and forums, to see whether your customers are more likely to shake hands and smile or bow and hand you a business card.
You could also research some of the worst errors made by big companies in foreign markets, from slogans that sound rude to the use of offensive colors and poorly thought-out images. Check the marketing errors made in the country where you plan to enter and you will immediately learn about a few things that you will want to avoid repeating.
With the help of these fairly simple tools, you can start expanding your business across the globe with a far greater degree of confidence.