Tailoring your online proposition for each overseas market is key to getting international expansion right
Asos’s recent announcement that it is planning to conquer the US will no doubt have got other etailers thinking about expanding overseas, meaning they must think how to make their sites more internationally friendly.
The first thing to look at is the language used on the site. Product descriptions will need to be altered and for a foreign language audience a translation of the entire site is a good idea as it raises the site’s credibility and helps the etailer to build trust.
Richard Angel, innovation and marketing director at ecommerce provider Drivebusiness, whose clients include All Saints and Reiss, believes the behaviour and culture of each country should be taken into account. Everything from the tone of promotional material to product descriptions should reflect the culture of the area.
Also, brands that have a strong image in the UK may be unheard of abroad and will need to introduce themselves to this new audience.
The online checkout will need to accommodate the preferred currency and payment options for each market it enters.
The exchange rate can also have an effect on pricing of product and Andy Houstoun, global head of marketing at ecommerce software firm Venda, believes there are two ways to tackle this - retailers can either provide a straight translation of currency based on exchange rates or define the price point to each country based on competitor pricing and expectation of the brand. Pricing must be consistent across all sites as it should be within stores but it can reflect the different regions.
Fulfilment options should also be investigated and decisions made as to whether deliveries will be processed via a UK warehouse or expansion of the fulfilment process abroad.
Using the IP address of each customer can ensure the right view of the site is seen depending on where the IP address indicates the customer is based. This gives retailers the opportunity to appear online in the correct language, with the correct currency options and can also filter product depending on availability to local markets, all of which increases customer satisfaction. l