By: Atikah Hanafi
[Note: This is the second part of A Comprehensive Guide for Cross Border e-Commerce Marketing & Branding Strategy series. To read on the first part, click here]
Deciding to expand your e-commerce to another territory can be a bold but rewarding move for your business. In a survey conducted by IDC Research and ORC International towards 12,000 and 1,200 retailers found that 70% consumers are already making at least one cross border purchase every year.
In the previous post, we have discussed the strategy you should adopt when you are about to develop your current domestic e-commerce into a cross border one. And, the first step that you must take is to identify and research your target market. Let us discuss this strategy more closely.
Determining Your Target Region
It will not matter much if you were to penetrate into cross border e-commerce without making a thorough research and choosing the best market for your business. When you are trying to narrow down your choices, there are a few factors that you must take into account.
Factors to consider when choosing your potential region:
- Market access: Does the country that you are targeting come with friendly policies that encourage international e-commerce and trading? You will need to research and ensure the potential market (country) is open and accessible through shipping methods.
- Product potential: Research products availability in your target market. Find out whether there is a high demand among customers and check the quality and price of the existing ones. This is an important aspect since you are, after all, trying to sell more. If there is too little demand or there is already an overly competitive market, it may not yield good market response.
- Localization & language: Who are your target audience and which languages are they comfortable with? You may need to make a balance decision between localizing the products so that the locals will like it while not compromising your international branding.
- Payment: Even though credit card is widely accepted these days, there are still markets prefer cash on delivery. You will need to consider which is the best currency to ease your payment collection from the bank while also supported by most of your target customers.
Research Your Target Region
Once you identified the location for your new e-commerce venture, it is time for you to make an in-depth research about your target country. You must identify the country’s demographic, market climate, rules and regulations, tax & duties, payment options, market consumption and trends that might affect your business. Knowing your potential region enables you to play around your marketing and branding strategy.
- Language: What is/are their native language(s)? Do majority of them understand English? Ensure that you are fluent with their language or at least, have someone that is fluent in their language. You don’t want to get lost in translation!
- Population: Some country might have low population but with high percentage of them are those with high purchasing power. Hence, knowing the demographic (i.e. total population, age groups, percentage of female and male, etc.) of your target country can be very useful.
- Seasonal & festive holidays: Identifying their festive and seasonal holidays is helpful when you are planning your marketing campaign and special offers. Generating local holiday materials and promotions at the right time can definitely boost your brand image.
Understanding Market Climate: Currency, Shopping Habits & Market Trends
- It is also important for you to know what are the currency they used. Some shoppers might hesitate to buy your product when they have to see the price in other currency. Having the option to purchase product in local currency makes it easier for them to make a purchasing decision.
- Not all customers share the same purchasing habits as the ones you used too in your home country. Hence, you must also note the shopping habits and the preferred gateway among your potential customers. Is the country of your choice economically stable? What are the current trends in your target market? Knowing the answers to these questions is also essential in helping you strategize your business.
Study rules & regulations
Establishing a cross border e-commerce also means new rules and regulations to follow. Familiarise yourself with specific regulations of cross border selling and trading in your target region.
- What are the tax laws, customs laws and overseas domestic laws imposed by them?
- Are there any products restrictions imposed by them?
Double-checking all these might save your business in a long run.
Other things to consider
- Although cultural norms and religious sensitivities might look like small things but these are the ones that might affect your whole business should you cross the lines when trying to market your products. Be in the know of what are the issues that might be sensitive to the locals and what are the cultural norms.
There is no point denying that establishing cross border e-commerce can be a rewarding move. An article by Mister Logistics states that companies that export are 17% more profitable than companies that stay domestic. As more e-commerce owner are crossing border, it is time for you to step up your game. In the next post, we’ll talk about how to analyse your potential competition in order to stand out among the flock.