Let us say you’re selling computer parts and you’re doing fine just selling in the USA. You know your customers, your customers know you and life is good. You are selling through your own website, you may also have your own local store and you’re doing alright. But if I tell you that you can add 15% to 20% to your sales by going international, won’t you jump at it? Let that sink in. 15% to 20% is not small potatoes. It is significant. For any business to add 15% to 20% to their sales would require a massive effort. You can do that with a lot less effort by opening yourself up to international sales.
Take a look at this chart that PayPal sent to one of our clients. This is from their monthly PayPal report.
Are you salivating now at that 22% from international sales?
How do you open yourself to international sales? Ask your web developer to enable your shopping cart for international sales. Whether you prefer USPS or UPS or FEDEX, or DHL, ask your developer to make sure you are enabled for international sales. It will require some additional work on the admin side to create fields for weight and dimensions as most international sales would go by air and for that you need dimensional weight, that is, you’ll need the length, width and height of the shipping box in addition to the weight. Your developer would need to make sure your shipping API calculator shows correct shipping charges.
Whoever does your SEO, ask them to include international in their SEO campaigns and as you start showing up in international searches on the web, you will start seeing international orders.
The next step is to participate in marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, also on Rakuten and there are several other specialized websites and marketplaces. If you’re on eBay, they have their own shipping program called Ebay Global Shipping Program which they run in conjunction with Pitney Bowes. In most cases, it is a cheaper alternative to shipping directly, they have better rates. If you are shipping a package to lets say England, if you ship it directly via USPS, it may cost you more than if it ships through eBay. This way the customer saves money while your cost remains the same. You don’t have to go through any extra hoops. You simply ship to eBay and they will take care of the rest. To you the cost is just the same as shipping to an address in the US. That makes your total price + shipping more attractive to overseas customers. Result – more international sales.
Amazon does not offer a similar program, but they do allow international sales. Amazon may also allow you to list your products on their international sites.
If it takes a lot of time and effort to upload products to both Amazon and eBay then use a service like uploadmyproducts.com and they will upload to multiple marketplaces in one go. They’ll keep your inventory and the inventory on eBay and amazon synchronized.
Still wondering if you should bother with international sales? Isn’t it a big emphatic Yes. Do not ignore the international market. It can really make a big difference in your profitability.