2020 was the year of eCommerce, and 2021 is set to be the year of its consecration. The boom has caused the sector to leap by 30% in terms of volume, and has involved SMEs. It is estimated that the online channels of small and medium-sized enterprises have increased by 50% – a propulsive phenomenon that promises substantial increases in turnover. Already today, more than a fifth of the turnover of companies in Europe comes from digital sales. And that’s not all. Good eCommerce is also a driver of exports. But what are the characteristics that make an online shop a good driver of cross-border trade? Unfortunately, there are no miracle recipes, but there are some indications that can make the difference. Let’s take a look at the 5 golden rules for an eCommerce that is ready for internationalisation.
1) Know your market
There is no internationalisation without knowledge of the target market. It is essential not only to know demand and competitors, but also and above all to know the particular regulations relating to the product sectors in question. While this is hardly ever an obstacle in the case of durable goods, there are particular sectors such as food and pharmaceuticals. These are ‘sensitive’ sectors that require in-depth knowledge of the rules of the country to which you want to export.
2) Talk like you sell
It sounds obvious but it is not. A company’s eCommerce is ready to compete in the export field when it speaks the language of the destination country. Product description, purchase instructions, but above all exchange and return policies – fundamental information that users want to have easy and clear access to. A multilingual store is a prerequisite for increasing the chances of selling abroad.
3) Tailor-made payments
40% of users who do not complete a purchase are deterred from doing so by the lack of their own currency at the time of payment. Thinking about a multi-currency store is not only a question of convenience but above all of security. The user feels immediately protected and guaranteed in one of the most delicate stages of online purchases: payment. Finding one’s own currency helps to break down the wall of mistrust that is so common among online buyers – especially at a time of transition such as this one, which has brought new users to the web for the first time.
4) When in Rome, do as the Romans do
To sell abroad you also need to know the tax rules of the country you want to sell in. There are special taxes for certain categories of goods, but these are not the only thing to consider – think of professionals who need to receive an invoice for the purchase of a certain product. For export to work, nothing can be left to chance.
5) Sell global, think local
And finally, beware of giving in to current fashions. The best solution is not always the mainstream one. Think of the difference between selling in the United States and Europe. The former is a market that basically has one language, one currency and similar rules. The same does not apply to Europe. This means that if the target market is also (not necessarily, only) a European market, it is not necessarily the right solution to rely on big American players – on the contrary, it may be to find a solution that can understand and manage local complexities.