From multilingualism to multi-currency, VAT positions and payment systems: everything you need to know before opening up to new markets.
One of the reasons why a brand decides to go online is undoubtedly internationalisation: to make itself known beyond its borders and expand its business. The figures tell us this: with the boom in eCommerce that began last year, there has also been an increase in exports of almost 40%. However, this increase in volume has not always translated into significant growth in turnover. According to a survey by the Politecnico di Milano, 56% of entrepreneurs say that exports linked to digital channels still produce a marginal part of the turnover realised abroad.
Going international does not only mean opening up to new markets, but also to new languages, new currencies, different tax management and more complex logistics. All of this risks becoming a problem if not addressed with the right technology and professional management of digital sales channels.
But what are the main problems faced by those who decide to go international?
Choice of suppliers, from logistics to payments. There are many and they vary depending on the market you are targeting. Knowing them and knowing which ones are right for your brand is essential to optimise your work.
The choice of logistics, delivery and return options, which should be easy and agile for the end user.
The format of the address fields, which differs from country to country, but is important to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
The ability to have a multilingual site. Not only the usability, but the understanding of product descriptions, return and refund rules, make the environment safer for the digital consumer.
Having great customer service. Navigating multiple markets with different languages requires a customer service team that can answer questions in the language of the market. Although English is now a universal language, knowing when to offer a specific language to a specific market is key to delivering an excellent shopping experience.
Then there is the whole question of commercial activities. A complex and delicate system that leads brands to look for partners who can guide them through the wilderness of cross-border commerce. Facilitators such as Go Global Ecommerce, for example – which acts as an intermediary between brand and customer and acts as a Merchant of Record entity for companies – acting as a protective shield for eShops and dealing with day-to-day issues, such as:
Payment options. These are as important as they are difficult to know because each market has its own.
VAT positions, which are very complex to manage: the thresholds and procedures for opening/managing them are different for each country and there are many bureaucratic tasks in different languages to manage them. Moreover, European countries are becoming more and more aggressive in the local management of VAT.
Knowledge of taxation in different countries and customs, prices depend on many factors, such as trade agreements between two countries.
Provision of multi-currency, which is not only a matter of convenience but above all of security for users.
Fraud insurance. Fraud in eCommerce is a major concern for a brand as it can cost the merchant a lot of money and, in the case of not knowing the country’s tax system very well, hefty fines.
Legal advice to be legally protected at all times, also because governments are progressively implementing laws to prosecute companies that do not comply with their tax regimes.