Going global the right way
They’ve never heard of your brand, don’t speak your language, and live half a world away. Yet despite the complexities and challenges of global ecommerce, selling to consumers all over the world is an opportunity you simply can’t resist. Especially when you consider that sales are expected to reach $4.8 trillion USD by 2021,1 and nearly 85% of the world’s purchasing power exists outside the U.S.
But some of the world’s largest and best-known multi-nationals have failed spectacularly when expanding abroad. That’s why we created this playbook. We want you to succeed where others have failed.
The Global Ecommerce Playbook is your step-by-step framework for going global the right way. Whether you’re just considering international expansion, or looking to scale your established international operations faster, this comprehensive playbook will simplify and reduce your risk.
Stage 1 Map your global expansion
Have I already gone global without knowing it?
International consumers might already be interested in the goods and services you offer, even if you’ve never thought about expanding internationally. Discovering if you appeal to a global audience can help you decide where and how to expand. You can do this by analyzing current traffic and sales-by-country data in your analytics dashboards:
- Google Analytics: View your locations report (Audience > Geo > Location) for in-depth information about the location of your visitors. Set up segments to break down international traffic by continent, country, region, or city, and to understand customer behavior. Use this guide to diagnose global barriers.
- Ecommerce platform: If your ecommerce platform offers robust reporting, create dashboards that show sessions by country, customers by country, and sales by billing country to find out if you’re engaged in cross-border commerce. Comparing side-by-side segments helps inform your decision to expand.
Insights like these will likely emerge:
You discover European customers bounce on your checkout page
You might not be offering checkout in local currencies, showing prices that include duties, or including the proper address fields
You discover Australian visitors bounce on your returns page
Your returns policy might not support international purchases or might lack transparency and detail
When you have a significant trafic from a particular region or country but aren’t converting visitors at the same rate as in your home country, consider creating a localized online store and checkout to boost sales.
Start talking to strangers: exit-intent surveys
Dig deeper than the quantitative data you’ve analyzed so far. If international consumers are crossing digital borders to visit your site but aren’t making a purchase, find out why through qualitative data. Exit-intent surveys are the best way to gather this information.
Make it easy by providing visitors with common objections:
- Delivery costs and shipping time
- Unknown customs or duties
- International returns processes
The responses you receive, especially if they cluster around one or two key objections, will help you decide whether to hold inventory closer to international consumers as part of your strategy.
Freight forwarding: the invisible global customer
A significant number of international orders masquerade as home-country orders in your reporting. Freight-forwarding services like Stackry, Shipito, and Borderlinx allow consumers to ship purchases to a virtual U.S. address, then bundle and forward them anywhere in the world.
Identifying these nearly invisible international customers is challenging and needs some extra digging. To start, mine your order management system for shipping not billing addresses shared by multiple customers. Next, cross-check those addresses with popular freight forwarders to identify how many potential international customers you have. Here’s a list of popular freight forwarders.
With your master list of freight-forwarding addresses, segment this group in Google Analytics by adding a custom data layer to filter international customers using freight forwarders.