1: Take advantage of the rise in mobile connectivity
First of all, recognise that you can now reach potential customers anywhere in the world, at any time. The average person checks their smartphone 200 times a day, and beyond our phones we’re also connected to the internet through other devices from desktop computers to tablets. In the UK alone, 51 per cent of online purchases in Q4 2015 were made through smartphones and tablets. Overseas markets, such as China and Brazil are experiencing similar trends.
Also remember that consumers don’t just use mobile devices to make purchases. 72 per cent of young shoppers research their in-store purchases online before buying because many believe they can find better deals online than in store.
All of this means that it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a mobile strategy in place. To take forward your business’s mobile strategy, you can take smaller measures such as developing a mobile friendly e-commerce site and email templates – or think big and change your overall marketing plans, for example by adapting your messaging to a mobile-first approach.
2: Use social media to connect with your target customers
The rise in mobile activity has also affected how people use social media: Quilty explained that 90 per cent of Facebook users check their feeds 11-14 times a day. This is a huge opportunity for businesses that have embraced advertising and content marketing on social media platforms.
More than 50 million businesses are already using Facebook pages to grow their company. If you’re thinking about using social media as a business channel or are just getting started, most importantly remember to tailor your messaging. Social media shouldn’t be used just to broadcast a sales message – instead, carefully consider what users might want to see and hear from you.
Creating engaging video content is a great way to raise your visibility to your potential customer base on digital platforms. It’s predicted that, in a few years, more than 80 per cent of video traffic will be driven by mobile devices, and social media makes it easier than ever to share video content with other people. UK Trade & Investment, for example, has used video as a central part of the Exporting is GREAT campaign to help showcase the global demand for British made products and services.
For more information on raising awareness of your brand beyond the UK via social media, read our blog.
3: Make the most of e-commerce platforms
WPP’s Martin Sorrell highlighted that although retailers held higher power over manufacturers in the past, the relationship is shifting due to the rise of e-commerce. Manufacturers now have more consumer data available, which allows them to communicate directly with their customer base. This has increased competition between retailers and manufacturers, and as a result has demonstrated e-commerce platforms as useful tools to grow your business.
When choosing between an e-commerce store on your company website or an online marketplace such as Ebay, Alibaba, or Etsy, consider which would work best for your business specifically, or if you could benefit from using both. Multiple channels will give you broader exposure and help to reach a global audience.
It’s important to consider your international customers when using online retail platforms: adapting the language, payment, or pricing options can make your site more appealing to your target audience.
Our e-commerce guide has been created to help you understand every step of the international e-commerce journey.