The UK is one of the most internet-based economies in the world. 67% of adults purchased goods or services over the Internet in 2012, with the figure increasing to 87% for those aged 25-34.

With the market for ecommerce businesses selling in the UK maturing, more and more decision makers are targeting export opportunities.

Over the next few minutes I will summarise:

  1. Why international eccommerce is worth your attention
  2. Where (in which countries) you should be focusing you efforts
  3. How you go about beginning the process of setting up international versions of your site
  4. Why?

Global Internet usage continues to grow, and the Internet provides low cost access to global markets. Additionally, Global ecommerce has grown 13% annually over the past 5 years.

This is impacting the decisions that business owners are making in terms of their marketing strategy, with many testing new markets online via international ecommerce websites.

Where?

According to a study carried out by IMRG, growth in the mature markets (UK, USA and Japan) is slowing.

The report reveals that the fastest growing markets will be France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey and Poland in Europe, and worldwide will be Latin America, led by Brazil and Mexico and the Middle East, led by Israel and UAE.

Other sources, such as consultants A.T. Kearney, site China as the one to watch, with its online retail market growing 78% annually since 2006.

However different markets will prove to be of differing value dependent on the products being sold. Google’s Market Finder is a good starting point for finding new customers overseas.

World-Ecommerce-Markets-2013

Created using free infographic site Easil.ly

How?

How are businesses successfully selling to international markets online? Econsultancy have created a hefty guide to international ecommerce, which I won’t aim reproduce here.

As a starting point: key elements of success are:

  • Make sure you have all the legalities covered, including looking into tax and VAT implications.
  • Translate the design of your website, not just the language. Different cultures expect a different look and feel.
  • Ensure that you cover the preferred payment methods of the territory that you are selling in.
  • Aim to keep delivery costs low – this will more often than not require local distribution centres.
  • Invest in multi-lingual search and social media campaigns to ensure that your website is found by the target audience. The right strategy here will also ensure that you avoid the pitfalls of improperly executed international SEO campaigns

Originally posted on the Make It Rain blog.