Looking to expand your customer base abroad? New clients await worldwide and with the internet and online services that come with it, it's now easier than ever to connect with these foreign target audiences. Time to branch out your UK based business! The world can become your oyster with a bit of research and investment.
"Ready Made" Online Shops
You don't necessarily have to invest a lot of money in developing an international ecommerce website. There are existing services or online "marketplaces" which users can sign up for. These are simple and effective ecommerce sites where transactions are managed by the marketplace operator, but products and their descriptions are provided by third party retailers: individuals like yourself.
Sites like Etsy, ASOS and Amazon are available for all to use for a small fee. You can personalise the look of your online shop with informative descriptions, logos and product imagery.
Making Your Shop Stand Out
There are various factors which can affect consumer trust in your shop and product offering. Two of these are visuals and copy so it's absolutely vital to get these just right.
Make sure your images directly reflect the way the product looks in reality. Take photos from various angles in natural light without any interference from the flash and resulting reflections.
For added professionalism, ensure the background is always the same. If you can, enrol the help of a photographer.
Copy is a very powerful medium with which to attract customers. Shop owners often underestimate the importance of this so don't make the same mistake.
Be descriptive but creative in your copywriting. Avoid excessive adjectives which lack coherent meaning. Highlight the features of each product.
Postage and Packaging
In the UK, you have the choice of using Royal Mail services or specialist parcel delivery companies such as Parcel Force and Parcel Monkey. Do some research on who does the best deals on worldwide parcel delivery. Some companies may be specialised in European deliveries while others will deliver further afield.
Instead of sending the item wrapped in bubblewrap and stuck into a generic parcel, do a little something more interesting to leave an impression on your customers.
At the very least print your logo on your packaging. If you can afford to, it's also nice to give customers a little extra to say thanks for their custom. Personally signed thank you cards are a nice gesture and don't cost a lot. Vintage postcards also work a treat, but pick something that goes well with the product.
Spreading the Word
Although you can expect some traffic to land on your page through users searching for specific products, if you're looking to really get a name for yourself abroad, you'll need to do some advertising and public relations.
Use social media to your advantage. This is free after all! Create shop profiles on popular social networks and actively engage with people, and give them reasons to buy from you. Competitions work well online. Give winners a special discount code to enter at checkout, for example.
For more ways of spreading the word, be it through social media or local media in the countries of interest, enlist the help of creative agencies specialising in a range of services from PR Scotland to advertising in China. Knowledge of search engine marketing would also be very beneficial.