Five Ways to Drive International Sales Online

Source: Econsultancy.com Ian McCaigh, Econsultancy – 21 March 2014

Explosive growth in ecommerce has enabled retailers to quickly and easily achieve excellent national coverage.

However, the bigger picture is now about becoming an international retailer. Here are five easy ways for you to reach your customers globally.

1. Greet your visitors
Simple but effective, by using a visitor’s IP address, you can quickly determine their country. You can then greet users with simple messages, welcoming them to your website, while making it clear that you serve and deliver to their country.

For added effectiveness translate these messages into local languages.

This messaging is best targeted towards new international visitors, creating a strong positive start to your engagement with this segment.

ASOS does this in a powerful way. Through detecting the customer's geo-location, it can re-direct them to their local site, thereby offering them services using local languages and even sizes.

2. Clarify export shipping at the checkout
This is important for all ecommerce but when a customer is looking to make an export purchase there can be a number of added complications.

If you have reasonable international shipping rates available don’t make users hunt and search for them, you will only drive them away.

Bring this information to the user and for added personalization target visitors with their specific country shipping rate e.g. "Shipping to France is just £4.98" for a French user.

3. Clearly promote shipping rates
By default you will be predominantly offering services like Free Economy Delivery, First Class and Click & Collect. These create fantastic choice for local consumers but alienate international customers.

At the very least show international shipping prices at the checkout, but for a really sleek experience, dynamically select and display the user’s country without them needing to change or click anything.

4. Offer local currencies
Technically this will present the greatest challenge to implement but will clearly have a lasting effect, you cannot avoid the fact that consumers are most comfortable interpreting their native currency.

This can also be used as a stepping stone towards developing independent websites for your biggest international markets.

The prudent strategy is to start with key currencies (GBP, USD and EUR) and expand from there, based on their success. Booking.com is a great example of this, offering a full range of currencies.

5. Homepage content targeting
Finally, the method of retargeting home page content based on a user’s browsing history has proven successful in a range of cases.

Here we would look to target content based on the user’s country. For example, shoes may be popular in Germany while in France your range or perfumes might perform better. You would therefore want to tailor content for each market to maximize the impact.

This is also not limited to basic homepage hero banners: the more content you can retarget the better. Examples include: recommended products, special offers and search results.

DFS did this really effectively. By targeting their European visitors with personalized notifications they increased their conversion rate by 23%.

Point of information
It is also important to remember that while a customer is visiting from another country they may not be ordering for themselves.

Don’t make it impossible for a user outside of your domestic market to order a gift for a friend or family to be delivered nationally.

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