Expanding your business to an international market

With the increasing popularity of the Internet worldwide, it is becoming easier to do business internationally.
Small businesses can now compete in the huge international market place without any significant additional resources.

Selling products and services to international customers is easy, safe and highly profitable. Some of the advantages of trading internationally are:

  • Benefits of a much, much larger marketplace. A larger market means more potential customers.
  • International markets negate the effects of poor local economy. If the local currency is performing badly against international currency then your prices are cheaper for international customers.
  • Using the internet, you can quickly and easily expose products and services with relative ease and very little expense.

Online stores
Online stores can easily accept orders from overseas. Credit cards (particularly Visa and Mastercard) are the most widely used forms of payment worldwide. If your business already accepts these forms of payment then in most cases nothing needs to be done to accept international orders.

There are a few things that should be done to ensure successful international trading:

  • If shipping products internationally, you should check if any countries have import restrictions on the products you sell.
  • An automatic currency converter should be incorporated into your website on all pages that mention prices. For best results, the price should be shown in your local currency along with US Dollars and Eurodollars (plus any other currencies of major target markets).
  • The website should be able to calculate shipping charges automatically and include these charges in the total price. This way the customer knows exactly how much they will need to pay to receive the goods.
  • A ‘tracking system’ of some sort should be included in the website. This helps build consumer confidence as it allows customers to view the status of their order via the website at any time.
  • Be aware of suspicious transactions and potential fraud. For example, an excessively large order, multiple orders for the same address on the same day, credit card details that do not match the origin of the purchaser, orders from certain countries, etc. are things you should watch out for and be cautious of before sending an order.

If you have a suspicious transaction, you should request further information such as a fax of a passport. Also, remember that you have the right to not process the payment and ship the order if the transaction is too risky or suspicious.