3 Common Challenges of Expanding Your eCommerce Operations Overseas

Written by Theo Burns

May 23, 2022

Everyone knows that all the best things in life come in threes. And no, I’m not talking about in the bedroom… The three little pigs, the main ingredients of a BLT and the topics of the following blog are a few that come to mind straight away. 

Love the number three as much as me? Well, I’ve got another surprise in store for you. Over the next THREE weeks, we will publish THREE blogs about the THREE most common challenges of expanding eCommerce operations overseas. Today’s blog is merely an introduction so listen up because I’m about to get you thinking about how your business can go global!

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Language Translations & Currency Exchange

So you’re on top of all the boring stuff like tax and logistics… But one crucial thing still stands in the way of your business selling into new markets and taking off worldwide: your customer, a human. Imagine you are selling the exact same product to a human in Germany (shopping in Euros), a human in Japan (shopping in Yen) and a human in the USA (shopping in dollars). 

As a human myself, I can say that we like things to be easy, and I certainly wouldn’t be reading this blog if it were written in Japanese or German. There are 7,102 living languages in the world, and I’m not suggesting that your online store needs to be available in all 7,102 of them (although that’s one way to increase your global reach). But if you only target English speakers, you are missing out on almost 6 Billion potential customers as 87% of the world doesn’t speak English.

In the same way that humans don’t want to copy and paste paragraphs into Google Translate, we don’t love the idea of converting the currency of our shopping cart total before finalising a transaction. It’s just not easy. The same goes for the financial report that will eventually end up on your desk: without the proper systems, this report could contain sales in three different currencies. You, like your customers, are also human. And that doesn’t sound easy.

If you’d like to know how to make things easier through accurately adjusted pricing and copywriting, you can read more on Thursday 26th May 2022.

NetSuite troubleshooting

Tax Compliance

Even within one country, staying tax compliant is no easy feat. In fact, a NetSuite study of CFOs within Western Europe found that staying on top of regulations and financial compliance (such as tax) is their number one pain point. You’d probably love a share of that famous American marketplace (worth a small $5,570 Billion per annum); however, there are over 11,000 individual tax jurisdictions across the USA, so you’d better have your wits about you. If you want to expand overseas, beware of the labyrinth of International taxes! 

To learn more about how to stay tax compliant, you can read more on Thursday 2nd June 2022.

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Shipping & Logistics

Shipping is expensive. Unfortunately, today’s consumers expect businesses to bear the brunt of this cost, with 68% of shoppers stating that they might not make a purchase if the brand doesn’t offer free shipping. So if you’re worried about international shipping costs chipping away at your bottom line, there are several steps you should take to make logistical nightmares a thing of the past. 

Did you know that distributing your inventory significantly reduces transit time and has been proven to reduce shipping costs by 25%? Now you do. If you were planning to keep all of your stock in the same warehouse, perhaps it’s time to think again. Doing so will cost you money and cost your customers time. Today’s consumers want their orders quicker than ever before.

Also, did you know that 83% of consumers expect regular communication about their purchase throughout the delivery process? Communication is key. But, in order to communicate about the status of a customer’s package, you need to have real-time status updates yourself. 

Here are three statistics for you, but if you’d like to know more about how to manage these challenges, you can read more on Thursday 9th June 2022.


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