Taking your business abroad is a great way to get new clients while also exploring new markets. But, going global is no easy feat, and without proper planning, you could end up facing all sorts of obstacles.
Going global requires all sorts of changes, especially to your existing company website. Here are 6 common mistakes that site owners make when going global as well as ways to avoid them.
1. Taxes & Duties
No one likes to worry about the tax side of business, but this is a common mistake that you’ll definitely want to avoid. Be sure to research the various tax and duty factors including:
Which countries you need to register in
It’s also important to determine when taxes and duties should be paid. In some countries, duties must be paid at the point of shipment while some duties need to be paid by the customer. Other shipments may be tax-free, so be sure to do your research!
2. Not Sharing Information in Various Languages
Let’s assume your business is based in a predominantly English speaking country, such as the United States, and you’ve hit the point where you’re ready to go global. Maybe you’ve already drafted contracts with overseas suppliers and coordinated with a business partner in a target country.
These are all great steps to globalizing your company, but what most business owners forget to do is to appeal to their global audience. The most effective way to do this is to localize your company’s website so that it’s translated into a variety of languages. This ensures that customers from all over the globe can understand your company’s mission and vision as well as the purpose and benefits of your product.
But how do you translate your website without multilingual employees? You could choose to outsource the work, or you could simply choose between one of the best WordPress translation plugins. With the right plugin, creating a multilingual website is a breeze.
3. Minimize Text in Images
While a plugin is able to translate text-based content on your website, it won’t be able to translate any text that’s used in images. If you’re appealing to international customers, you don’t want to use images that they may not be able to understand.
To use graphical elements on your website, consider using a combination of CSS3 and HTML5. You can create all sorts of images and buttons that look great without stifling translation. The more text-based elements you use, the less confusion your global visitors will have.
4. Neglecting Payment Forms
Many websites allow customers to pay using Visa, MasterCard, or PayPal. While these services may work in many countries, they aren’t accepted worldwide. In order for global consumers to be able to make purchases, you’ll need to accept a wide range of payment methods. Direct debits, bank transfers, eWallets, and even mobile-based payments should all be available.
By offering more payment options, you’re better able to offer your products and services to customers in your target countries. As you accept and add new payment types, be sure to include the logos of acceptable forms of payment somewhere on your website so that shoppers don’t abandon their carts.
When choosing payment forms, pay close attention to currency exchanges as well as any bank fees that you or the customer may incur. Ensure this information is displayed on the website so that website visitors can choose the most reasonable payment option for them.
Delivery time and costs are huge selling points for customers. You’ll want to be able to offer competitive delivery options that allow customers to receive their purchased items without waiting weeks or paying high fees. In fact, a study found that more than 50% of consumers abandon the checkout process if they’re presented with unexpected delivery costs.
Be sure to thoroughly research global courier options. You want to offer delivery services that are quick but also dependable. No customer wants to receive their package late, only to find that it contains damaged goods.
No company wants to think about returns, but they happen. The problem is that returned goods can be quite problematic, especially when they’re coming from a long distance. Be sure you understand any legislation that applies to a specific region and also consider any distance selling regulations.
What’s most important is that your return policy is easily accessible on the site so that customers are well aware of what can and cannot be returned.
Going global is a huge business achievement, but it doesn’t come without a lot of planning. To ensure your website is globalized and ready to expand its reach, make sure you’re avoiding each of these mistakes to make the process as painless as possible.
Do you or your company do business on an international scale? What are some challenges that you have been faced with when doing business globally? How did you overcome those obstacles? Leave us a comment and share your experience in the section below.