The internet has enabled businesses to reach out to international audiences much more easily than ever before. Now that the barriers to the global market have been lowered or removed entirely, selling internationally is a much more realistic proposition than it once was.
Identify Target Markets
Before you can start putting plans in place to sell internationally, you need to establish exactly where you will be selling to. It makes sense to pursue markets that are somewhat similar to the one you already operate in, but it is possible to reach out further.
For many businesses, especially those that provide services online, adding new payment options will enable consumers from around the world to come to you. If you are planning on taking this approach, you will still want to identify your key markets - those that you expect to account for most of your customer intake.
Find Suitable Payment Processors
Wherever your new customers are located, they will need some way of paying you. The easiest option is usually using a bank card, but this can sometimes be very expensive, depending on where the buyer is located. There are also some countries where bank cards aren’t as common or where online payments aren’t widely supported.
As well as traditional payment processors like PayPal, there are also more creative solutions. For example, you can enable your customers to pay via international money transfer with little to no effort on your part.
Check Local Laws
Before you start selling any products or services to any region, it is important that you understand all the relevant laws. It is up to you as a business to ensure that you are adhering to all of your legal obligations. If you fall foul of local laws, you will incur all the legal and financial consequences.
Local laws include any market regulations. This is especially important if you’re going to be shipping physical products, but it is also important if you sell services remotely. If you will be sending items overseas, you may need to obtain a custom declaration form. Many international shipping services will handle this side of things for you, but you should check beforehand.
Work Out Your Shipping and Returns
While you are checking the local laws and regulations, make sure that you pay particular attention to the refund, returns, and warranty obligations that you will have under local laws. You will need to offer a detailed refund policy for every region that you want to sell to.
Note that if you are going to be selling to EU nations, you only need a single EU policy. Of course, there may be individual nations that diverge from EU standards in some areas - Belgium has specific laws around the sale of in-game video game purchases, for example.
You need to do your research to check where exactly you can ship your products and sell your services, but other than that it is remarkably easy to begin selling internationally. As long as you lay the necessary groundwork, going global could be game-changing for your business.
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