The simplest definition of international marketing is that it is revenue generated from a business’ products or services in more than one country. Before any international marketing can take place, substantial research and analysing of that research must take place, this is crucial.
The research must answer three questions:
- Will the market entry be worth the risks and investment?
- What level of ROI can be projected?
- How soon will the ROI be generated?
The international marketing strategies aim to be as standardised and homogenous as possible, resulting in integrated marketing activities, which brands can apply throughout their target markets. To succeed, these strategies must address each country’s economic, political, social and cultural differences. This is called glocalisation, simply put, ‘think globally, act locally’.
The key to being successful is to adapt international marketing strategies to local conditions and the nature of the market. Resulting in that the local customer will understand why your brand will solve the customer’s need and make their life easier. The customer will feel the brand is customised and tailored to them. This customisation makes the brand attractive, resulting in customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and increased market share.
Who else is involved in the international marketing?
When deciding to implement an international marketing strategy, not only the marketing department is involved, the whole organisation is. For eCommerce businesses there are several considerations:
What laws will apply?
- Often the reluctance to international expansion is the legal complexity. EU laws are standardised, which makes it easier to export. Undertaking thorough research into what the laws are in other markets will make it easier to export to non-EU countries.
What surcharges might apply
- These vary greatly and the reasons as to why they are applied vary as well. Make sure you are aware of each instance when surcharges might be imposed.
Consider what payment methods to use
- Research what payment methods are preferred in each region, in Europe, digital wallets are preferred, however, globally, credit cards are preferred.
What shipping and transport to use depending on the type of product
- Research advantages and disadvantages for each type, what product and timeframe each shipping method is suitable for.
What packaging is needed
- Packaging must be designed to be the most cost-effective when shipping, the cost is decided based on size and weight.
- Different taxes and duties that will be applied
- Ensure you are fully aware of what taxes and duties applies and understand how they are calculated.
How to handle returns and refunds
- Make this easy for the customer, have a clear and transparent return policy and an online portal for returns, with for example the facility to track the package and pre-addressed labels to use for the return.
- Depending on the volumes to which market, it might be cost-effective to have localised warehousing to streamline shipping, costs and delivery times.
How to manage inventory effectively
- Brands need to manage their inventory, demand may vary between countries and time of year. Plan, keep track of stock and forecast inventory needed, inventory control is an effective way for brands to be competitive on pricing.
How can a brand be successful in applying this strategy?
The short answer is research, research, research. International marketing is like building a house. I made the below image to help explain the process, explaining each step.
Katarina Hakansson provided Blend Commerce with her insight into International Marketing and the steps to take to use International marketing for your Shopify store. To find out more and connect with Katarina, click here.