23 June 2015
nternational ecommerce has the potential to be extremely lucrative, but cross-border business growth is not without risks.
International ecommerce has the potential to be extremely lucrative, but cross-border business growth is not without risks. If your customers end up confused about your products, prices, and shipping, your international endeavor will go south very quickly (and we don’t mean geographically.)
Online customers want self-service, which means instantly available information at the tip of their fingers. While these international ecommerce customers require additional considerations for your business, they still compare your website to the best user experiences they get elsewhere. Because, for them, going elsewhere is always a click away.
Delivering an excellent self-service customer experience is paramount. As an example, when a customer tries to order a product, only to later find out it’s not available to their country, that’s a failure on the part of the ecommerce business. Incorrect or missing information is a quick way to burn an online customer.
As part of the online sales cycle, visitors often begin with simple research. They look up product data, shipping options, and more as they decide to make a purchase. When critical information isn’t available, your visitors quickly move on to your competitors.
That’s why we recommend an ecommerce solution that integrates with your existing ERP. Your ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning solution, is where your data is stored. ERPs are very useful tools for handling business logic, including the processing of bulk discounts, personalized pricing, inventory, order info and various freight options.
Integrate your ERP with your international ecommerce solution to manage your data from a single source and have that information updated in real-time on your website. Seamless integration simplifies your data management while delivering the self-service that your customers want on the frontend.
ERP integration is doubly important when you also have to juggle products that are exclusive to certain territories, different local regulations, specific shipping concerns, and other challenges unique to international ecommerce.
Sales Tax and Regulations
Doing business right and not getting yourself into trouble are also important considerations when doing business outside of the country. Trade regulations and tax compliance legislation changes often, and you don’t want to be left trying to figure it out on your own. Especially as ecommerce expands its reach across the globe, local jurisdictions are trying to get their piece of the sales tax pie. Many governments are also trying to expand the collection of the Value Added Tax (VAT) that is levied on digital goods.
To protect your business from this complexity, you want your international ecommerce solution to integrate with a system that is proven to automate the sales tax (and VAT) processes for foreign territories. For instance, Dynamicweb integrates with Avalara, who aims to make business (and life) much easier with their tax software.
Integration between your ecommerce solution and your ERP gives your customers the self-service they’re looking for. That cooperation between systems helps you deliver a great customer experience and become a great ecommerce vendor. Meanwhile, integration for tax purposes protects you as you grow with international ecommerce.
Of course, as you expand across borders, it’s important to consider the content and the marketing tactics you deploy for each region. To further assist your step into ecommerce greatness, check out our next blog post covering language, culture, content, commerce and more in this series for Essential International Ecommerce Tips.