Five tips to identify a market for online global expansion

If you’re conducting business online and are looking for new growth opportunities, it’s time to venture beyond your comfort zone. Savvy companies are expanding into international markets with authentically localized websites.

But what are the smartest ways to identify the best global markets for your company? MotionPoint examined the exclusive data generated by the 1,000-plus translated and optimized websites we operate every day, and offer five must-have tips:

1: One Site, Many Markets

Your organization can maximize ROI by launching one translated website that can serve several markets. Consider the business case for launching a Spanish-language site for U.S. Hispanics: this market’s buying power is on track to hit $2 trillion by 2020. About 75 percent of Hispanics speak Spanish at home, and spend nearly 20 percent more per order online than the U.S. average.

Also, consider that underserved customers in other Spanish-speaking markets will transact on a U.S. Spanish site. (As much as 60 percent of traffic can hail from Latin American markets.) They’ll often spend more, too. Mexicans spend nearly 95 percent more AOV than U.S. Hispanics do, for instance.

A website originally intended to serve one market can serve many, at no additional cost.

2: Fulfillment Is Key

The Internet has sparked untold innovations (and big gains) in cross-border commerce. Companies that fulfill global orders can increase their revenue by an average of 17 percent.

However, when it comes to shipping and delivery, some markets are more stable than others. Understanding these nuances is critical. You must play nice with import laws and understand which markets are prone to corruption, natural disasters or other risks that impact e-commerce transactions and delivery.

Have solutions in place for those problems — or partner with a vendor already fluent in these marketplaces, and their unique challenges.

3: Supporting Your New Customers

Using translated websites to expand into new global markets is increasingly easy and affordable — and will generate business results. But as you identify new markets to penetrate, be mindful of the additional customer support resources you’ll need to earn consumers’ trust.

A customer service FAQ page (translated into the local market’s language) will certainly reduce customer inquiries, but it can’t serve everyone. Customer-facing experiences such as support e-mails and “contact us” forms must be localized. Phone representatives should also be fluent in the language.

Examine your company’s current resources, with an eye for overcoming these challenges with in-house — or expert outsourced — team members.

4: Relevant Technical Infrastructure

Companies new to global online expansion often believe their new translated sites must be hosted by servers based in those new international markets. This is usually unnecessary. Latency issues are uncommon in regions such as Europe, where solutions smartly distribute server loads.

However, the need for local hosting is high in other international markets. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and geo-load balanced servers are often used by companies to improve their domestic sites’ speed or reliability, but can also play nice with the governmental requirements of restrictive international markets. China is one such market.

Finding a localization partner that provides IT resources and geo-load balancing, when appropriate, is imperative.

5: Get Social

Smartly identifying global markets with robust social network adoption rates can also supercharge local sales. Here, customers can easily reach out to their friends, sharing and recommending your brand and products.

Integrating regional social network functionality into your localized site can lead to more traffic and revenue. For instance, after integrating networks WeChat, Weibo and QQ into its Chinese site, one of our clients saw 30 percent of its referral traffic and 10% of its total site revenue hail from those networks.

Charles Whiteman is senior vice president of client services at MotionPoint Corp., one of the world’s leading enterprise localization platform. He may be reached at [email protected].