The last post explained how domestic sales should be seen as a dry-run for international sales. All those little issues you’ve had - with seller ratings, tracking inventory, quality control - absolutely must be solid before you make the global leap. Once you’ve really tidied up your domestic sales, it will be time to launch your product internationally.
Obviously, selling internationally is complicated. Each country has its own language, taxes, and laws, all of which need to be thoroughly researched before you set up any sales.
Pre-launch: do your research
Even if you feel 100 percent confident that your domestic sales are up to snuff, you may not be ready to jump into the international market place. For obvious reasons, doing research ahead of time is critical.
Remember, you have to think about international selling from two ends: from the domestic side of things, and from the international side. Since you’re working within a country that has its own laws, any mistakes you make may not just mean lost money; they may be illegal.
Don’t let this intimidate you too much – there are particular areas to explore and resources that can help.
- Taxes: a necessary evil
On the international side, there are a huge number of considerations, but one of the first areas to explore will be taxes. These should be considered early on, so that you can budget accordingly. In the UK, for instance, know that you must pre-pay a flat 20% VAT, which will push your prices higher.
- Export Compliance
Depending on your product, it may or may not be a big deal. Take mp3Car for example. Due to the nature of the products, we did not need to spend too much time on this. Some of the product categories with complicated export compliance include food, electric plugs, pharmaceuticals and items that are not RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant.
- Consider your process
Once you’re selling overseas, you may have options to change certain parts of your process. For instance, how will you fit your current QC procedures into overseas sales? Remember to be proactive rather than reactive. Sticking to a reliable system will be your best bet. At mp3Car, this means paying extra to ship all items – even those made in parts of the world where we are selling – to our QC facilities in the US before selling to the customer.
- Ask the experts
Remember, when it comes to these complicated policies and procedures, experts can help. These can include anything from development agencies to consultants to shipping partners.
Ultimately, what the pre-global-domination process comes down to is streamlining and consistency. This means removing the human element and automating wherever you can, while also working your employees into the process in a way that is reliable and systematic. At Whitebox, we are passionate about automation as a tool for ecommerce growth, whether your brand is regional, national or international.