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Tips on how to get your local e-commerce ready to go international

Going international with your local e-commerce business can be a profitable move. That being said, it isn’t without its challenges. As with any business expansion, you will need to plan, research and prepare. Here are a few tips on how to get your local e-commerce ready to go international. 

Being Aware of Risks

The first step of preparing for any business expansion is to research and understand the risks. With e-commerce businesses, data security and privacy risks are prevalent. You need to reassure your customers that their information is protected if you want them to trust you. Going international means that these risks can have serious implications for your business. It’s important to have a strategy to minimise the damage to your reputation and assets. Implementing a strategy to protect your business from these risks is equally, if not more, important. Remember, it’s easier and costs less to prevent something bad from happening than to clean everything up when it does.

Finding the Right Partners and Team

When you’re a local business, it’s easy to take charge of everything and be very hands-on. However, once you go international, it’ll be a nightmare if you try to do everything yourself. There are many shoes you will have to fill, and it’s important to find the right people who can help your e-commerce business succeed. Both marketing and operational teams are important here, and you should look to find globally-minded talent. Finding the right partners should also be a priority if your business is looking to go international. This includes finding reliable international shipping carriers, merchants and distributors.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Build a Website

Your e-commerce website is a key player in the success of your international expansion. Make sure it is tailored to all your target markets and provides a personalised experience for each one. Take lots of care when it comes to the design of your website and its features. Find inspiration from other successful international e-commerce businesses. When you go international, it’s always good to have translations for your website, but it’s more important that these are high-quality. If you want to get your brand out in the market, good translations will indicate professionalism.

International Shipping

Offering international shipping is an easy first step if you want to expand into the market. Think of it as dipping your toes in the water to gain some insight into whether or not there is interest. Before you do so, it’s a good idea to understand duties and tariffs that may arise in certain markets. Make an account with a reliable international shipping carrier. This way you can get a sense of the costs of offering international shipping to customers.

Social Media

In our digital age, everyone is on social media, one form or another. It makes sense to use these platforms as engagement channels and connect with your customers from around the world! Most of these social media platforms can generate audiences for advertising. This way, you can target specific markets. This means they will embed your brand into the consciousness of people who might be interested in the products your business offers. Social media is also a great way to start a global following for your brand and provides a network for you to interact with them.

Expanding local e-commerce internationally can be challenging. However, with the right mindset and some careful planning, you’ll be on the right track. Being aware of the risks and taking the process slow will help you towards your success. With the right strategy, your local e-commerce will be ready to go international in no time.


Harper Reid is a creative writer from Auckland, New Zealand. Harper has written for local business such as Sea Containers, and her work has been published across various sites on topics like travel, health & wellness and business. You can read more of her work on Words and Scribbles by Harper.