If you are an e-commerce operator who has never sold overseas, there may be a very good reason for you to consider changing things up. That reason is domestic inflation. As you know, inflation is seemingly out of control in the U.S. At some point, Americans will stop spending so much money. And when that happens, your business may have to rely on international sales to stay afloat.
Online prices have continued to rise along with everything else since the start of 2022. However, recent data shows that some prices are starting to fall as consumers are being more careful about discretionary spending. In simple terms, Americans are now being forced to cut back. Whenever that happens, they stop buying those things they do not consider necessities.
If your business is starting to suffer from the effects of domestic inflation, perhaps it is time to start looking at international markets. Here are some things to think about:
If you have never sold internationally before, you may be tempted to jump right in and open your e-commerce doors to every country on the planet. That is a mistake. There is a lot to know about customs, taxes and duties, and shipping regulations. You’re better off starting slowly and working your way up.
Choose one or two countries that you are relatively comfortable with. Get used to selling and shipping there first, then add more countries to your portfolio.
Choose a Shipping Partner Wisely
You have already mastered e-commerce here in the U.S., so you have the business part of it down. Your biggest challenge on the international market will be shipping. Choose your shipping partner wisely.
Preferred Shipping is a DHL Authorized Reseller based in Texas (https://preferredship.com/). They say e-commerce operations can do themselves a favor by partnering with a shipping provider who offers expertise in all things customs. This is especially important for operators just getting into international shipping for the first time. They need experts to assist them with product classification, customs paperwork, and duty issues.
In addition, a shipping partner with international name recognition can make it easier to sell internationally. Some shipping services are preferred in some countries, so you need to be prepared to work with more than one shipper. Either way, do your homework here. Do not just randomly pick a shipping partner based on an online ad.
Consider Currency Options
It is not unusual for e-commerce operators to request all payments in U.S. dollars even when selling overseas. But remember, the whole reason we are having this discussion is because domestic inflation is starting to wear on your business.
You may be better off accepting some types of foreign currency rather than U.S. dollars. If a foreign currency is strong enough against the dollar, allowing customers to pay in that currency works out better for you after the exchange rate is factored in.
There is no hard and fast rule for this. You need to look at individual currencies and do the math yourself. Just don’t assume that U.S. dollars is the best option right now. That might not be the case.
A Possible Recession
Unfortunately, we need to face the fact that we could be looking at a possible recession in the near future. If a recession does come, you may have to rely on international customers to keep your business going. So if you’re not selling internationally yet at least think about it.
Selling internationally does mean more work. Doing so can be challenging to an e-commerce operator. But with things being as tough as they are right now, you may have no other choice.