This article is contributed by Tim Correia.
If your company sells a product and you want to expand your business, then the best way to go about increasing your reach and your profits is undoubtedly to expand into international markets. This way you can reach an audience that is orders of magnitude larger, spread your brand to become a global phenomenon and grow your organisation several times over.
But selling products in other countries is no easy feat, and there are a number of important challenges that you need to overcome before you can be successful. This is a huge undertaking, and if you aren’t careful to plan carefully ahead of time then you can risk losing more than you gain or getting yourself into various legal and financial difficulties. Read on and we will take a look at some of the most important considerations for any company hoping to sell a product abroad.
The first thing you need to find out, is whether or not you will be legally permitted to sell your product abroad – or whether there might be specific laws and regulations there that require you to change the nature of what you’re selling in order to do so. For instance, you may find that specific health and safety laws in the territories you are entering prevent you from selling your product as it is, even though it is perfectly legal where you are. Other laws might force you to alter your packaging for environmental purposes, or your marketing for reasons relating to competition in the industry.
While the laws in these territories may not affect the way you design and market your products, you may nevertheless find that they still affect other aspects of your business model. For instance, you may need to offer an extended warranty or to alter your returns policy. Intellectual property law is also something you need to consider – as your current patent won’t protect you when you move into another country (and you might even be stepping on the toes of another business).
As well as researching laws in any countries in which you wish to sell, your business should also research the culture and the markets to ensure that any marketing is sending the right message. What may sell well in one country could potentially be deemed old fashioned, or potentially even offensive in another. Did you know for instance that the word ‘Osram’ has a meaning to do with faeces in Poland? Not ideal branding for the company of that name that makes light bulbs!
Sales and Distribution
Also important is to think about how you are going to get your product onto the shelves in those foreign counties – the sheer logistical challenge of getting your products out there and finding business partners.
For the first part of that challenge you may want to use a sales representative or distributor. Their job will be to represent your product abroad and to get it into stores. They will know how to deal with businesses in that country and will have the best chance of helping you to cut some big deals and sell lots of units. Of course you could alternatively use eCommerce or attempt to approach resellers yourself.
Next you’re going to have to deliver your orders, which can be a complicated, expensive and difficult process. For this you will need to look into freight forwarding. This means using a contractor who will deal with carriers on your behalf and handle the entire process for you for a fee. They should also speak to your customs brokers, who will help you to deal with getting your items through customs barriers.
Meanwhile you will also need to ensure that your shipments meet all legal requirements and that you have considered all overseas trade documentation. You also need to ensure that you are able to send and receive payments abroad, for which you might want to consider using letters of credit so that you and your resellers both have some assurance that the deal will go through as agreed.
You can see that this is a lengthy and complicated process but by using the right services and speaking with the right people it can be made a lot easier. And if it means expanding into new markets filled with millions of potential new customers, then it is certainly worth it!
Author Bio: Tim Correia is part of the team with, CDN Consular Services, leaders in export documentation. He is an avid gamer and loves spending time with his friends.
- international center image courtesy of http://pixabay.com/en/vienna-austria-international-center-88370/
- law logo image courtesy of Carl Malamud
- hungarian culture image courtesy of http://pixabay.com/en/hungarian-culture-tradition-riders-173722/
- sales meeting image courtesy of Dell Inc.