The ‘Shopify effect’ and how it can impact small business

How to set up your business for international sales

Setting up your ecommerce business to sell overseas is not as difficult as you might believe. A recent study by found that over 375,000 UK SMEs are not selling internationally despite having exportable goods.

Whether these businesses are put off by a lack of knowledge or issues caused by Brexit is debatable. What is not debatable is the success UK ecommerce businesses are having through exports.

So what are you waiting for? Follow these simple steps to start selling internationally and watch those sales come flooding in:

Choose the right ecommerce platform for your website

Work with a provider that offers high-end customer support and guidance when it comes to shipping internationally. Shopify and Wix are our top recommendations.

Visit our review of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses to find out more.

Identify your target markets

Consider carefully what countries you want to begin exporting to. Market research is vital – think about your target demographic.

Is your product even desirable in a particular country? You would not make much money selling loft insulation in Qatar now, would you?

Devise a relevant marketing strategy

A well-established business in the UK may have a foolproof marketing strategy already in place. That is all well and good, but once you start selling internationally you need to also market internationally.

This means your strategy may change depending on the country you are marketing in. In European countries, Instagram is significant and widely used. Find out how to use Instagram for business with our in depth guide.

Choose payment options carefully

Ensure you offer various payment methods as this will make it easier for international customers to buy from your store.

Pick an order fulfillment center

One of the biggest headaches of selling overseas is organizing the packaging and shipment of your products abroad. By using an order fulfillment center, you can reduce the time and cost it takes to deliver customer orders.

The center will hold your stock near your target location, before packing the item and sending it on your behalf when the order is received. Find out more about order fulfillment services here.

Understand tax rules and regulations

Be sure you get to grips with the latest duties and taxes for each country you are operating in. Laws and regulations change from country to country and mistakes can prove costly for your business. You can usually find this information on government websites.

Figure out your shipping and returns policy

Returning items from overseas is one of the trickier aspects of selling internationally. Order fulfillment companies can offer you an option for returns which can really help.

Otherwise, be incredibly clear about how your returns policy works and the charges involved before any sale is made, as this will keep your customers happy.

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