Worldwide economic development and growth of the middle class has put increased purchasing power in the hands of millions of new consumers. Global cross-border eCommerce sales alone total some $2 trillion annually, and are expected to exceed $6 trillion by 2020. Are you ready to take advantage of growing international selling opportunities? Find new foreign buyers and position your company by utilizing customized eCommerce and social media platforms and strategies, as numerous exporters have successfully done. View eCommerce, the fifth of five videos in our Finding Foreign Buyers set. Then follow the checklist below to properly prepare to export using eCommerce.
Last Published: 1/19/2018

International Selling 


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Getting Started: Cross-border eCommerce Checklist

While international sales are often more easily attained through cross-border eCommerce, new opportunities bring new responsibilities: complying with regulations, collecting additional information about your product, and managing new risks. The article below outlines the elements needed to find international buyers and complete international sales. Integrate these items into your business operations from the start of the sales-and-fulfillment process.

    
Target Markets
  • Select eCommerce channels— which ones and why?    
  • What are your target countries (English-speaking countries, free trade agreement partners, those with high rates of cross-border -purchases, etc.)?    
  • Are the target countries compatible with the eCommerce channels?


Selling Methods       

  • What are your projected sales and revenues versus anticipated eCommerce expenses?
  • Who is selling similar goods?
  • How are they describing the products, and in which marketplaces and at what prices?
  • What goods will you sell, and what prices will you charge based on your costs and the costs to the customer (including estimated duties and taxes)?
  • How will you handle fulfillment? What parts, if any, will you outsource?
  • How will website content be managed in accordance with best practices?
  • What metrics will be used, and how will analyses be acted upon?


IP and Regulations 

  • How will you protect your intellectual property (IP), such as trademarks and designs?
  • Could you formally file for protection in each international market?
  • What are the steps for complying with U.S. and foreign market regulations, and which staff member will be responsible for compliance?


Customer Service issues

  • What are your customer service policies for international sales?
  • How will you handle warranty matters and returns?
  • What can be learned from online buyer comments? 


Intellectual Property Protection Abroad

Take steps to protect your IP, including your brand names, company name, trademarks, and logos (among others). Simply protecting your IP in the United States does not mean it is protected anywhere else. Unscrupulous businesses often referred to as patent or trademark “trolls” search the internet looking for IP to grab and register in their country. Then, when your business arrives in a new market (for example, in a large marketplace’s country-specific eCommerce platform, such as Alibaba.com in China), trolls inform you that you’ve violated their IP and demand large fees to license property that once was yours.

Protect your investment by registering your IP in markets you’ve targeted. Often, registration is neither difficult nor expensive. In the European Union (EU), for instance, you register only one time and gain protection in all EU countries. For additional information on registering and protecting your IP in key countries around the world, visit stopfakes.gov or contact your local U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist. 


Get Help

Export.gov, the U.S. federal government’s export portal, links to many resources, including the following: 

                o   Identify Market Opportunities
                o   Price your product
                o   Protect your brand
                o   Ship your products
                ​o   Chose the right channel mix

                o   Optimize your users' experience
                o   Get Paid
                ​o   Manage after-sale service

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Links to websites outside the U.S. Federal Government, or the use of trade, firm, or corporation names within the International Trade Administration websites (export.gov and trade.gov) are for the convenience of the user. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the U.S. Commerce Department of any private sector website, product, or service. When selecting links, be aware that you are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the outside website. Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



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