I was delighted to take part in a Masterclass on International Ecommerce hosted by ScotlandIS on 26th February at the Corinthian Club in Glasgow. The talk was for an audience of experienced online retailers and covered building and implementing an international e-commerce strategy; what it really means to localise your ecommerce approach for different international markets; adapting your website for different countries to reflect language, culture and business practices.
I talked about the journey that most of our clients have gone through – from starting off with a website selling primarily to the local market to next implementing a few international features, to finally rolling a more targeted approach.
I also spoke about how businesses can evaluate international markets by reviewing Google Analytics, along with taking advantage of free tools such as Google Global Market Finder. My presentation covered using marketplaces to test new international markets such as eBay and Amazon.
Additionally I discussed the importance of having a targeted strategy, for each country that you are trying to win business from. This normally means producing a separate content version of your website aimed at a specific country. Without this online retailers have very little hope of obtaining the all important organic rankings from Google searches in the local market. The main considerations include:
• Domain structure – a new top level domain eg .fr or subdomain
• GEOip redirects and options
• How to display and convert pricing
• Amending the checkout process for the local market
• Content strategy
• Understanding your market preferences in terms of design and structure
• Managing customer services
I covered examples from our portfolio, including Skateboard Express, our Australia based client who has a separate content version aimed at the UK market and our client the Whisky Barrel who has a dedicated UK and Europe site and another one aimed mainly at the USA market. The Whisky Barrel is a great case study because since the launch of the dedicated USA site the Whisky Barrel has increased orders by 200% from the USA mainly gained from great organic results on Google USA.
Most of Digital Six’s clients are focused on international ecommerce as part of their growth strategy and we have learned a lot of lessons along the way about selling internationally. I was delighted to share our tips to an audience considering their international options.
Other speakers included Christian Arno, CEO of Lingo24, and Andrew Veitch, the founder of the Fine Coffee Club. They both had a wealth of experience and stories relating to trading online and it was interesting to hear their words of wisdom regarding international language translation and managing cultural and language differences.
I learned quite a few useful tips that can be passed on to our clients regarding different payment service providers and cultural expectations relating to the order process. I was delighted to be part of this event, and see this sort of networking and information sharing as crucial to keeping up to date with the latest thoughts regarding international ecommerce. Here’s hoping there are many more events of this type in Scotland.