With the rise of the Internet one of the big surprises—though it now seems inevitable in retrospect—was how the entire world has been turned into one virtual “shopping mall.” What seemed like science fiction 30 years ago is now an everyday reality. People from all over the world can buy products or services from vendors that are also all over the world. An American looking for a rare book can buy that book from a bookshop in Ireland. British advertising agencies can solicit freelance illustrations from a promising artist in Thailand.
Our world has now become a global marketplace that anyone can shop or sell in, and that’s a fantastic business and customer opportunity for everyone. But if you’re entering the global stage yourself to offer your product or service, are you actually ready for it?
One of the biggest barriers for anyone serving the entire world is communicating with people in different languages. English is considered the “lingua franca” or language of business, and so while it’s important to have an English version of a website for the many people that are fluent, this is still not representative of the entire, vast market. Chinese, for example, is another language that should strongly be considered for a web presence, as there is a massive presence of Chinese-only customers and business people around the world.
It will always be important to have an English-based version of a business or retail website, but once you are feeling confident about your prospects as a global product or service provider, take the time to consider the expense of presenting and promoting yourself in other languages. This will expand your reach considerably.
This is especially important when you sell to the world. Different countries, different currencies, many different issues all need to be considered when your customer can come from any place on the planet with an Internet connection.
Payment processing becomes especially important in two ways. You want to ensure that whatever mechanism you have in place is as easy and convenient to use as possible. If you’ve gotten a customer to the point where they are ready to buy something from you, the last thing you want is a payment process so convoluted it discourages people from completing the transaction.
The other thing you want it ensure that all the major forms of payment are covered. Credits cards are a must in the online world, but other options such as PayPal and other forms of digital wallet also need to be considered. Make sure that when you’re at that crucial stage where a customer is ready to give you money, this final step does not prove to be an obstacle. It can mean the difference between a one-time purchase and a returning customer.
Being able to serve the world is an exciting prospect, but it’s not easy. With the extra opportunity comes extra effort required to make sure a global customer-base is catered to and finds the shopping experience your provide welcoming and convenient.