Expand cross-border e-commerce with greater cultural understanding

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Gone are the days when a local mall or department store only served one community. Today, e-commerce sales are growing at a staggering 20% ​​each year, and soared even faster during the pandemic when stay-at-home orders were all the rage. Add to this the leveling power of social media, where influencers are promoting brands and products on TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, and you have the perfect economics for a strong international e-commerce strategy.

The best thing about these social media marketing campaigns is that viral products can cross borders. These social media marketing campaigns can lead to an expanded consumer base. However, this creates opportunities for sales teams to recognize diversity within a global audience.

In order to attract loyal customers, a sales strategy must address the needs and background of the audience. Globalization has made e-commerce a dominant force in today’s economy, and effective sales teams must understand the cultures in which they sell. Therefore, the following three core statements can help your business develop a global sales plan that leverages audience culture and diversity to drive cross-border e-commerce success.

1. Identify who your target audience is.

A marketing campaign without a clear idea of ​​who you’re selling to isn’t going to get very far. Don’t try to align your business with “the world”; Instead, the demographic focus should be kept clear and specific. For example, a company that specializes in high quality vegan leather handbags will likely list its key market as “ethically conscious women aged 24-45”. That might not go far enough, and a good sales team needs to narrow their audience even further.

The following strategies will help you further identify your target audience.

• Analyze market demographics.

Thankfully, thanks to the explosion of AI, website analytics, and social media data, there is a wealth of information available to help you better target your desired audience. Use these resources and tools to fully understand who your audience is and what they’re looking for online.

For smaller companies without an in-house research team, analysis of market intelligence may need to be outsourced to an independent agency or service. However, collecting data is worthwhile. These resources can provide powerful insights into a demographic’s purchasing power or what keywords your target consumer is using when searching for a product.

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• Sign up for the competition.

Don’t be afraid to do a friendly market watch and see who your competition is. By understanding your competition’s audiences and marketing strategies, you can focus on differentiating your brand from the competition while remaining attractive to discerning consumers.

Suppose your competition is successful with a certain product or in a certain region; Your competitor’s success provides an excellent opportunity to see how you can increase sales in these areas. While there will always be some overlap with customers, it’s important that you try to stand out in the minds of consumers.

• conduct surveys.

It is important to use customer feedback at all stages of the sales process. You can conduct targeted surveys to collect information throughout the buying process and use the feedback to ensure your e-commerce processes are meeting customer needs. Don’t rely solely on market research and instead use analytics to guide your customer research.

Keep in mind that when you identify a potential audience, surveys may be conducted to market feedback groups outside of your usual demographic. Discovering a market niche can open up a whole new sales territory.

• Segment your audience.

There is usually more than one audience in your demographic. For example, consider a protein powder and supplement store. Most marketing teams assume that the primary target audience for this brand is young males aged 16-45. However, other target groups for the product also include women aged 21 to 45 and older target groups.

However, selling protein powder to men and women in similar ads doesn’t work nearly as well as a more targeted campaign that’s deployed to each segment separately. Although it may seem like the more expensive route (building multiple ad campaigns), customizing ads for each audience will bring better sales.

2. Understand that cultures have different characteristics.

The business world is full of cautionary tales from poorly researched marketing campaigns. It is important for executives and PR managers to understand the history and culture of their key demographic. Equally, eCommerce businesses need to ensure they are compliant in every aspect of their sale, from shipping logistics to shopping platforms.

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According to Daniel Viniegra, Chief Commercial and Partnerships Officer at Go Global Ecommerce, building trustworthy and reputable business relationships across borders is essential. “If you want to sell successfully across borders, you have to fit into the current culture. To do this, it’s important to ensure you’re offering localized e-commerce experiences by considering currency conversions, payment methods for each market, and even languages ​​you use for business.”

That commitment to understanding your audience’s culture needs to be acknowledged, says Viniegra. “By keeping all of this in mind, you can avoid cultural mistakes that could harm your business.” When creating a product or service website for your target area, make sure the tone and material are appropriate. Similarly, do your research before creating an advertising campaign that may conflict with local expectations and culture.

Make sure buying products is hassle-free by using local payment methods, predicting correct taxes and duties, and doing your best to ensure fast shipping. Finally, make sure you don’t miss out on a sale because customers may not understand the translated text on a website or because there isn’t an option for their local language.

3. Outsource native cultural perspectives.

Effective ecommerce businesses can appeal to a wide variety of consumers. Understanding what drives purchasing decisions is critical to the success of any e-commerce business. However, not everything can be learned from market data alone; Sometimes boots on the ground are the best way to get the information you need.

Request a local perspective when building a new audience, launching a new product, or developing a sales strategy for an unfamiliar location. One of the best ways to do this is to hire a local market research team or advertising agency. These local businesses get helpful insights into what is driving sales in the region or for that specific audience. For example, terms and usage may vary by dialect – don’t miss out on sales because your products don’t include local slang or keywords.

A community-based ad agency can customize your social media ads and offer unique sales ideas that can engage your audience. To be successful in cross-border selling, it is crucial to build respectful relationships within the culture by actively listening to and following suggestions.

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While selling cross-border can sometimes feel overwhelming, there are resources available to businesses that can simplify the process. By engaging with the culture of your target audience and actively learning more about the region, e-commerce companies can thrive internationally and build long-term, positive relationships.

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Co-Founder Accountability Inc.

Rhett Power (The Accountability Coach) is a bestselling author and Forbes contributor. He is a co-founder of Accountability Inc. and is one of the world’s leading authorities on accountability and how it impacts business results. He and the team have helped some of the largest and most relevant brands in the world including The World Bank, United Airlines, FIFA, Virgin America, McDonald’s, Vodafone, Allstate, Zebra Technologies to achieve more and create a responsible culture that thrives.

Rhett started out as a co-founder of Wild Creations in 2007 and quickly grew the startup toy company to become South Carolina’s fastest growing company of 2010. Wild Creations has been recognized as a Blue-Ribbon Top 75 US Company by the US Chamber of Commerce and as one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing US Companies. He and his team have won over 40 national awards for their innovative toys. He was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011 and was nominated again in 2012. In 2018 he was named the best business coach in the United States. In 2019 he joined the renowned Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches and was recently named #1 Thought Leader on Entrepreneurship by Thinkers360. He is a Fellow at the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Rhett hosts Power Lunch Live, one of LinkedIn’s first and most popular interview shows and podcasts, where he interviews today’s thought leaders, authors, political leaders and executives about their journey to success.

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