Going global can introduce your products to new markets and new customers. But expanding internationally can be costly in terms of both time and money. There are legal and political considerations, plus the need to hire talent abroad and set up offices overseas.
For a simple solution, you could sell via an online global marketplace. These are existing platforms that already get plenty of traffic and have established a great reputation with their customers. Put simply, they can help you launch an international expansion quickly, without incurring the expenses of a DIY approach.
What’s more, partnering with online global marketplaces could boost your sales, especially if you're considering an expansion into the States. An impressive 92 percent of online shoppers in the U.S. have purchased something from Amazon, for example, and 40 percent shop on Amazon at least monthly, so listing your products there is an ideal way to make more sales.
However, while global marketplaces make it easier to start selling internationally, you still need to choose the right platform and understand how to position your products in order to succeed. Here’s what you need to know.
Selling on large global marketplaces
When we talk about large global marketplaces, the "big ones" that may immediately spring to mind are Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, and Rakuten. They’re among the most visited sites on the internet with the potential to introduce your products to new customers around the world – Amazon gets 4.6bn visits per month.
There are other benefits to joining a large global marketplace. It’s easy to sign up and add your products to the platform. Also, because they are eager to partner with sellers, most offer additional services to make selling simple – like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which streamlines shipping.
The drawback? Because these large marketplaces are so large, you’ll need a plan to make your products really stand out. Focus on descriptive and attractive product titles and descriptions to grab customers’ attention, and consider in-platform advertising to better connect with potential buyers.
Look to regional heavy-hitters
Sometimes, you don’t need a truly global marketplace – one that serves a large target region might be a better fit. For example, if you want to expand within the EU, selling on an EU-specific marketplace like Allegro might be just what you need. Set your sights stateside? Selling on Walmart’s marketplace grants you access to North American markets. Meanwhile, listing your products on Mercado Libre can help you connect with South American customers and Alibaba’s Tmall can support your expansion into East Asia.
Regional marketplaces may get less traffic compared to global marketplaces, but they will still connect you with millions of potential customers and offer easy onboarding for new sellers. Once again, you’ll need stellar product titles and descriptions to stand out, so tailor your copy to the region you’re targeting.
Scope out niche marketplaces
When it comes to selling, bigger isn’t always better. Consider looking for online marketplaces that specialise in one type of product – Best Buy for electronics and technology, for example, or Wayfair for home goods.
Listing on a niche marketplace typically means sacrificing some web traffic – Best Buy, for instance, gets 118.8M visits monthly– in return for the opportunity to connect with customers already interested in the products you are offering. So, while your product pages may see less overall traffic, your chances of scoring a sale from each visit are higher.
What to consider when choosing a global marketplace
1. Research the competition
Where are your direct competitors selling and how can you set yourself apart? Scope out their prices and product descriptions, and make sure your copy clearly communicates your USP.
2. Make a shipping plan
Make sure you understand any regional regulations around exporting and consider signing up for platform-specific shipping options, like Amazon’s FBA.
3. Handle international payments easily
Gaining access to new global markets may mean you may start receiving payments in foreign currencies, so you need to find the right partner to handle those transactions. Our versatile International Payment solutions make it easy to receive money in 80 different currencies with no fee for incoming currency payments.
Just like any international expansion, selling on a global online marketplace takes a little planning, but the resources are out there to make the transition as easy as possible.
To start, learn more about how fluctuations in foreign exchange rates could affect your bottom line when you're receiving international payments. Our guide can help you manage your risks and set yourself up to succeed.