International e-commerce: a go-to guide

Want to expand your e-commerce business internationally but don’t know where to start? Look no further as we have the ideal go-to guide for you to take the next step and expand internationally.

E-commerce is forever growing, and to keep up with that growth it’s worth looking inward at what’s next for your business. If you want to make that shift into a global audience, then your marketing strategy needs to take that same shift. International SEO is the best way to make these changes.

Considering international expansion opens many doors for your business, especially if you feel it needs to grow past its current level. Let’s take a look at why and how you should do this.

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What is international e-commerce?

Firstly, what is international e-commerce? It’s essentially online businesses expanding their sales globally and to other countries rather than just their own. With online retail expanding, especially in recent years with the pandemic, this is a jump that businesses may strongly consider.

A seamless online experience for users anywhere in the world is key. If you feel limited by current SEO practices or are only investing in local SEO, then international e-commerce could be the key.

Why your e-commerce business should go international

With an ever-increasing digital world, geography is less important or limiting when looking to purchase a product. It opens up your potential market size and expands the reachable audiences, increasing opportunities for sales and conversions.

By increasing your audience, you increase and vary revenue streams- so instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, you diversify who you can potentially reach and gain revenue from.

Another great benefit is that you’re able to match competition- the one thing that may have been letting you down is how far international you reach. There’s an increased opportunity to expand your reputation and establish your brand across a global market rather than just localised.

How to go international

So, now you know why you should go international, but how do you get there?

Research the market

Thorough research helps ease you into the planning stages of preparing to undergo foreign sales. This research could include looking at top competitors in your country and other countries- have a look at what they’re doing differently and whether you can take any inspiration from this. Ahrefs, SEMRush and other marketing tools can help deep dive into competitor sites.

When researching the market, it’s useful to pay close attention to global trends (again, not just local, but global). Having a sense of adaptability to whatever global market trends you face is a useful skill for both competition and attracting the right audiences.

Sort out currency

Allowing your users to use their correct currency is a must for any e-commerce business, but how you go about it may differ depending on your site’s SEO and how it functions. You could:

  • Set currency based on the user’s IP address
  • Let the user choose their currency from a list of options
  • Stick to just one currency and let it convert at the end of the payment

Decide which of these to choose from, and this will hopefully show a user that they can purchase from your site (no matter their location) without any issues.

Introduce varying payment methods

A variety of payment methods gives your users options, and if their preferred payment option is available, they’re more likely to purchase from your site. Having a diverse range of payment methods shows that you can serve every user who wants to purchase from your site.

Know your target audience

The online experience you provide should suit the audience that you want to attract. Getting to know your target audience is key to knowing which direction your international SEO should go in.

Google Analytics can provide a full report on your audience: this includes age, location, which device they’re on, interests, most visited product pages and more. All this data tells you what your international SEO should be optimising.

Top tips for implementing international SEO

Implementing international SEO can be a lengthy, complex process- but with these top tips, best practice is ensured so your site can be optimised for a global audience:

Keyword research between regions

Keyword research is the first step of any successful SEO campaign- it is central to a lot of the decision-making that goes into strategy. You need to identify what keyword(s) you’d like to rank for internationally so that your site and content are optimised for this purpose.

Researching between regions also allows SEO experts to identify where the site is valuable and how highly it would currently rank in other countries- if no one in that region is searching for your product, then it’s not exactly worth investing in that area. Semantic SEO could be a good helping hand for this, helping to optimise user intent and language nuance.

Don’t neglect content

Make sure content is both localised and valuable for various regions. The localisation of content avoids any language barrier issues that may ward a user away from your site. Every page that includes short or long-form content should be localised to ensure best practice. Investing in the right localisation and translation tool (not Google Translate) goes a long way.

Optimise for both desktop and mobile

Optimising for both desktop and mobile is useful as user intent can change between the two devices. All users should be able to shop efficiently on your site, no matter if they’re on desktop or mobile or no matter where they are on the globe.

Including mobile SEO in your strategy can help optimise for mobile users, especially in the digital age of online shopping being so popular on mobile phones.

How Embryo can help you go international

At Embryo, we can take your e-commerce business that extra mile by utilising international SEO. We optimise for every opportunity, and if you believe the next step for you is going global, our experts have the right knowledge to take you there.

Have a question that’s not been covered in our guide? Feel free to ask our team by calling 0161 327 2635 or email [email protected].

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