Global E-Commerce: Should you even go there?

Global E-commerce

I recently read an article from Inc.com about the subject of global e-commerce and it reminded me of how easy it is to overlook the distance between point A and point B when it comes to selling products online worldwide.

The possibility of attracting the whole world to your online store can be an illusion difficult to overcome. We often get caught up with the possibilities and rarely pay attention with the realities. One of which is, Should I even go there?

When it comes to e-commerce, like most things in life, just because you can it doesn't mean you should. At least not before considering the details involved in having a global business.

Yes, the internet and technology in general, makes a lot of things that were impossible, now possible. But some things, are still not completely aligned. Here are a few things to consider before you take your online business worldwide.

Cost of shipping

Normally, a customer expects a certain percentage of the total cost to go towards shipping, but how much of a percentage? I would argue that anything more than 25% would raise serious questions about the need or want for that product.

Returns

What if after waiting for 2 weeks to receive the most anticipated product that you purchased from the other side of the world is not quite what you had in mind, or if it simply doesn't fit or it's not the right color. Then what?

Customer experience

What kind of experience do you think the customer is expecting when he is paying much more than a client that is within a few miles from you? And, are you ready to meet those higher expectations and level of customer service?

In my experience, the amount of resources that are required to serve a worldwide audience are still reserved for retailers that already have physical locations around the world.
For example, one of my clients, sells online worldwide but his sales to clients outside the US are only 10% of his total sales. In order to serve that 10%, he uses 40-50% of his resources, not only that but 70% of his customer service issues are with international clients. You do the math.

Although, services like Amazon allow you to start thinking globally, maybe you should wait and use those resources to provide your local/national client with an even better experience.