Market research is crucial endeavor if you ever get it into your head to expand your business in a foreign market. If you are an American, you’re in for a rude surprise if you ever think that every buyer and customer in the world acts like Americans. Let me tell you, they don’t.
You can use export marketing techniques such as email and online surveys, selling through established ecommerce portals, and participating in trade shows to find out what these potential problems are. By knowing ahead what these are, you can then formulate likely solutions before you ever start risking your money in your overseas expansion.
Here are some potential problems you need to have a clearer idea about:
The language barrier.
This is perhaps the most obvious problem. Even an American knows by now that not everyone speaks English. So you need to know how much of a trouble the language barrier represents for your exporting business. If you are dealing with high-end products or highly educated buyers in some countries, perhaps the language barrier may not be a serious problem if you speak English. Large numbers of college graduates in the world understand English. But if this is a problem, then you need some translation services to help you along.
Again, the different currencies will have to be addressed. Then there is also the mode of payment. In the US and Europe, paying for stuff with a credit card is normal. But there are many countries in the world where dealing in cash is traditional. You may also have some new payment schedules to endure. If you are used to being paid in 30 days for products you deliver, you may be shocked when you discover that 90 days is the norm in that country instead.
Is it legal for you to export or sell your products in your target country? What is perfectly legal in the US (such as bourbon) may be absolutely forbidden in certain Muslim-dominated countries. Or perhaps your products are legal, but you can only sell at a certain volume or at a certain price. You have to know all the legal requirements before you proceed.
In other words, you need to figure out a quick, smooth, and cost-effective way to deliver your products from one country to another. You have to accommodate the international and local laws as well.
Customs which can affect business.
Sometimes you have to do some personal negotiations and meetings, and local customs may be different from what you’re used to. For example, as an American you may think that setting up a 1 PM appointment with a local buyer means meeting at 1 PM sharp, but in some cultures that actually means sometime after 3 PM.
The export business is fraught with many potential misunderstandings and barriers, so you need effective export marketing research to sort things out.