Currently only 7% of European consumers buy online from a foreign site, yet many e-commerce sites are trying to extend their products internationally. Their main motivation is an increase of turnover; a study by Eurostat (Statistical Office of the European Community) shows that 11% of international e-commerce site sales come from foreign consumers. This strategy can really pay off. Here are three key tips for internationalizing an e-commerce site.

1. Understand the Culture of Target Countries

The European Union can count more than 500 million inhabitants in 27 nations speaking 23 official languages. All these countries have different cultures. An e-commerce site wishing to expand into foreign countries must first perform market research in the targeted countries in order to better understand them. You must avoid a cultural gap between the store and its consumers.

The choice of the country is usually tied to the activity of the store. Countries are often specialized by domains: Spain is an expert in tourism and culture while German consumers prefer ready-to-wear and the English like sporting goods and food. Before going international, make sure to do a lot of work ahead to avoid problems due to a culture gap.

2. Avoid a Language Barrier

Language is a key issue not to be neglected. It’s naturally the first barrier to internationalizing a commercial site; no one wants to buy a product on a site they can’t understand.

On the countrary, a good command of the host country’s language could land you very positive feedback. LinkedIn, for example, increased its Spanish membership by 128% after translating its site into Spanish. To really break the language barrier, don’t hesitate to hire translators who are native speakers of the target country’s language.

3. Choose a Secure Payment System

85% of cyber-buyers use a credit card. This is undoubtedly the most well-known and easiest means of payment worldwide. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to have a secure system o payment by credit card on your site. In Europe there are more than 41 different well-known online payment systems. For convenience, use high-profile universal systems such as PayPal. The choice of a payment method lets you create a climate of trust between the consumer and the store. PrestaShop has more than 118 well-known payment modules. If you want to sell abroad, take a look at PrestaShop Addons for these helpful modules.

To achieve internationalization, you must above all understand the consumer and be able to reassure him or her. Therefore knowledge of their culture and language, as well as the use of a secure payment system, are good means for selling abroad.

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