Having won customers in international markets, you’ll be keen to make sure they keep returning to buy from you. This is even trickier than usual when you are not present and locally-based to cater to their needs.
The simple fact is that it is likely to take longer to build a loyal repeat customer base overseas than it would in your domestic market, and consequently you need to be prepared to make a significant investment and bide your time.
You’ll be pleased to know that there are several things you can do to help this process on its way. If you get into these good habits, your international customer base will grow organically.
Talk to them
Making the effort to communicate with overseas customers will set you apart from the companies who are afraid to. Language barriers, different time zones, international call charges – many companies will use all manner of excuses to avoid contacting international customers, which gives you the opportunity to step in. Ask them what they like, why they chose you, what they would like to see in your product range, what they think you should change, what would make them order again, order more, etc. This can be done at any stage of the buying process.
Keep in regular contact
In addition to keeping them informed on stock levels and the status of their order, plan regular campaigns and activity post-sale to let foreign customers know you care. eNewsletters and Social Media are ideal ways to keep in touch with your customers, whatever the distance.
Make them feel special
Find out about their preferences and fit in with them – whether that’s calling them rather than emailing, speaking their language, having a localised website they can order from, making them feel special will make them order again.
Keeping an eye on exchange rates as well as fluctuations in what your competitors are charging will pay off by bringing you more orders. Make sure you’re aware of what they charge for delivery, international returns etc. so you can match or better these rates.
The gift that keeps on giving
Plan regular offers especially for your international customers. Extra gifts, free delivery and discounts for their next purchase will make it easy for customers to stop shopping around and buy from you. Many eCommerce systems enable you to make an offer while someone is browsing your site if they seem hesitant, and if they abandon their basket/cart you should view this as an opportunity to make them a better offer.
Reviews & Ratings are Gold Dust
Did you know that one of the main factors that prevents people buying from an overseas supplier is a lack of trust? Displaying customer reviews on your site will help to reassure international customers that you are a reputable company whom they can trust. While this does primarily remove a barrier to first time buyers, here’s where your existing customers come in: encourage them to review you, and reward them when they do. Using a specialised review platform makes this an easy process of a few clicks that customers are willing to complete. It’s also a good barometer of your service in that market.
Arrange to go to trade shows and conferences in their country, and book as many meetings with local customers during your stay as you can. Nothing beats the trust that can be built when meeting your customers face-to-face. They will appreciate the effort you have made, and more inclined to place a bigger order with you.
A well thought-out international strategy will develop a global customer base for your business that keeps on growing. Keep reading our blog for more advice, or get in touch if you have any questions!
23 July 2014 11:12