This is a guest blog post by Owen Andrew, an ecommerce journalist.
Before ecommerce became a borderline necessity for doing business in the majority of verticals, small business owners and their employees were limited to doing to their marketing in mostly localized ways.
A sign in front of the store, in-store signage and front window displays, and perhaps an ad in the city’s newspaper or phonebook; if they were lucky, perhaps a regional or even national publication may write them if their story or products were particularly compelling.
How Globalization Affects SMBs
However, now most businesses can easily and nearly seamlessly access the other side of the world through technology. Ecommerce is thriving in places like India, Russia, China, Brazil, and more; and mobile is quickly taking hold as well thanks to the increasingly widespread availability (and relatively affordability) of high end smart phones.
One could say that mobile is changing ecommerce in similar way to how ecommerce altered brick and mortar retail - so SMBs owe it to themselves to learn the technology and understand which ecommerce portals are the most effective for their market.
Empowerment Via Technology And Careful Research
In fact, mobile commerce (or m-commerce) is becoming the standard everywhere, and executing it successfully can set a small business marketer apart from larger competitors. People around the world generally want to make purchases in the way that is easiest and most cost-effective for them - and via a localized interface they already use and understand.
Therefore, doing your research on the digital habits of your audience is key - different cultures and countries use the internet in very different ways, so what is basic or intuitive to you might be completely foreign in another country, and vice versa.
And it is not all about mobile or even the common marketing tactics like paid search, Facebook, and more. Think outside of the typical big names (especially the ones popular in the U.S. or your home country) and try niche networks specific to each target audience or location. An added bonus? Smaller platforms and markets can lead to easier, more budget-friendly market entry - which is nearly always a positive.
Downsides Of Globalization
Supply-chain management, customizing products and marketing campaigns to suit the idiosyncrasies of each target market, and determining how to send and receive funds can all present challenges for SMB marketers. Currency rates and local/country-specific taxes can also present problems - but all of these have solutions that can be less complex and costly than you think.
Knowing when the key holiday seasons are along with any special dates or events, and preparing your ecommerce site is essential as well. Lastly, what people tend to purchase when is important as well - especially for business owners who sell across hemispheres or to widely different cultures.
Understanding Your (New) Global Business
Lastly, understand the types of devices (even brands and models) and optimize your global strategy accordingly, along with your analytics so you can enable precise tracking for your global audience - but this advice applies to SMB ecommerce overall!
At the end of the day, many of the difficulties of globalization can be combated through strategic deployment of SMB-centric technologies. Even better, the sheer variety of possibilities for ecommerce and mobile commerce growth are growing every day, making it an important aspect of growing your small business internationally.
Author Bio: Owen Andrew is an eCommerce journalist who spends free time studying online marketing practices and attending EDM concerts. He hopes you enjoy this post, and would like to thank ethercycle.com for hosting him!"