Thanks to advanced technologies, buying and selling goods from one country to another has become easy. Amazon, Alibaba and other e-commerce giants purposely target new digital developing regions, overwhelmingly controlling the market.
Selling online goods is not just about uploading its image, name and price. You need to follow some marketing fundamentals if you want to make the most out of it. Look at the following 4P marketing model formula which refers to each steps for a good cross-border product launch.
- What is your Product?
- At what Price will you sell it?
- In what Place will you sell your product?
- What is your Promotion plan?
Though this is a classic model in marketing that’s still referenced today as the basis for traditional strategy, it’s important to understand how it will translate digitally. Here are the 4 steps to applying the 4P marketing model to selling goods internationally and online.
The 4P Marketing Model for Cross-Border E-Commerce
#1. What is your Product?
When deciding on a product, it is quite tempting to think about what you would like to sell, instead of what your customers will be willing to buy. There is a then a gap between those two different approaches for your e-commerce, what you want vs. what the customers want.
When setting up your e-commerce cross-border activity, you will need to try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes when browsing the Amazon search box. Think about what words you could use to describe your product that would allow you to appear in your customer’s recommendations section. Be careful though, because you don’t want them to think that your product appeared because you just want them to buy it, it has to seems natural.
Depending on the country you will target, criteria like culture, trend, and brand awareness can prevent your products from being discovered or even appreciated. What you could do before launching your product exportation is some specific research that can includes product awareness, culture, gender, generations, and so on.
#2. At what Price will you sell it?
If you think that price is the most important thing concerning the item your sell, chances are you might fail while trying to enter news markets. Instead you should make decisions based on your target market specificity, but not bet everything on the discount process.
E-commerce cross-border penetration attempt of other markets will lead you to assess your product image. For example in Japan, cheaper price is an incentive for buying, but it is also disincentive for luxury brands. It is not conceivable for rich people to buy their items to discounted price even though they would save money.
Brands can reflect different images depending on the countries’ customer habits. Once, I discussed brand penetration with Swedish friend of mine about the Japanese brand UNIQLO compared to Swedish brand H&M. For Japanese people, UNIQLO’s style is casual and accessible to anyone, however it is starting to get closer to a high class standard. This is not the case in Sweden, where H&M is still considered to be thrifty. Japanese and Swedish people don’t consider a unique brand the same way.
Instead of relying only low cost items, the products you sell should match the image you want the targeted countries to have from your brand. Invest what you can provide them and compare brand recognition sedulously.
#3. In what Place will you sell your product?
Think about the last time you bought something. How did you figure out the best place to buy it? Was it through online search, brick-and-mortar visits, or something that caught your eye at the supermarket? If you’ve ever purchased cross-border, or traveled to other countries, you’ve probably seen or experienced some strange customs or in-store payment processes.
In Japan, behind credit card penetration statistics offline, people tend to opt for cash-on-hand purchases. Even e-commerce shopping usually includes cash-on-delivery for those within the culture with old-fashioned styles.
Select the appropriate place to sell your products, whether it is online or offline, in addition to discerning the best style and habits for your customers. Even if your products are exactly what they’re looking for, they’ll abandon their carts if they find that your payment methods are inconvenient.
#4. What is your Promotion plan?
Do you prefer a Facebook ad on your timeline when deciding to purchase something? In all probability, the majority of people, while susceptible to these types of ads, dislike seeing them all the time. However, an attractive video or photo can grab a potential customer’s attention and bring them in passively.
If you want to improve your e-commerce cross-border communication plan, then you need to adapt it to your target market. Localized copy is a key factor that convinces your customers to visit your site and purchase. Furthermore, User Interface and User Experiences directly lead customer engagement on your site and are worth optimizing.
For instance, Japanese housewives often to see brochures and ads to compare prices and sales before going to the supermarket. Meanwhile, they’ll also be checking other online content and e-commerce sites before finally making the decision at the most budget-friendly place for dinner. Describing the customer journey to their purchase is good for savvy business owners to get a clear view of what they can offer their customers.
In conclusion, cross border shopping is evolving trend which allows you to increase your sales and profits. Amazon and Alibaba are also incrementally stretching their platforms to meet the demand generated for international goods and brand exports. Embarking on this big ship is an effective method to sell yourself to local buyers, however, it squeezes your profit and brand features. Paving the path with specific local channels is a good way to extend your business, and future profits.