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For many owner managers the business dream is far bigger than New Zealand’s fair shores; they need to ‘go global’. Having an ecommerce store is a realistic way of taking your products to the world. 
However, international ecommerce websites require a different focus to those ecommerce websites targeted at local customers. This means when globally focused businesses are planning their website, they need to have different target markets in mind. 
 
They also need to remember that ranking well in search engines is crucial to being found, especially when you are up against more well-known local brands. And then once found, customers should be able to easily navigate the website, and trust in the products. 
 
The following are five ‘must-haves’ for international ecommerce websites:
 
1. Have a dot.com
We aren’t talking about a large German man here. We are referring to one of the most important features an international ecommerce website needs to have: a ‘.com’ domain name. Having ‘.co.nz’ basically identifies a website as a New Zealand business. This is good for local searches, but it may mean a business will struggle to rank well for international customers looking for a product online. Conversely, a ‘.com’ domain effectively tells the internet that a business is an international one, and thus will rank better globally. 
Italy Mask, a Zeald client, is a New Zealand owned website that targets international customers, so ‘www.italymask.com’ is ideal for them.
 
2. Support multi-currency
A great international ecommerce website needs to display multiple currencies. It is important to ensure customers do not leave the website to work out how much the product is actually going to cost them. Having multiple currency options ensures your customers know right from the start how much they will be charged.
Bluelab (www.bluelabassist.com) is an international ecommerce website that sells equipment for measuring pH, conductivity and temperature of a liquid. This website clearly displays a drop-down multi-currency option on the home page; whereas Snapper Rock, who targets US customers, has their currency in $US dollars only.
Multi-currency options also serve to eliminate any confusion or ill feeling your customer may experience when their credit card takes a larger hit than expected. 
 
3. International shipping
This may seem obvious, but international shipping is a must if you have physical products. As well as multi-currency, having varied shipping options also eases the buying process for the customer. Whether you negotiate a lower bulk rate for your shipping fees, factor it into product costs, or have different international shipping options, meeting the needs of customers ensures they come back next time. 
 
Snapper Rock (www.snapperrock.com), a children’s UV swimwear website, has a dropdown menu displaying different countries and different shipping options with prices clearly displayed before you even get to the checkout. Whereas, Bluelab offers free shipping to all customers, regardless of location, if they meet a minimum spend of $40. 
 
4. Build trust
Some smaller international ecommerce websites struggle to show their website is trustworthy, especially when asking the customer to enter payment information. A good option is to have icons on your page from trusted brands like PayPal, Payment Express or Visa. 
Both Snapper Rock and Bluelab have these logos prominently displayed to reassure any concerned customer. Also make sure that your privacy policies and any other legal information are easy to find; ideally it is best to have these on the checkout page as well.
 
Adding product reviews and testimonials can also help increase trustworthiness and credibility for your website. Although all reviews may not be positive, you can respond in a constructive manner addressing any efforts you have made to resolve the issue. Hearing reviews and testimonials from real people, acts to soothe any worries potential clients may have about ordering from your website. Ensure your testimonials answer any possible worries customers could have by asking clients to talk about how your business reassured them. Conversely, any positive reviews will act to further promote your products, website, and business.
A large part of building trust is having support options for your clients (especially with international websites). It is important that your customers feel that they are able to get in touch if they have any questions.  Ensure you have an international contact number or email prominently displayed on your home page, with hours that work for your customers. It’s no good to have a number displayed that, say, a UK customer will struggle to reach you on.
 
5. Ensure you are mobile friendly
People are busy, we all know this. Many of us browse online in our lunch hour, on the bus, or while we are searching for the best price in a store. This means that it is more important than ever to have responsive design as part of your website. 
Responsive design ensures that your website shows up clear and is functional to all users, no matter their device. Not having responsive design as part of your website means you run the risk of consumers giving up on your website, increasing your bounce rate.  
 
Nature Bee’s responsive design ensures clients can navigate their website quickly and easily. By having large icons to take them exactly where they want to go, and contact information displayed clearly, Nature Bee’s clients enjoy a positive buying experience.
The most important thing for any business is that they reach their business goals. Having a well built, good looking ecommerce website that attracts visitors and converts them into customers is a sure-fire way to grow your business.  
 
Article supplied by Zeald. For advice on how you can realise your export business dreams, contact the website experts at Zeald. 
 
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