The business to business market has probably the most to gain from using the Internet in international interactions. A potential international client has limited access to information about your organization from alternative sources. A professional online offering can facilitate stronger sales opportunities.
Unfortunately, many firms utilize one website for all of their needs, combining stakeholder objectives and reducing overall coherency. For example, the information and proposition delivered to consumers will be very different to the information required on a day to day basis by intermediaries or channel partners. Being clear on website objectives is one way to overcome this problem and a well planned site can satisfy the needs of different target markets.
New Zealand firms have always had a geographic disadvantage. Compared to our international competitors we are relatively removed from our export markets. A website can help overcome geographic barriers and the Internet can be used in conjunction with email and other communications to supply overseas businesses with in-depth information that they can source at their own pace.
Your website can be customized according to the needs of different international markets; large firms usually make the most of this opportunity for customization. Creating websites with foreign language options and with localized content is one way to present local know how to an overseas market. This does require you to have local know-how if you are going to pull it off. Research is required before embarking on any sort of international adventures using the Internet to ensure that you are truly addressing the needs of your overseas market.
If you are operating in an international business to consumer marketplace, the Internet is extremely competitive. If you are thinking about launching a business with its primary markets abroad make sure that you conduct a diligent competitor analysis.
Knowing international consumers is the key to success. There is a huge amount of publicly available information on different countries consumer internet purchasing behaviors. You would be very surprised how behavior varies from country to country.
Finally, fulfillment becomes increasingly more challenging when targeting overseas markets. Take China for example. You may be able to make all sorts of delivery promises locally but internationally you are often at the mercy of local distribution systems. This is where a local bricks and mortar partner becomes necessary in many cases; and beneficial for local intelligence.
In conclusion, the Internet is a revolution in international Marketing. Get clear on how you are going to use it, research your overseas markets thoroughly and you will be closer to establishing a successful export strategy online.