If you’ve been successfully selling online for a while you’re going to want to start looking at International eCommerce opportunities. It may feel daunting at first trying to make the move away from the familiarity of selling in the domestic market but the rewards if you get it right will be massive.
Selling into many countries will bring up new business issues that will all potentially be incurring additional costs. It will require new training and new procedures, over coming these issues whilst being able to make a profit on your sales is crucial and requires planning.
Moving our Magento clients to International eCommerce retailers.
Completing work across the following stages;
- Opening up the checkout order process to international customers and shipping addresses
- Additional web stores for market targeted content and currencies.
- One client has 9 websites all managed from a single admin with and bespoke URLs
- Fully translated content
- Local agents for management and shipping
Depending on the size of a company some of these steps may not be feasible, and you may be better off investing in the markets you can serve, find new opportunities where possible without over stretching your resources.
As Magento has great Multi-store capability, some of these tasks can be implemented without an entire development team.
But there are limitations to the default Magento implementation that are worth noting, but with good planning these can be overcome or a suitable work around found.
Targeting local markets with customised content in Magento.
What will result in good conversion rates in some markets won’t in others, the importance of good localised content should be taken into account and getting it right will be a good use of resources. Getting localised content right isn’t easy and getting local assistance can really help. Magento provides a good level of fine granularity for Access control so out of the box you’re able to define roles that can securely perform specific tasks such as manage product, category or CMS page content.
Giving admin access to your store for an administrator in another country is not such a risk if you define their roles correctly, to only access CMS pages or product content as needed. There are two popular 3rd party extensions for additional features, we prefer the Amasty Advanced permissions extension that have reliably provided store restricted access for international order processors, content editors and Developers Amasty Advanced permissions extension
We know first hand how complicated translations can become, from dealing with multiple translators, encoding issues and trying to version control multiple spreadsheets. After doing a number of stores like this we’re very pleased to find Stalker translations have developed a Magento plugin which allows products, cms, categories and other attributes to be pushed directly to their platform for translations. Once you’ve confirmed your entities that need translating you’ll get a quote directly into your store, once the quote is confirmed they’ll complete the translations and ready to import directly into Magento with a single click. Check out Stalker here https://www.strakertranslations.co.uk/
Flexible Pricing for your International eCommerce
being flexible with your product prices is important. Across countries the price of your goods will vary, be careful to retain the ability of updating all prices easily. Once you get into having multiple currencies in Magento then you’ll need to consider how the products prices will be determined and kept up to date.
Choosing a fixed prices or constantly updating based on the latest conversion rates will have a big impact on this, the price of your goods and the currency of each market all play a part and should be looked at in detail.
How Magento helps with International Pricing;
- The ability to specify a currency per website and store.
- Web service integration for live Currency conversion rates
- Different product prices per website (not web-store)
- Support for Multiple currency payment gateways
What needs to be fixed with an extension or custom coding;
- Setting a price per store
- Setting a price per currency
- Discount per visitor country, region
- Override automatic conversion prices to round
We’ve used the following extension, from experience we know this is a complex extension and has required modification and debugging to a complex level. Don’t rely on their support as after purchase you’ll find yourself having to resolve issues yourself. Be sure you read the features list and FAQ carefully. Install and test on a development site fully before purchase. Apart from that it’s a great extension that helped fix a complex issue.
In Part 2 we’ll be looking at the following tasks for International eCommerce.
– Payment gateways
Due to legal and other local situations not all Payment methods are accepted world wide. Ensuring that you meet all local Tax and sales regulations is important and shouldn’t be overlooked when trying to enter International eCommerce.
Getting a good shipping quote to the customer is as important as most of the decisions you make about the look and functionality of the website. Over charge and you could lose out of a sale, under charge and it could cost you to send the item. Shipping extensions for Magento are mature and can give you a customised shipping system that can be tailored to meet your needs.
Local developers can help keep things moving and can assist making a site suitable for the local market. But this introduces it’s own issues and require a full set of tools to effectively manage this.
– Hosting and technical infrastructure
Having a great user experience for all users will help you find success, just entering a market is not enough if you’re proving a poor eCommerce experience to the user. Even thought they’re 1000’s of miles away they still require a fast loading responsive site, throw poor internet connections and low capacity devices then you should really consider who your new customer are.
– Magento store setup
Knowing when to use one of the different store and config scopes can be difficult. Knowing what configuration options can be set at which scope is important when you’re deciding if your new stores shall be setup in one of the sometimes confusing store scopes.