International Marketing Services LLC: Developing a Global E-Commerce or Web Presence

IMS: International Marketing Services


It is a well known fact that the Internet has leveled the playing field for companies of all sizes to reach customers by reducing the cost of advertising, marketing and selling products and services. The US e-commerce market alone exceeds $150 billion as of 2009 and continues to grow at double digit rates.

Previous methods of growth - opening outlets or catalogue selling - were often slow and expensive. Now, solid products can take off quickly with the right combination of design, software and online marketing strategy. With reasonable budgets, companies and individual of all sizes can still seize opportunities in the kaleidoscope of new niche markets created by online shoppers.

Just as e-commerce as opened local and national markets to any company, so too has it opened international markets to companies with the foresight, patience and willingness to follow best practices to capture those markets. Unlike a typical e-commerce site, an international e-commerce web site strategy should be a cross-functional project to ensure success. The following considerations typically apply:

  1. In what countries / languages can you sell your product profitably?
  2. What countries / languages have customers interested in your product?
  3. What model is preferable direct selling to end users or selling to dealers/distributor?
  4. How much of your web site content should you translate?
  5. At what point does it make sense to tweak your brand to meet local tastes?
  6. How will you ship products?
  7. What types of payment should you accept?
  8. What are the sales taxes and laws governing collection of those taxes?
  9. What regulations govern the international shipment or sale of your product (in either the target country or your home country)?
  10. How will you handle product returns?
  11. Will you offer documentation and support in that language?
  12. What online marketing and advertising opportunities should you utilize to spread the word about the e-commerce web site?
  13. What other marketing strategies (e.g., affiliate programs, blogs, discounts / promotions) are appropriate given the market, local customs and laws?

International Marketing Services' has over 20 years assisting companies answering questions like this, and its subsidiary Polar Design has created successful e-commerce sites since 2000.

Directly or with local partners, we answer these questions in a way that ensures your investment in an international market is successful. Please contact us for a review of your international e-commerce objectives, review of our capabilities and a demonstration of our e-commerce projects.