Entering a new market is a savvy business move, but one that comes with its share of challenges. The prospect of gaining access to a new pool of customers is one that few businesses would pass up. But in order to leverage this opportunity, you will have to modify certain aspects of your business strategy. Customers from China, the US, India, or the Middle East all have different needs, wants, and habits. And it is up to you to find a way to appeal to these individuals in order to accomplish your business goals. To help you accomplish this, we have outlined some of the major challenges you’re likely to encounter, as well as our suggestions on how to solve them.
Different Communication Channels
The dominance of Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and similar services in the West makes it easy to forget that these are not the only channels people use for online communication. In fact, places like China rely on their own, locally developed communication apps such as WeChat and Tencent QQ. If you want to move into one of these foreign markets, you will have to start using their communication platforms of choice. The way foreign consumers use these platforms can also differ from what we’re used to. For instance, in China, it’s much more common to make purchases via instant messaging apps than it is in the West. And the more you know about these habits, the easier time you will have selling to these people.
Another challenge you’ll have to face upon entering a new market is that of appealing to the local culture. Different societies have different cultural values, attitudes, and norms, and if you fail to respect them, you won’t be gaining many new customers. This is a tough challenge to overcome, but there is a silver lining to it as well. Namely, you may discover that some features of the local culture can actually help you utilize a whole range of effective marketing tactics. For instance, some cultures are more sexually permissive than others, which means you can use more explicit forms of marketing. The same principle applies to things like attitudes towards money, nature, personal well-being, and others.
Linguistic difference is a long-standing challenge to business expansion. If you don’t understand the local dialect, you will have issues with creating sales content as well as providing customer support, both of which are necessary for business success. One way to tackle the issue is to use modern digital technologies such as chatbots. Multilingual chatbots can be used to facilitate communication with customers from different linguistic communities around the globe. Such chatbots can automatically determine the language your customers are using, and provide a response in the same language. They can also redirect customers to the appropriate customer service representative for each language.
Different Means of Payment
Another aspect of the challenge lies in the fact that different countries utilize different currencies and payment methods. So for instance, if you’re running an eCommerce storefront that only accepts PayPal and US credit cards, you won’t find much success in regions where these services are not available. In order to solve this challenge, you will have to work with local financial institutions to adjust your payment system with local standards. Adjusting your prices to be in line with the buying power of local customers is also a good way to generate goodwill for your brand, which is essential for running your business abroad in the long-term.
Overcoming the Challenge
Taking your business abroad is a proven growth strategy, especially if you’re operating in an industry niche with little local competition. However, selling on a new market is not without its share of challenges. Your ability to handle these challenges will determine your capacity for growth. So we hope you’ve learned a bit about what these challenges are, and how you should go about solving them.
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By Michael Deane
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.