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Expanding internationally doesn’t have to be terrifying

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The idea of taking an online retail operation and expanding it internationally is both exhilarating and daunting.

On the one hand, overseas markets represent a fantastic selling opportunity, especially for ecommerce retailers who have done well in the United States and see their opportunities for continued domestic expansion narrowing. On the other hand, foreign markets represent a mystery of different currencies, customs, languages, consumer preferences and on and on.

But ShipStation’s Cody DeArmond says the world doesn’t have to be a scary place. I met up with the director of sales for the shipping software and solutions company at IRCE 2018, where he offered his take on tackling global markets in the video interview below.

Maybe it’s no surprise that DeArmond talks about automation as a big piece of successfully moving into international markets. Online merchants have steadily embraced automation, in the form of artificial intelligence and machine learning, to make the most of their marketing, merchandising, order management, fraud management, fulfillment and customer support.

Why not turn to automation to take the stress and confusion out of shipping orders internationally? Smart retailers are closely looking at every step of their operations through the lens of automation to see where they can apply it not only to improve efficiency and economy, but to provide a better customer experience for the shoppers they want to attract and keep.

But you’ll note that DeArmond didn’t leave the human out of the equation. Do your homework, he said. Always wise advice. There are many factors to consider when contemplating international expansion and not all of them are the same for all retailers.

The cliches about the world becoming smaller are true and much of that shrinkage has to do with technical advances that have vastly improved transportation, communication and the ability to understand consumers wherever they are.

In a smaller world, the pressure to go global is not going to subside. The best bet then, for online merchants, is to get past the idea that international expansion is daunting and focus instead on the exciting opportunities that selling into a new market will bring.

Photo by iStock

Contact Mike Cassidy at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.



Mike Cassidy

Mike Cassidy

Mike is the head of storytelling at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at [email protected].