Internationalization and Web: is the world really borderless?
When we think to market expansion, our mind goes immediately to the web.
Internet was conceived to cancel the distance and borders between the users, but something went probably wrong. The barriers have been broken down only partially, as culture and security are still a big gap among the users.
By the way, internet represents one of the faster and cheaper methods to expand your market abroad. Let’s see pros and cons.
Internationalization and web: good and bad
As mentioned, Internet is cheap. That’s not bad. You can decide if your research will be active or passive and how much efforts and resources you want to put in it. Costs are always under control.
Active search is immediate (fast) and can be made through the traditional Google or any other search engine, through Expo Database, Trade Association, or B2B Platforms. This is good, because you will get hundreds of names and website in short time. But then, you have to contact them. This is the sour part… Statistically, only 12% of commercial emails is opened by the addressee. Opening, it doesn’t mean it has been read… In Asia, this percentage drops drastically (around 5%) due to the adversity Asian people have toward written messages. Then, you have to hope for an answer. Let’s say optimistically that 2% of contacts receive an answer. At the second email, you’ll probably loose the attention (due to cultural barrier…) of your counterpart reducing the success to less than 1%. And then, you have to start the negotiation.
Still convinced it is fast and cheap?
Passive search is medium-long term. You can find contacts (for example customers, distributors, suppliers) by letting them contact you.
For this purpose you can use advertising on B2B platforms or optimizing your institutional website with SEO. Summarizing, you bet on some keywords and wait. You may receive some relevant contact, it is true. But most of contact requests will be from competitors or people trying to sell to you, without any filter. This will definitely dry your energy and your enthusiasm. Maybe this is one reason why the percentage of email opening is so low…
What happens after you have a contact
After thousand of emails, you will have to evaluate your contact; and he will do the same with you. Hence, the importance of a perfect communication, to make your counterpart understand that you are exactly the company he was looking for; a miscommunication during this phase can resolve in a failure. Evaluating your candidate means to measure his size, expertise, his goals and values, his financial stability, sales competences and management skills.
How can you do it by remote? How can he do it on his side? No way, maybe is the time to take a flight and have a business trip, always keeping in mind that Due Diligence can’t be done autonomously unless you have deep competence in the sector and knowledge of the language in the territory. Summarizing, you need an attorney or a Trade Organization to help you.
You need a Vision. And a filter.
Internet is a good tool for trading. If you want to sell (or buy) something, you can find lot of contacts. Just be prudent and verify the company you are dealing with, since scammers represent around 90% of the market on B2B platform and a relevant percentage in the web. You can find a curious article here about the risk of trading: READ THE ARTICLE
For a sound business expansion plan, internet is just a tool, that must be used in synergy with all the others we mentioned in past articles. In any case a business trip is necessary, but it becomes a high-risk investment if not properly prepared with a company screening and due diligence performed by a professional local company.
Just as example, let me remind one of our business case. In order to support our partner that was searching for a distributors, we had to screen 80 companies (found through internet search), call them, send product info, receive their feedback. The entire job has been done in local language. The result was 4 companies selected. All of them have been visited after a financial check and all said they want to distribute the product; the Manufacturer decided for his best option.
How long would it take this job from overseas?
Let’s not dance around the obvious: without an on-site contact who can validate your choices, the Internet risks being just a huge job without the right fruits.
OUR JOURNEY ENDS HERE. But a new one is starting.
We are at the end of our journey in “opening new markets“. As we have seen all the channels so far described are usable; the best solution would be to use them all. Internet, business trip, local trade agencies, services of consultants and lawyers, attending fairs to consolidate the relationship and promote the product… What we are not considering is that for the Asian market they are obsolete and represent a very high cost and risk. Last but not least, communication, an often underestimated factor, represents a wall against which many of the potentially successful business projects stop.
What if we told you that you can do everything with a revolutionary business model based on speed, cost, and security? We’ll talk about it in the next email.
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