Tips on how to expand your B2B e-commerce globally

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The global B2B industry continues to grow, and it offers all kinds of opportunities for many companies that feel limited within their own country. Expanding internationally can come with some difficulties: currency changes can cause cash flow problems, cultural differences can make marketing complex, and the shipping of goods can get expensive.  

However, these aspects shouldn’t hold your company back from the opportunity of going global. There are some ways to boost your international e-commerce strategies for more success. Let’s examine them in this article! 

The first steps to international e-commerce 

While some businesses are launching web shops in countries where they already have a physical presence to support existing customers, others plan to launch web shops in entirely new regions to reach new, potential customers.  

Even though an international expansion can be attractive, many B2B sellers find it overwhelming because determining customers' demands and interests in other countries can be a time-consuming process. 

  • If you notice international visitors on your website, you may want to examine their regions of origin and consider those markets as starting points.  
  • Choosing a country nearby your first international market will help you get started on the right foot.  
  • Cooperate with channel partners and wholesale distributors. They will help you enter foreign markets and reach new customers based on their well-established networks. 

After identifying your new markets, expanding your website in those markets’ correct languages is next. Doing so improves customer trust and drives significant increases in retention and engagement (see infra).

Ensure you access expert insights as you plan ahead and consider the recommendations and tips of those who have already accomplished their global expansion goals. 

Make your website multilingual 

Interacting with your international customers in their chosen language is one of the best ways to build trust and improve your professional relationship. Your customers are more likely to engage and place an order when your website is in their first language.  

Website localization often begins with translation, but it stretches far beyond translating. Localization involves adjusting every aspect of your website to meet your target audience's preferences. You want them to feel like your web shop was designed with their culture, requirements, and language in mind. 

Implement ERP-systems 

When your e-commerce platform operates together with your ERP system, e-commerce becomes very manageable. All your customer data, order data, product information, prices, discounts, and stock levels can be saved in one central database—no more complex data synchronization.    

Data synchronization creates unnecessary effort and costs because you enter the same information in multiple places. Furthermore, it is expensive to maintain. Especially when your business has taken the step to go global, ERP integration is necessary as it allows you to adapt data both locally and globally.  

In addition, an ERP system can help you translate currencies across national borders, while data can be presented to users in their local currency. What applies to currencies applies equally to languages in your web shop. An office in America can select the display language as English, while a production facility in Spain can display it in Spanish. 

With an ERP system, you can make local adjustments so that everyone can operate in the way they prefer.   

Adjust the payment options 

Different countries prefer to use different payment methods. In the United States, consumers prefer credit cards, while other countries prefer digital wallets like PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. For instance, Chinese customers prefer to use AliPay, whereas some European and North American customers may prefer to use Stripe or Klarna.  

Several e-commerce platforms like Shopify already integrate international payment options. The more payment options you accept, the easier it is for your customers to convert. 

Offer 24/7 customer support 

It can be difficult for international consumers to reach a company during business hours with different time zones. 

There are a few ways e-commerce businesses offer 24/7 customer service. Some decide to set up a chatbot. Others hire customer service representatives in shifts that expand outside of the traditional business hours. Others outsource their customer service completely to firms that specialize in 24/7 customer support.  

Today's world is more connected than ever, which means that companies can access international opportunities more than ever before. 

Expanding your B2B e-commerce globally doesn’t have to be complicated, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. You’ll need to have a perfectly translated website adapted to the local customers you’re targeting, and don't forget to adjust payment options and customer care either. 

Are you considering going global with your web shop? Or do you have any questions? Do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to advise you.