You’re excited about taking your business international—but a little anxious, too. Here’s how to take the stress out of going global.
In partnership with Alibaba
By Rieva Lesonsky
When you start selling globally, there’s so much to think about: shipping and customs policies, how to accept payments from foreign customers, how to market your business overseas and more. Where do you start?
You can take a lot of the stress out of going global by selling your products online. Why would you travel overseas to meet prospects or partners, or set up an office in another country, when you can sell more easily, quickly and efficiently via e-commerce? Launching a website to sell to international customers, or modifying your existing website to do so, is one option—but it’s not the only way. Developing your own website for international sales can be time-consuming and costly. Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not sell your products on an existing e-commerce marketing platform that has an international presence?
U.S. businesses have long used Alibaba.com to source products from around the world. Now, Alibaba.com is offering an enhanced program that allows U.S. small and midsized businesses to sell on the marketplace, too.
Advantages of E-Commerce Marketplaces
For novice global sellers, there are several advantages to selling on an existing marketplace.
- Simple setup: Instead of designing your own website, you can use the e-commerce marketplace’s proven methods to quickly set up an online storefront. You don’t need any coding experience to set up an online storefront at Alibaba.com with product photos, videos, certifications and more. Use bulk upload functionality to quickly get your entire catalog online so you can start selling right away.
- Trust: New customers will feel comfortable doing business with you because they trust the marketplace. This helps you make sales faster. Originally created to connect suppliers in China with overseas buyers, Alibaba.com has 20 years of experience in B2B e-commerce sales, making it one of the most trusted names in international trade.
- Exposure: You get automatic exposure to millions of prospects who visit the e-commerce platform. This is much easier than having to market and promote your own website to build awareness internationally. For example, Alibaba.com has more than 10 million active small and medium-sized business buyers from over 190 countries and regions.
- International tools: You can take advantage of built-in tools to help with some of the most challenging aspects of international sales, such as calculating shipping rates, converting prices into international currency, and determining taxes and other fees. On Alibaba.com, sellers can accept online payments, set flexible pricing or negotiate with customers directly. Alibaba.com’s Message Center function offers real-time translation for clear communication.
- Marketing tools: Most e-commerce marketplaces provide additional marketing tools to help grow your business. Alibaba.com’s B2B sellers get an easy-to-use interface for building and managing a digital store, CRM and communications tools for customer relationship management, and digital marketing tools to target prospects. You can get even more exposure by participating in Alibaba.com sales, promotions and product showcases to highlight your business.
- Education and assistance: E-commerce marketplaces offer sellers a wide range of educational tools to boost their success. Alibaba.com has plenty of tutorials, articles and tips to help you maximize the platform. You can also get in-person guidance at Alibaba.com’s Build Up events, a nationwide network of workshops to help you learn how to sell on the platform. Alibaba.com’s US-based Customer Success Team is also just a phone call away to help answer any questions you have, or help troubleshoot as you set up and operate your online storefront on Alibaba.com.
- Business model. On most marketplaces, the more you sell, the more you pay in commission. Alibaba.com is using a different business model—charging an annual membership fee rather than a commission on sales, which means you get to keep more of the money you make.
Sell on Alibaba.com for Less During Super September
On Alibaba.com, you’ll find businesses from around the U.S. and the world searching for products in over 40 different categories, including Agriculture, Food & Beverage, Beauty & Personal Care, Electrical, Health & Medical, Sports & Entertainment, Machinery, Consumer Electronics, Apparel and Home & Garden. Many of these companies are from the U.S., making Alibaba.com a great B2B platform even if you don’t yet want to expand internationally.
During “Super September,” B2B sellers who sign up will get a discount on membership fees. They’ll also receive free product showcases and ad credits to help increase their web traffic and sales. Bonus: If you mention this article, you’ll get up to $500 in online advertising credits to spend on promoting your products.