1. Know your markets
You may have noticed increasing demand for your products and services from groups of tourists or overseas customers. But to justify setting up shop in their home countries, you need to know what’s driving that demand and whether it’s likely to continue.
To find the right opportunities for expansion in other countries:
- Thoroughly research the market for your brand in every country you’re considering expanding into. For example, is there a gap in the market for what you offer, or are there no similar products because of lack of demand? Who will be your main competitors? What trends are affecting demand for your product in this market?
- Identify which customers you need to target and learn about how they engage with their favorite brands.
- Visit each country to make local contacts and gain first-hand insights into how the market can work for your business.
2. Localize your strategy
Once you’ve decided where to expand your brand, the next step is to figure out how to do it. Differences in culture, regulations, languages and currencies can all mean you need to tweak your offering to suit the local market – while ensuring a consistent brand experience for customers worldwide.
To create a good fit for your brand in new markets:
- Work with a local advisor to help you create the best fit for your brand with your target audience.
- Recruit local talent, who are familiar with the culture, to give you a head start in finding the best ways to engage consumers with your brand.
- Consider whether partnering with a local business could help you gain a foothold in the market.
3. Find your ideal location
Careful research is the key to finding the right location for your brand. When you’re not familiar with the local area it’s worth taking time to experience the area for yourself and look at it through users’ eyes.
To find the prime location for your brand:
- Look at the area through users’ eyes: is it easy for workers and customers to reach you?
- If you’re opening a store, explore the area to find how many people walk past at different times of day, and whether they fit your target demographic.
- Think about deliveries and distribution: will it be easy for suppliers to drop off your goods?
- If you’re running home deliveries, check out the local road network and make sure your store or warehouse is within easy reach of your target areas.
4. Make sure your software supports your business needs
You might be expanding to two or three countries now, but how many will you want to reach in the future? Finding the right software to support current and future business needs, in every country, is essential for success.
To choose a software system that supports your business in every country:
- Make sure your system can provide information and product details in the customer’s (and staff’s!) own language, and they can check prices and pay using any currency they choose.
- Make it easy for your staff to work at their best. Choose a unified system that ties everything together in one platform – from financial management, to inventory, to Points of Sale – to ensure smooth, efficient and intuitive workflows and menus.
- Make sure you can meet with local regulatory requirements. For example, if you’re expanding your brand to a fiscal country such as Russia, Romania, Poland and others, you need to make sure your retail equipment complies with that country’s certification standards.
- A centralized system that can be tailored to the needs of each country will make it easy to roll out changes and create reports for the whole business or different geographies or branches. It should also give you reliable reporting so you can see which strategies work best in each location.
5. Go global, engage locallyYou may already have the digital tools to spread the word about your brand to consumers across the world. Mobile apps, the internet and social media provide an excellent way to create global and local communities of customers and deliver personalized experiences in any language.
To engage customers in multiple countries:
- Think about how you can use social media, apps, the web and loyalty programs to create a seamless brand experience for customers across the world. If consumers across the world can engage with your brand you can gain valuable insights on the best places for expansion.
- Create local groups on social media to build an appetite for your products in countries and areas you are thinking of expanding to.
- Localize your social media presence to reflect the languages, currencies and personal preferences of customers in different countries – so they can benefit from local offers, information and events.
- Use customers’ data (with their permission) from social media and loyalty apps to provide personalized offers that reflect their preferences and shopping habits.
Expanding your brand into multiple countries is an exciting challenge. By researching each new market thoroughly, working to meet local expectations and putting a system in place to support the languages, currencies and regulations of different countries, you can build a firm foundation for global success.