How to Begin Selling Your Products Internationally
Selling abroad can be a fantastic way to attract new business customers and really expand your brand. While online selling allows international customers to purchase your goods, unless they are lucky enough to discover you in a search engine or through word of mouth, it is likely they won’t know you exist. By selling your goods or designs internationally your chances of discovery significantly increase. A stockist might advertise your brand, for example if you are a jeweler stocking an international gallery, they are likely to do a press release to announce new work from a new exclusive British designer. It can be hard to find trustworthy stockists. When they are based across seas, you lose a lot of control if something goes wrong. There are some things to consider and good techniques you can use to find your feet when selling internationally.
Look to see where competitors stock their work…
If you sell unique products, you can see where your competitors stock their work to find out what sort of shops or outlets they are choosing. If your work is unique enough, you could try the same outlet as you already know they will stock international sellers, and might also find your work suits their shop. You also have the back up that someone else you know is also stocking there. When networking, you can always ask others where they stock their work, or speak to any industry organizations which might have dealings with good stockists which they might suggest for your work. If your goods aren’t unique and are purchased at wholesale by you and sold on, you might find trade shows are a good place in which to find stockists. It can also be a good place for designers looking also. Trade shows pull industry professionals together, the bigger and more well know the trade show, the more likely it will attract some big international stockists. This is a great opportunity to actually meet them face to face and discuss business. Building a relationship is key, and this is a great place to meet others to expand your business.
Make sure your work is purchased outright…
Some businesses run on a sale or return basis. This is most likely if you are selling to galleries. Shops however will purchase stock at wholesale rates and pay for your work upfront. Be wary of sale or return abroad. It is easy for them to disappear and for your work to be stolen. You have very little control being in a different country.You can ask your stockists to sign a drawn up a document which states your terms and conditions for sale, this can be good legal protection for you should something go wrong.
Trial a small amount of stock to being with…
If you are nervous or unsure about your new stockists, it can be wise to try a small selection of work. This way you can test to see how quickly they pay for your goods and how efficiently they run their business. If the worst comes to the worst and your stock is lost or no payment is received, at least it was a small trial batch compared to a big initial launch.
Traveling can be combined with a stockist search. If you are quite nervous about selling abroad and are untrusting, it can be a great way to take a trip to a chosen location and then meet with galleries shops and outlets. You can pre arrange meetings so you can see as many stockists a possible during your trip. It will give you the chance to show your products to the stockist, meet them face to face, and see the premises. There is also a lot to be said for instinct, if you don’t feel something is right, don’t stock there. Selling abroad can be difficult to establish. There are more risks with there being such a distance, and less control. However if you cover yourself, make sure you have done your research and keep track of your stockists, you should begin to develop good relationships with them, and your brand will grow internationally.
Could your small business benefit from international customers? What steps have you taken to get started internationally? Share your small biz diamonds in the comments section below.
Kirsten Hendricks works for whoishostingthis.com. They work with businesses new and old who are looking to establish themselves online. They provide in depth hosting company reviews to help businesses find a good reliable base for their business.
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