The Essential Tools & Strategies for Increasing Your International Market Presence -- With Hendrik Laubscher
November 25, 2015 80 min read
The International market is often forgotten for most American e-commerce sellers. The idea of having products shipped to Europe scares most sellers due to shipping costs. Hendrik Laubscher advises against this hesitance and has come on our show to discuss alternative tools and marketplaces for efficient international selling.
In the Tenth episode of Skubana’s E-Commerce Mastery Series where we invite experts of their respected fields to share their best practices for success, our host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz of InspiredInsider.com interviews Hendrik Laubscher of Electric Thoughts in a Digital Era and PriceCheck.
Some essential lessons include:
- Identifying who you are selling to and your development strategy for your business
- The most important metrics to track for your business
- New, up and coming markets to explore and expand your business internationally
- Essential software to research into competitors and growing markets and what to look for
- Strategies to selling and expanding internationally such as South America and the U.K.
Raw Transcript: Hendrik Laubscher of Electric Thoughts in a Digital Era
"So, as I said, my wise friend in Seattle made the point, and that is, he said, and I quote verbatim, "I ask merchants before I even start talking to them, do you know your current year to date cash flow position? Can you answer that for me?" And his words to me was 95% of the merchants are not able to answer that. And that, for me, is an issue, because things cost money, number one. Number two, running a business in today's day and age is not like you were doing it in the '80s when I was thought between my parents. The reality is, the thing is business now is competitive. As I mentioned to you - previous show - that the competitors these days are no longer your neighbor next door, or the guy across the street. It's now somebody in Lagos. It could be me sitting in Cape Town. It could be friends of mine in California. It could be entrepreneurs in São Paulo in Brazil. So you have to think from day one very strategically about funding and how you use that money. The funding I'm referring to is your own cash. Are you willing to max out credit cards in order to have a sustainable business? That is the question that I often come back to, and generally most people, especially in South Africa, are saying, "Mmmh, yeah. I'm not going to do that." And that's when you inherently you realize that this specific merchant is not going to be around in 18 months' time." (00:18:19)
"The metrics that really matter is, number one, is how many visitors come to your website? Number two, how many of those - of those visitors - return? Two. Three, how many of those returning customers of buying on a repeated nature? Those three metrics together will give you an idea of number one, "My site is well designed." Number two, it will give you an idea as to you are doing the right strategy in terms of getting people to your website. And lastly, it will also ensure that you don't need to spend an arm, a leg, and half a family on investment money. Because getting people to your site means that you're going to have to buy Google Ads from AdWords, or from Google which is called AdWords, or you're going to need to be creative in doing partnerships with other business. The point that I'm trying to make is that you need to be on top of the data that is in your Google Analytics, number one. But I think also you need to be very clear as to what are your own internal metrics, in terms of "How much money have I sold today?" and "How much money do I need to sell in a month, to number one, break even and number two, to actually be comfortable?" That, to me, is the most important metrics." (00:20:41)
"If people phone you or they email you, please, please, please, please, I beg all the owners of e-commerce businesses listening, please make an attempt to answer that email inside 12 hours. I understand that you are busy. I understand that you have a million things going on. But if you are unsure about things, I recently went through this with a purchase in Asia. I couldn't speak the language. I was phoning and I was emailing and I wasn't getting a reply to the point where I actually opened a window, I did a Google Translate of it, I put it into an email and then magically suddenly, my issue was resolved. It's the same with phone calls. If I phone you because I want to know about the special that is running on your front page, please make sure that your staff know about it, number one, and number two, they can actually tell me what is the benefit of having it. The thing is, I know this sounds really elementary and simplistic, but these are the things that the really good companies, they do it by default. It's routine." (00:29:30)
"Right. At the moment, the one that I know is a huge sticking point, and I know U.S sellers have mixed emotions about it, but I think...I'm very strongly of opinion that Mercado Libre in Latin America, which basically will allow merchants - U.S. sellers - to sell in Brazil and Mexico, is definitely worth a look. The thing that makes Mercado Libre such a monster is that they have their own logistics business. They have their own payments process. So, if you get into the business and you start making a lot of money, you will become a very large part of their business. Where else should U.S. merchants be looking? I'd also say the Middle East. Middle East at the moment is seeing rapid expansion. The business that I'd have a look at first is called Jado Pado, J-A-D-O P-A-D-O. And then the other one is also that's interesting is Souq, but Souq doesn't allow international merchants yet." (01:05:11)
We hope these real insights from a real seller can help your e-commerce business grow and succeed, especially on the international market. Stay tuned - this will be an ongoing weekly series featuring a variety of e-commerce experts looking to provide you with hard-won knowledge free of charge.
Checkout out our previous E-Commerce Mastery Series episode featuring Farbod Deylamian and Kyle Lewis of Sriracha2Go as they discuss their start up and the business model that earned them Mark Cuban's investment.
Work Smart. Sell More.
Written By Chad Rubin