International trade might sound daunting, but retailers can and should consider cross-border trade to grow their business
A digitally connected, borderless world presents the opportunity for retailers of any size to expand by selling their products to an international audience. It may seem daunting but the results could push your business forward in the right direction. Your next question should be: How do I take advantage of the growth opportunities present in the global marketplace? The answer starts with changing your perspective on exporting.
Consider these four points about growing your business through international trade.
1. Going global isn’t the risky choice; it’s the safe one.
When people bring up risk management, diversification is often discussed. One way to expand your customer portfolio is to access new customers around the world. At FedEx, we see our customers taking advantage of new global opportunities every day. Many small businesses already sell abroad, and in some cases this has enabled them to weather local economic conditions.
Taking your business across borders is likely easier than you think. In fact, if you’ve read this far, you already possess one of the most important tools required for international business; an internet connection. According to PWC, around 73% of sales for multi-channel retailers globally were generated from the retailers’ websites. In fact, eMarketer states almost half the world’s population access the internet monthly, which represents the large audience of potential customers you can reach.
2. Your existing skills will translate internationally better than you think.
Is the thought of doing business in another country unsettling? The barriers you sense might be perception more than reality.
Many businesses thrive when they embrace challenge. It’s likely you have done this already — seeking training or mentoring in unfamiliar areas such as marketing or finance. Entering a new market is no different. You just need to have the right information at hand. Your ability to assess risk, evolve and innovate will help you develop the skills you need to run your international business.
The best place to start is by reaching out to the people who have the answers to your questions. Resources such as Austrade.gov.au can help you along the way.
3. The growing middle class represents opportunity.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the global economy — this is true in Australia just as it is in many developing countries. The growing middle class naturally means more socio-economic power and more opportunities for retailers. Other countries are eager to partner with businesses in Australia and benefit from our spirit of innovation. You can tap into this demand by finding local agents to help you scope out opportunities. There are many private and public sector tools to help you develop an international business plan that can work for you, no matter the size of your company.
4. Gain a competitive edge by staying on top of customs policies.
One of the hardest steps in international export is understanding international market customs and trade regulations. Staying up-to-date on regulations can help ensure that selling internationally is a seamless and problem-free task, while also saving your company time and money.
One way to improve your understanding of customs policies is through third-party logistics providers. Information on the latest updates and information on customs policies and regulations for a number of countries is available on the FedEx website. Additionally, streamlined offerings allow you to submit customs documentation electronically so they can be easily processed.
Unprecedented international opportunities abound for retailers in Australia. People are more eager than ever to explore new business ideas, and the internet and global delivery services continue to create more efficient ways to access international markets. As Australian businesses have done so often in the past, we must seize this opportunity to grow at home by going global.
Kim Garner is the Managing Director of International Operations at FedEx Express Australia and New Zealand. FedEx Express is a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world's largest express transportation company. Learn more at https://www.fedex.com/au/