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Why All Retailers Should Sell Overseas

By FedEx | First published: May 14, 2018    Updated: June 12, 2020

It’s no longer a question of if, but how businesses should take advantage of the growth opportunities in the global marketplace. We explore 4 important reasons why.

A digitally connected, borderless world means retailers of any size can now expand by selling their products to an international audience. If you’re still only selling domestically, it may seem daunting at first. But the results could push your business forward dramatically, bringing you closer to customer bases you never thought accessible.

So exactly how can retailers take immediate advantage of the growth opportunities in international markets? Start by changing your perspective on import and export. And by international think Asia Pacific and beyond. We’ve laid out the 4 most compelling reasons to start growing your business through international trade.

1. Going global isn’t the risky choice; it’s the safe one.

Dependency on one market or one region carries more risk than we realize.

When it comes to risk management, diversification is important. Relying on one key customer or revenue stream makes bad business sense.

Dependency on one market or one region carries more risk than we realize.

One way to expand your customer portfolio is to access new customers around the world. At FedEx, we aid our customers in taking advantage of new global opportunities every day.

Many small businesses already sell abroad, and in some cases this has enabled them to overcome unfavorable local economic conditions. Taking your business across borders is easier than you think. If you’ve read this far, you already possess one of the most important tools required for international trade: an internet connection. In Asia Pacific, 60% of young entrepreneurs seek an international customer base in the next decade. Global e-retailers are currently growing 1.3 times more quickly than single-country sites.
Dependency on one market or one region carries more risk than we realize.

2. Your existing skills will translate internationally better than you think

Is the thought of doing business in another country unsettling or overwhelming? The barriers you sense might be your own misguided perception more than reality.

Many businesses thrive when they embrace challenge. It’s likely you have done this already. Running your own business – potentially starting from scratch – is a huge challenge. If you’ve already put yourself out of your comfort zone before, you can do it again. 

Entering a new market is no different. You just need to have the right information to 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 people who have the answers to your questions. Resources and assistance from government trade departments or trade associations can help you along the way. Talk to your peers too. Reach out to unlikely resources. Customer helplines of international shippers can provide excellent advice on taking first steps to understanding international shipping.

3. The growing middle class is your open door

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the global economy — this is true in many developing countries. An ascending middle class naturally means more socio-economic power and more opportunities for retailers. Businesses in other markets are eager to partner with small businesses and benefit from their spirit of innovation. You can tap into this demand by finding local agents to help you scope out opportunities.

What’s more: the developing nations in Asia are making their presence felt. GDP growth for countries such as India, the Philippines and Vietnam outstrips the rest of the region at 6-7% annually.  Asia’s middle class is growing the fastest: with the continent set to contribute to almost 90% of new entrants to the global middle class in the next decade, with China and India leading the field. By then, some estimates suggest Asian-Pacific (APAC) countries will have seen a growth in their middle-classes by over 500% in the 20 years up to 2030. In appears the ‘Asia Century’ is well and truly in swing.

4. Get a handle on local and regional customs policies

One of the hardest steps to international export is navigating local market customs and trade regulations. Let’s be honest: staying up-to-date on regulations is problematic.  But regulations are an essential requirement to selling internationally. There are countless benefits in terms of cost and time to your business if you get these right the first time!

But you don’t need to become an overnight scholar. You can easily seek counsel from third-party logistics providers. As a leading expert – we’ve been shipping internationally for almost half a century! – we can help. Information on the latest customs policies and regulations for a number of countries is available on the FedEx Express website. Additionally, streamlined offerings, like FedEx® Electric Trade Documents, allow you to submit customs documentation electronically so they can be easily processed.

Today the possibilities for Asia Pacific SMES in overseas markets are endless. New ideas are more welcome than they ever were before. With the unstoppable e-commerce market and global delivery services who are creating instant access to international audiences, it’s easier than ever to dive into that market you’ve always wanted to sell to.

Seize the day!
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