Internationalization is not localization

A common mistake of a significant proportion of those who think creating an online sales platform is that internationalization is merely the translation of the product description for different languages ​​and activate the platform translation.

Nothing could be further from the truth.


And with truth comes consequences. Not selling products/services.

Selling online to international markets requires more analysis and actions than just translation. The same, or more, services you made available to your current customers, should be available to international customer also.

Remember that technology adoption is not the same for all countries. Just because a certain payment service is the most used in your country, that does not mean it is the most used worldwide. Most countries have specific payment services to server their needs.

That’s way adopting a single payment service to serve your customers worldwide is a really bad idea. Even the most common and well established payment gateways don’t have the same market penetration they might have in your country.

The first option is to identify what payment is widely used and accepted in the new country you want to sell. Try to implement it. It’s not going to be easy every time. Some countries might require you to get an enterprise VAT ID.

While the shipping option is fairly simple, because the customer only has to collect the package, you should check the most used shipping carrier for that specific carrier. Some carriers might not do a second delivery attempt. And that can result in more work for you and less satisfaction to your customer.

Support. Not everyone speaks English. They may understand, because they watch a lot of movies or listen to a lot of songs, but having a phone conversation using terms they are not used to speak can be a very tricky situation. If you can’t provide phone support in their native language, make an effort to provide email support.

Other concern when entering a new market must be the law! The product you are trying to sell might need special permissions or is sale might be forbidden. Pay special attention to alcohol, fire arms, Tabaco, hunt, fireworks, among others.

Contact the authorities in the country you are trying to sell to about these rules.

If you are just starting and the international experience you have is not, by all means, great, try to establish a local partnership. They can give very reliable information and having a local company do the import might be a great advantage for your business. Furthermore, this kind of partnerships can be crucial regarding marketing and local cultural events.