|Lesson 8|| Global e-commerce |
|Objective || Identify challenges associated with doing business globally on the Internet.|
Global e-commerce Business
The global nature of the Web means that every company doing business over the Internet is an international company by default.
Businesses must decide if and how much they want to encourage international sales, because there are many issues to consider that will impact the operations of the site.
Doing business globally requires special attention to financial transactions, delivery logistics, customer service, customs regulations,
and taxation, as well as special marketing concerns.
A Web site designer should give special consideration to how marketing for a global audience impacts site content.
The SlideShow below describes global marketing issues to take into account.
- While it is impossible to design one website that accommodates every global culture, designers should be sensitive to local customers
- Consider how you use language. For example, some words, phrases, and idioms may be hard for non-native speakers to understand.
- Demographics entail knowing your audience's age range and the technologies they are using.
- Attitudes about money are often cultural. For example, some cultures prefer cash over credit cards.
- If your web site will be translated, remember that some languages requires more space.
- Color has different connotations in different countries.
- Symbols and metaphors may have different meanings depending on the country.
Global - Marketing Issues
Currency rates and payments
Exchange rates can vary widely. In addition, rates at the time of a return may be different from those at the time of the sale.
Therefore, building a currency hedge against unfavorable exchange rates into international prices is a good practice.
Though no governing international body handles fraudulent payments, credit card companies offer various levels of protection.
Shipping and handling
There are many services and fees involved with transporting goods worldwide, so it's a good idea to use an experienced third-party provider such as Federal Express or UPS. Additionally, shipping of returns from customers is unreliable in some parts of the world. Have a clear return policy posted on your Web site that states your policy regarding currency exchange rates at the time of return vs. time of purchase.
Import/export regulations and tax regulations are complex and subject to change. In addition, consumer protection and tax laws vary from country to country. Avoid problems by keeping yourself updated about regulations. Research and get help from the countries in which you conduct business.
Customer service needs to be offered in multiple languages and multiple time zones. Provide information on the Web site about shipping, security, customer service, returns, refunds, contacts for questions, access to detailed information on the company and its products, and a local telephone number for inquiries. The next lesson concludes this module.