ECommerce opens literally a world of opportunity for your business. If you offer a product or service that customers in different countries want, selling to those countries makes sense. Before you do so, make sure you understand what changes you need to make. Thinking through the following considerations can help you open yourself up and transition smoothly into cross-border transactions.
1. Different Laws and Regulations
Every country has different laws governing sales. This might impact how you advertise, what you sell, or what you can charge customers. It will also direct what information you can collect from customers on transactions, and the steps you must take to protect that information. Until you are ready to operate legally in every country to which you sell, you are not ready to start processing cross-border transactions.
2. Types of Taxes
Taxes are not necessarily limited to sales tax and income tax. Some countries apply a value-added tax, an import tax, a tariff, and many other kinds of taxes that may not apply to domestic sales. When you process cross-border payments, you need to apply these to your pricing or add fees, or you may find yourself losing money with every sale.
3. Cash Flow Might Slow Down
If you are used to your revenue quickly hitting your bottom line, processing international payments might yield some unpleasant surprises. Funds transfers in different countries can take time, and you may be waiting days longer for your money to hit your bank account. Unless you have a cushion built in before you start, this can create some daunting obstacles for you to navigate in running your business.
4. Customer Preferences Shift
Not every country's citizens rely on credit and debit cards to buy online. Customer preferences vary widely across different countries. You need to be ready to accept payments in ways your customers want to make them. Be prepared to do your homework on all the countries in which you want to market, so you are ready to take customer payments from wherever you sell.
5. An Experienced Payments Partner Can Help
Expecting every business owner to become an expert in international laws, regulations, and buying preferences is probably not fair. If you have a product or service to sell across borders, you should work with a payment processing partner who has the experience and ability to help you get there. The right partner will have the software and knowledge to help you avoid common pitfalls and be ready to accept multiple currencies and payment methods.
Doing cross-border business is about more than international appeal. You need the right partner to prepare you and your business to work with your customers as you find them. Your potential is as wide as the world, as long as you are ready to take it on.