For many companies, exporting may result in conquering new markets, more sales, better profits and a greater spread of customers, however a clear strategy makes it much more likely you will succeed. Your export strategy should be based on an assessment of your own position and your reasons for exporting such as boosting turnover and spreading your costs, looking for new markets or wishing to maintain your rate of growth after having built up a strong domestic base and having received foreign enquiries or attracting international visitors to your website.
When an exporting strategy starts with the products or services that you offer, your export strategy will depend on who your customers are. For most companies, their domestic products or services will not be suitable for exportation without significant changes or modifications as every market has its own unique preferences and regulations.
Having knowledge of each target market’s unique characteristics is key for a company wanting to enter such market(s). Doing trade and market research on foreign partners, distributors, buyers and customers will help your company get an idea of what products or services can be sold in different markets. This way, even before the sale is made, the company has time to modify a particular product or service to satisfy the customers’ needs and preferences in the target market.
As an exporter, you should be prepared to spend significant planning time on customers and their needs. There will be different ways to reach your export customers: Your company may sell directly to a customer or you may use the assistance of representatives, such as agents or distributors or combining these two selling techniques. In addition, competitors’ research will give you an idea of the similar products that are already competing in your target market to understand your rivals: their market share, pricing strategies, distribution network, promotional and marketing activities, and customer service.
In addition to the legal and regulatory implications of trading with different countries and regions, exporters also need to look at the customs procedures for their export strategies. For example, some governments may request certain records or certificates related to quality, health and/or manufacturing of the products. Knowing the potential extra costs and procedures in advance will be mandatory to ensure you build competitive pricing strategies in your export plan and prevent you from making costly errors.
Although landed cost is a concern for the importer company, as an exporter you should also know about the landed cost that the importer pays to take the possession of the product in the target market. Knowing these costs in advance, you will have a better understanding of the cost dynamics, therefore defining a more competitive price for your customers in the target market.
Our Export action plan will help you decide where you should focus your efforts, work out your competitive position and decide which products are likely to perform best in international markets. Encompassing the front end of the export process—marketing and sales—as well as the back end of the process, including logistics and compliance. Gaining an understanding of how best to choose markets that offer you scope for growth and profit.
Selling to a country with a very different business culture and consumption habits and set of regulations may not be the best first step into exporting. Before engaging into export, it will be important to determine your company’s rationale for it and also to develop a long-term program and financial objectives that will define intended results. Conducting an export Company Preparedness assessment, defining expected export outcomes and identifying the particular risks you may need to address will be mandatory to a successful internationalisation.