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5 Tips for Taking Home Businesses to the Retail Worldwide

5 Tips for Taking Home Businesses to the Retail Worldwide

    Thanks to the explosion in popularity of shopping at online marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, adflyer, Folksy and others, small retailers and home businesses are now able to sell their goods to customers around the world.

    If you’ve got a home business selling anything from handmade jewelry or vintage clothes to pet accessories, chances are you’ve already dabbled with an online store at the major English language online marketplaces like eBay. But have you considered expanding beyond English?

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    There are nearly two billion people online worldwide, but only around 34 million are native English speakers – and the vast majority of online shoppers require information in their native language before making a purchase. That means if you’re only selling online in English, you’re reaching less than 2% of your potential online audience!

    Here’s how you can get a greater slice of those international markets…

    1) Look into foreign online shopping platforms

    eBay is undoubtedly the world’s biggest online marketplace for small retailers, with 38 localized versions for all the main European and Asian ecommerce countries, and it makes a great starting place for international versions of your online store.

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    However, there are also other popular online marketplaces in different countries, which are worth looking into. Taobao is China’s largest online marketplace, generating an annual turnover of more than $80 billion USD. It operates similar to eBay, and there’s also a thriving economy of Chinese consultants helping foreign businesses to sell via Taobao.

    Likewise, PriceMinister is the most popular online marketplace in many European countries, and MercadoLibre has established itself as the ‘eBay of Latin America’. It’s worth doing a little online research before entering a foreign market to find out where people are shopping.

    2) Get your sales pitch properly translated

    The key difference with foreign online marketplaces, of course, is language – eBay España is in Spanish, eBay Portugal is in Portuguese, etc. This means that you’ll need to get your shop and product descriptions translated into these languages by a professional.

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    Online machine translation programs ought to be sufficient to understand incoming orders, or to create your profile in the first place, but they’re not accurate enough to be trusted for your sales pitch – incorrect terminology or bad spelling and grammar will destroy a potential client’s view of your trustworthiness.

    3) Set your prices for the local market

    Before you jump in with an online store for Taobao or MercadoLibre, though, it’s worth checking what price you can charge for your goods in the local economy, and whether that will present enough of a margin to make it profitable.

    One of the major barriers to shoppers around the world buying from foreign stores is the comparatively high prices, created either by high exchange rates or differing local product values. For instance, the current strength of the Australian dollar means that it’s often cheaper for Australian shoppers to purchase goods from foreign online shopping sites and pay for the shipping than it is for them to buy locally. Conversely, small Australian retailers are finding it hard to sell overseas without dramatically reducing their prices.

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    By looking at the exchange rates and the prices set by your competitors in foreign markets, you’ll get a good idea for potential profit margins. Even if the profit margin is small, you may find over time that the sheer quantity of goods sold makes up for the lower prices – or you may gradually whittle your international efforts down to just a few foreign stores.

    4) Be aware of foreign payment systems

    The second major barrier for online shoppers is payment systems – if you only accept credit or debit card payments, but your customers in China don’t use credit cards and prefer to pay by Alipay, then you’re going to see a lot of abandoned shopping carts. Before launching your online store, it’s worth doing some online research, or purchasing market reports from consultancies like Econsultancy or yStats, to figure out which payment systems you’ll need to offer for each country.

    5) Research postage and shipping carefully

    The last step to ensuring profitability and practicality is making sure that you can actually ship your goods to the foreign countries in question, and at a cost which won’t price your goods out of reach for the locals. How reliable is the local postal service? What postage options can you offer to make your products trustworthy and attractive for local consumers? Indeed, would it be cheaper to ship your goods en masse to the country in question and employ a local agent to post purchased items locally?

    These are all questions you need to consider before going multilingual across foreign online marketplaces – but the potential for new sales vastly outweighs the hassles of making your home business international.

    Source: Common Sense Advisory

    More by this author

    Small Business Ideas for Going International 5 Tips for Taking Home Businesses to the Retail Worldwide 5 Strategies for Marketing Your Foreign Language Ecommerce Website

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    Last Updated on June 26, 2020

    25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

    25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

    “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

    If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

    You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

    Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

    As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

    And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

    But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

    • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
      • food
      • rent/mortgage
      • cell phone
      • insurance
      • socializing/entertainment
      • transportation
      • hygiene products
      • household bills
    • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
      • travel
      • clothing
      • medication (*depends)
      • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
      • gifts

    Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

    Save Money on Food

    1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

    Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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    Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

    2. Buy the store-brand version

    Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

    3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

    Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

    4. Have group dinners

    If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

    Save Money in Transport

    5. Get a bicycle

    Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

    6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

    Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

    7. Find the cheapest gas

    Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

    Save Money in General Shopping

    8. Shop online

    Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

    9. Sell your old stuff

    Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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    Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

    10. Bulk buying stores

    For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

    Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

    11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

    You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

    12. Generic brand medication

    More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

    13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

    It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

    Cut Down on Household Expenses

    14. Printing

    Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

    e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

    Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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    15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

    A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

    16. Shop around for insurance

    Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

    Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

    17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

    If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

    18. Don’t get a TV

    Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

    19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

    My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

    Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

    20. Have house parties

    Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

    For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

    21. Open festivals, meetups and events

    It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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    22. Volunteer

    If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

    23. Housesit

    There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

    Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

    24. DIY beauty

    French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

    25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

    If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

    Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

    Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

    • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
    • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
    • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
    • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
    • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
    • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
    • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

    Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

    What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

    Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

    More Tips for Personal Finance Management

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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