Why You Need Local Support When Going Global

5 Mins read

Imagine a marketplace with billions of consumers, each browsing around and potentially stumbling upon your products.

They love what they see. They buy it. Your profit grows.

Now, what if this marketplace already exists?

According to Statista, the Internet is home to over 4.1 billion[1] active users to whom you can make your brand known. As boundaries blur and opportunities become abound, it is clear that global is the way to go.

Yet, with a new market comes new challenges. One key difference between selling in Malaysia and overseas is the people’s culture, which affects what they like and how they shop.

Before you decide to venture into a new country, you first need to understand your customer. To get you started, here are some insights on the buying behaviour of the world’s five top markets right now:

1. China
Based on a finding by worldometers[2], with 1.4 billion residents, China is the biggest market in the world. Rising spending power sees 75% of Chinese consumers shopping online weekly, as compared to the 21% global average[3]. So how do you reach them?

2. India
While there are challenges in navigating their non-transparent and often unpredictable regulatory and tariff regimes[4], India is the world’s second most populous country, with doors wide open to overseas sellers.

3. USA
Tech-savvy, low on time, and with a premium placed on convenience. It is easy to see why 96% of Americans shop online[5]. But, how do you get your brand known?

4. UK
With over 90% of households now having Internet access[6], the British are increasingly making the move from brick and mortar stores to 24/7 online shopping. Plus, based on an article published in The Guardian, 58% of British online consumers are already buying products from overseas[7]!

5. Australia
Online shopping is a big part of Australians’ lives. With high purchasing power that has grown by more than 43% in 15 years, overseas e-commerce sites are no stranger to them[8]

As we have seen, each country is unique in its own way and navigating a new market can start out with its own set of challenges. SMEs have to really understand the local consumers and learn how to not only catch their attention, but to give them a seamless shopping experience.

This means the road doesn’t end when they hit ‘buy’. In fact, it has only just begun. Beyond language and cultural barriers, what obstacles can you expect in the journey abroad?

  • Tie-ups in Customs

Once they’ve decided to buy from you, it is your responsibility to meet the expectations of customers and ensure a second purchase. To do so, you need to get your products delivered on time. This, however, is not always easy with the different customs requirements waiting for you at each country.

  • Duties and Taxes

Duties and taxes differ between countries based on factors ranging from product value and origin country to trade agreements and intended use. You will need to understand this and ensure your customers are aware of the fees involved.

  • Packaging

With the longer journey overseas comes a greater need for proper packaging to ensure zero damages. For example, automotive parts, perishables, and electronics are some popular items consumers buy overseas, but these often need special and specific packaging.

From getting the right customs documentations to calculating duties and taxes, partnering with an expert in cross-border deliveries can help! As a trusted name with a global network covering 221 countries and territories, DHL Express is your local shipping specialist. To give your customers added flexibility and convenience, On Demand Delivery is where your customers can select their delivery preferences, with better control over which date they’d like to receive a parcel, whether they’d like to leave it with a neighbour, and more. If you would like to see what we can do for you, head over here.


[1] Global digital population as of July 2018 (in millions)
[2] China Population
[3] 7 Key Differences Between Chinese and Western Consumers
[4] Exporting to India: What You Need to Know
[5] How Many People Shop Online?
[6] UK online shopping behaviour revealed
[7] The way we shop now: the revolution in British spending habits.
[8] Australia: Reaching the consumers