International eCommerce AdWords Campaigns – Part 1

So you’re looking to expand your e-commerce website into an International market?

Your domestic traffic is through the roof and your conversion rates have remained reliable and stable for a prolonged period of time.

But how are you going to move forward?

There are two integral questions you need to ask yourself when attempting to solve the Online International Market Puzzle (OIMP!):

  1. How am I going to convert International traffic? and
  2. How am I going to generate International traffic to my website?

Sounds simple… doesn’t it?

Let’s start with the first part of the OIMP equation – converting International traffic.

For most domestic e-commerce websites, some simple conversion optimisation and usability changes need to be considered before any International marketing begins in order to accommodate foreign visitors. There are a number of points to consider when upgrading to an International e-commerce website.

There’s no place like home page

First impressions count. Have you ever heard the term ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’?  Well forget that. On the web, your home page or landing page generally only have 8 seconds to capture your audience’s interest before they decide whether or not they have landed in the right spot. It is therefore imperative that you customise your home page or landing pages for International markets. Some ways to do this are to:

  • Recognise your user’s IP address and display content based on their geographic location. This might include a custom welcome message for French visitors or a special shipping sale for German customers etc.
  • Maintain country recognition throughout visit. Remember to make sure that, if you have a customer from Germany on your website, you should always display currency in Euros, have an option for German language/site translation and only include information relevant to German visitors.
  • Buy a domain name from the user’s country of origin in order to reduce proximity dissonance.

Make them feel safe

One method to gaining your customer’s trust within the first 8 seconds of their visit is to make them feel like they are in safe hands upon arrival. Although a custom, geo-targeted greeting may help the customer feel welcome, there are some other ways to help make the consumer feel safe on your site.

  • Mention the security credentials of your site.
  • Use a number of well known payment methods and options.
  • Make sure your visitors know and understand that you have shipped to their country before and that you can guarantee quick, safe, and reliable delivery of your product or service.
  • Mention your local shipping partner for that country. If you can secure well known local shipping partners, this will help to establish trust between you and your international audiences.
  • Let your customers know about any additional fees or taxes that may not be included in the price of your product or service (for example VAT fees, shipping insurance and import/export taxes).
  • Be sure to include all of these extra fees in your overall total price so there are no surprises for the users down the track.

Check out your Checkout

One of the biggest conversion barriers in international markets is your checkout. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when implementing a checkout system for international customers.

  • Would you feel safe or comfortable using this checkout if you were an international buyer at an American store?
  • Have you provided international assurances during the checkout process? Once again, you need to let your audience know that you’ve done this before! Assure them that they will always be able to contact you and that they will also be able to get a quick response from your company.
  • Have you included a package tracking option?
  • Have you sent a confirmation e-mail receipt when your customers order is purchased and dispatched?
  • Have you added all shipping costs to the order total?

Where in the world?

  • It might go without saying, but if you are targeting a non-english speaking country, it would be preferable if you could have your site translated into your target countries language!
  • Even in countries that do natively speak English, ensure that local terminology and spelling is used. (eg: don’t use American spelling if you’re selling to the UK)
  • You should also make sure you have altered your checkout fields to suit the country you are targeting. (e.g. Hong Kong has no post code so this field should not be mandatory in a Hong Kong checkout form)

Leave Your Boat Ashore!

  • Don’t revert to your country of origin’s domain or pages after the user clicks off your home page. Stay in the country you are targeting.
  • It is important to maintain a smooth, customised and personalised browsing experience for each international customer in order to generate optimum results.
  • Remember to leave out information which is Australian centric information which is not relevant to your international customers.

Now that you’ve got your website converting, the next step is to send quality traffic. Coming soon will be part 2, how to design an AdWords campaign for International markets.

Paul Goldston

Digital Creative Director

As Digital Creative Director at Reload Media, Paul looks after digital campaign ideation, product diversification, Reload Media's marketing activity, internal education and basically everything and anything digital. Coming from a background in performance marketing (as Reload's very first full-time PPC consultant back in 2009), Paul confidently balances high-level creative thinking with data-driven campaign performance. Paul is, in his words “obsessed with providing market leading customer service and helping our internal teams to deliver genuine business impact for all of Reload Media’s clients”.