March 28, 2020
Optimising Your International Ecommerce Approach w/ Sufio & UWP

Optimising Your International Ecommerce Approach w/ Sufio & UWP

Miz Trujillo
Hello and welcome to Make Merchants Money, the podcast by Underwaterpistol, where we
discuss everything Shopify and ecommerce related. I am your host, Miz Trujillo and today we’re
looking at the subject of Going Global and Optimizing Your International Ecommerce Approach. We’re joined on the show by two guests, first
of all we have a Jan on the show, he is Content and Marketing manager at Sufio. Sufio is a Shopify and Big Commerce app which
provides beautiful invoice automation for way over 3000 stores in over 75 countries. Thanks so much for being on the show us today
Jan. Jan Malicher
Thank you so much and very thankful to be joining you guys here on the show today. Miz Trujillo
It’s a pleasure having you. Also with us today on the show is Ben, he
is head of content here at Underwaterpistol. Thanks for being on the show Ben. Ben Froedge
Nice to be here. Miz Trujillo
Great. So to get things rolling, from personal experience
I know how stressful and time consuming invoicing can be especially if you’re trying to deal
with international customers too. So Jan, it would be great to hear a little
bit more about Sufio and the services you offer, but also about how these can benefit
ecommerce entrepreneurs in an international market. Jan Malicher
Okay, so basically Sufio, as you’ve already mentioned, is an invoicing tool available
on the Shopify app store as well as Big Commerce app store. And what we specialize in is in creating these
automated invoices for your store. And not only are these invoices compliant,
but they’re also meant to be part of the stores branding and sort of marketing aspect. And this is achieved through the design of
the invoices. So we’ve worked a long amount of time with multiple
designers to create beautifully looking invoices that are compliant in multiple regions of
the world. So obviously, tax and taxing and invoicing
can sometimes be quite a complicated subject for people and it’s important to get your
taxes correct. Miz Trujillo
Absolutely. The tax situation is a huge concern for people,
especially when we’re looking at expanding to an international market and it’s definitely
something I want to touch on in our conversation today. But maybe before we start looking at that,
if we look at the positives of this idea of Going Global, for example, a Mackenzie study
estimated that 1.8 billion people will enter the consuming class by 2025, that’s an annual
spending of $30 trillion, Ben what would you say about those stats? And what would you maybe say to people who
need persuading that an international ecommerce marketing approach is the way to go? Ben Froedge
The stats, I really feel like kind of speak for themselves. There is a massive, massive growing market
as countries that maybe didn’t have as much web infrastructure before or as much disposable
income before are really opening up and especially with the tools that Shopify plus are offering
for merchants, to stick only with your domestic markets., you know, you may be the big fish
in a small pond, but you’re really going to miss out on a lot of revenue, and a lot of
future expansion in the coming years. Miz Trujillo
Definitely, there’s so much money to be made in this sector. And hopefully, the conversation we’ll have
today will convince people it’s the right way to go and also alleviate some of their
concerns. One of which Jan already mentioned, and that’s
the tax situation. So it would be great to maybe look at that
for a second. According to a Tax Slayer survey, around 52%
of US adults find the tax filing process stressful. So the idea of complicating this further by
going international could obviously cause people sleepless nights. Jan, maybe could you help put listeners minds
at rest, what should we be aware of when it comes to the tax process for international
ecommerce business? And is there anything related to maybe shipping,
import/export duties that we should be aware of too? Jan Malicher
Yeah, well, as stressful as it is to understand your local taxing regulations, when you’re an
entrepreneur or you have a store that’s trying to go global, so to multiple countries, then
not only you’re focusing on understanding your own tax regulations, but also the tax
regulations of the new countries that you want to ship to or sell to. So we try to make this process as simple
and as understandable as possible. We have multiple articles talking about the
tax settings and tax regulations of most of the major countries around the world. And we try to help users make this expanding
globally as simple as possible. In regards to the shipping import and export
duties, this obviously can differ from country to country, so it’s not really easy to summarize. But generally, the most important thing is
to have some sort of a legal document, which in this case would be invoice. So if you’re importing products or exporting,
if your products are stopped in customs then having an invoice talking about the purchase
transaction, it will help the process speed up. Miz Trujillo
Thanks for that Jan, we’ll make sure to link to the articles you mentioned to as I’m sure
our listeners will find this extremely useful. And hopefully, after listening to this podcast,
a lot of their concerns will be laid to rest and they will be ready to start down this
international route. As a first step, let’s say they’re looking
to start gathering market intelligence, Ben why would you say this is such an important
step for people and what should they really be focusing on to get started? Ben Froedge
Anytime you’re going to start into a new market, you really have to understand the exact needs. The value propositions that you offer customers
may not appeal to a new market the same as it does before. You might have other barriers as well, currency,
language, you know, something like Sufio can really help you take on the tax issue., but
you have to know not only what your business is in for and what those difficulties are
going to be, but you really need to understand those customers. That’s if you’re launching a new product,
launching into a new market. As far as how to get started on that, I would
talk to your customers, I would talk to the VIP customers within your brand right now
and find out what works for them, find out what’s appealing to them what they love about
you and use that as a starting point. And then launch testing into new markets. Don’t go full tilt into it. Identify markets where you have cultural similarities
with people that are already VIP customers and test in small portions, find the places
that are the best for you to go before you launch full scale into a new market. Miz Trujillo
Yeah, I mean, there’s so much information to be gathered and it’s so important for people
to get this right early on to avoid costly mistakes further down the line. One of the things that people should start
seeing as this data starts coming in is a difference in purchasing habits from country
to country, one of these being local buyers preferred payment methods. For example, in the Netherlands, 60% of payments
are made by direct debit whilst Germans make 46% of payments by online bank transfer? Jan, what should sellers ideally be offering
when it comes to payment methods and multi currency payment options? Jan Malicher
Right, well, you see, if we take the US market, for example, the US stores. Most people are accustomed there to pay by credit
cards, credit cards here and there. Therefore, these US stores similarly will
offer mostly only credit cards upon checkout, or let’s say, PayPal and such. But when you’re expanding globally; or internationally
at least, then you really do have to think about different payment methods and localized
payment methods, as you’ve mentioned. So the payment methods, for example, used
in Europe may also differ from payment methods used in India. In India, for example, most customers are
accustomed to paying upon delivery, so not actually online or upon Checkout, but later
on when their products arrive. So if you’re let’s say a US store and you
do have lots of Indian customers for example, but you don’t provide them with their preferred
payment method, then you might be losing out on a big client base. For example, as most merchants we offer
PayPal on our stores, we accept credit cards and such; and then further on, moving down
the list invoicing could be one example, that you won’t be paying right upon Checkout, but
the customer receives an invoice. For example if the store is using Sufio invoicing,
then we have Stripe so the customer can pay the invoice online through Stripe or obviously
they can take the invoice offline to the bank for example, pay for it and, yeah. Miz Trujillo
Excellent; and offering these payment methods is obviously great for the buyers who are
on the site, but Ben maybe, how can it help the seller too? How can it help them save time and maybe decrease
customer service needs? Ben Froedge
As long as you have an automated solution for something like invoicing. I feel like giving the customer the payment
and purchase methods that they are comfortable with and familiar with is really going to
reduce their anxiety. So you know, at least in American ecommerce,
people pay almost 100% of the time up front. You know, with B2B, we do invoicing or net
30 or net 60, but in B2C stores, it’s always credit card or PayPal. So people have put the money into something
that they have only seen online. So they’re kind of anxious about it before
it gets delivered. They have something big built up in their
head before it gets there. So offering those delayed payment options,
I feel like just reduces people’s anxiety, their potential for dissatisfaction and even
anger if something goes wrong. And so you can really avoid bad reviews, bad
customer service issues that way. Miz Trujillo
Thanks, Ben. I’m sure that’s exactly what our listeners
want to hear. So, so far in our conversation we’ve looked
at the tax situation and how Sufio can help with that as well as with invoicing, we have
also looked at the international market and why it’s such a great idea to go down this
route. So it’d be good to look at another concern
that can come up as a result of this which is that they’re now selling more all around
the world but they’re also having to deal with more refunds. The simple idea of that can give people a
headache, so what steps should they be taking to simplify credit notes and refunds? Maybe Jan you could help us out with this? Jan Malicher
It’s never nice to hear, when you wake up in the morning and you see there is a couple
refunds waiting in your orders tab for example, but obviously, having the right measures to
deal with this can make the process simpler, or at least not such a bad experience for
you and the customer. When we’re talking about B2B sales for example,
if the customer has already received an invoice and then he cancels the order for whatever
the reason, issuing a compliant credit note is always important. So this is one of the multiple legal documents
that Sufio can generate for the customer. Therefore, when the orders canceled, they
can quickly receive a credit note for their order and make the whole process simpler. Miz Trujillo
Well, that’s exactly what people are looking for, to make things a little bit simpler,
isn’t it? So seeing as we’re ticking off these concerns,
let’s go for another big one, which is fraud. How can sellers protect themselves and their
customers? Ben maybe you could start? Ben Froedge
So the best thing I can think of is this, identify; and there are services that help
with this, identify high fraud risk areas in the world. It may be countries, it may be, you know,
provinces or states, it may be just local areas where you have a group of people operating
to defraud stores. If you can automate the identification of
those high risk orders using something like Shopify Flows, then you can use your human
time to verify those orders and to see if you can look for patterns in the ones that
are legitimate orders from high risk areas and separate those from more likely fraud. You may end up you know, you may end up with
a few fraud issues, or you may end up turning down a few orders that were legitimate, but
you can at least eliminate the bulk of them. Miz Trujillo
Thanks, Ben. I know that here at Underwaterpistol we were
very involved with GDPR not that long ago, the way that sensitive data is stored is obviously
a big concern for people, so is there maybe something you’d add on that note? Ben Froedge
Yes, I feel like a lot of the business community kind of looked at GDPR as a big burden, but
now that you know, everybody is more used to it and has gotten compliant, I really think
we should look at it as an opportunity. The best businesses are going to be those
who willingly and voluntarily even have enthusiasm about protecting their customers and protecting
their customers data. And protecting that data is going to protect
them as well. Because when credit card, when contact information
is stolen, that leads to higher incidences of fraud and so you can eliminate, you can
just cut the legs off of the problem of fraud by protecting your customers data and keeping
them safe. Miz Trujillo
Definitely, yeah. Jan is there anything you’d mentioned in this
regard as well? Jan Malicher
Having the data stored correctly, is going to eliminate most of the issues and at the
same time, when you’re selling to these high risk countries where fraud is more likely
to occur, then it’s also important to look at the payment methods that you’re offering
to the given country. So if it’s a local payment method, then you
probably want to run some security checks on it. Like, how protected is it, if it’s secure,
and then yeah, just really try your best to eliminate all these issues. Because fraud protection is really important. Miz Trujillo
Excellent. So with a lot of concern out of the way now,
it would be great to talk about optimizing sites specifically for international sales. It’s amazing how small details affect buyers
decisions, a recent HubSpot survey in the US compared to, the
question that was raised was, “Which do you think is more likely to offer the more reliable
Express shipping to your home?”. The intent of the question was to see if users
zeroed in on the recognizable brand name, or their domain extension; and 40% of people
said they felt that .com would be more reliable. How should information like that affect our
site optimization? And what other things should people be taking
into account when optimizing their sites? Ben maybe? Ben Froedge
Okay, well, that’s a good insight right there. First off, you need to ask the question, you
need to consider that from the get go and gather that information as soon as you can. Each market is going to be somewhat different,
you’re going to have different trust indicators, people are going to have different things
that cause them to believe you’re a reliable person to purchase from, to trust you with
their shipping, with their payment information. So you need to find out in a market before
you launch preferably, what that is. You could do that with user testing online,
you could even do AB testing in a limited run. Like we mentioned earlier, test in markets
before you launch. As far as optimizing the site, it’s really
about giving people what they want to see, what they’re used to seeing. So their language, local shipping options
that they’re familiar with as was discussed earlier, payment techniques. So cash on delivery, your invoicing versus
prepayment, local currency, all of those things are going to increase people’s trust in you
and their willingness to buy. So we often think of conversion rate optimization,
as you know, button colors, or copy, or page flow and that matters, but just giving people
something that they’re familiar with and they can trust is a huge boost. It’s kind of just part of the basic strategy
that you should undertake, before you go higher level. Miz Trujillo
Perfect, Jan is there anything you’d add at all? Jan Malicher
As Ben mentioned, it’s always nice to implement the things that people are familiar with. So it’s kind of the don’t break what works
technique. So obviously, when it’s been tested multiple
times people have done AB testing and there’s some general rules that you have to follow
that are proven to work. So it’s not always necessary to try to reinvent
the wheel. So yeah, following the general rules in regards
to expansion will make it easier, you don’t have to create absolute brand new strategies
when entering new markets. Miz Trujillo
Well, that’s exactly the point. We want to make customers feel comfortable
when navigating the site and that in turn will help sales come through. So hopefully, they follow these suggestions
and they’ve got the perfect site, now they’re ready to start selling around the globe, but
how do they gain local visibility? What should people be doing when it comes
to search engine optimization? Jan, maybe you could kick us off? Jan Malicher
Well, say you have a market in a foreign country, there’s customers coming in from
countries you didn’t expect to make sales for example, so it will be likely that you
might want to localize your website when you feel like it’s profitable for you. Obviously, one way to localize a website is
maybe multi languages, so translating into the local language. But basically, when you are translating your
website, then it’s always important to realize that the upkeep is going to be much, much
more, it’s time consuming. Because when you’re, let’s say, adding a new
product to website, then you have to make the translations to the local language, and
also inventory tracking. So that’s going to be a bit of upkeep to do. Miz Trujillo
Absolutely, it’s very important for people to be aware of the extra workload, this is
going to cause especially so that they expand at the right time for their business. And it’s also important for them to be aware
of what these differences in search engine optimization will be from country to country. And how actually doing these will benefit
their sales, Ben, is there maybe anything you’d add? Ben Froedge
Yes, I agree, definitely, that the language is going to play a huge part in it. If you are operating in an American based
company, and you’re operating in another English language market, consider what different terms
they might use, what different slang, if there are differences in phrasing. And then if you’re moving into a non English
speaking market, you need to hire a local writer who understands not only translating
the language, but translating the ideas because running something through Google translator
or a similar service is not going to cut it, they’re going to be big differences in meaning
between words that are going to give you some real problems. So number one, is optimize for the language. So at the same time, you want to hire a writer,
you want to hire somebody, whether that’s the same writer or someone else who can do
SEO research for that local market, your keywords may be different, just some of your ideas
and like I mentioned earlier, even the value proposition, what you’re really offering
them with the product, how they think of it may be different. So the way they’re going to search for it
is going to be different. They’re going to be looking for different
things based on different ideas. And then finally, if you are content marketing,
which is where so much of your SEO value is going to come in, you’ll need to focus on
content that relates to, again, local ideas, possibly local events, and I think that’s
really going to make a big difference for SEO in new marketplaces. Miz Trujillo
Absolutely and I think that everything you’ve mentioned there would obviously run across
to when they’re doing the marketing in terms of social media for these different local
areas as well. Because when you change languages, everything,
the sense of humor, turns of phrases, can change, it can change really quickly. So having someone that knows the language
inside out would would definitely help on that regard. Ben Froedge
Absolutely. The way you engage with your audience is going
to entirely change in a new language marketplace. Miz Trujillo
Perfect, it has been so great chatting to you both about this subject today. To start wrapping up the conversation and
summing up what we talked about. Ben, maybe if you had to leave listeners with
one thing that we’ve discussed today what would it be? Ben Froedge
Before you start anything new, especially something as complicated as international
ecommerce can be, lay the groundwork, plan out a strategy before you get started. Think about issues like fraud, think about
issues like language, invoicing, or cash on delivery instead of credit card payment. Think about how things are going to have to
be done differently. And you don’t have to get things perfect at
the start. But getting a good baseline established and
building a solid foundation for what you’re going to do will serve you throughout your
expansion efforts, whether that’s in new international markets, whether it’s into B2B sales, it’s
really going to give you a solid base to work from and it’s going to make everything easier. And then solutions like Sufio, are really
going to help by automating those new processes. That way, you’re not spending hours on something
that can be done quickly and easily. Miz Trujillo
Definitely, that’s great. Thanks so much Ben. And Jan, what would you leave our listeners
with? Jan Malicher
Yeah, I just want to continue Ben’s note, basically, in today’s world, it’s not too
difficult or maybe the possibilities are endless. So to become a successful entrepreneur or
store owner, that’s fantastic, it’s great for you, but it is also your obligation at
the same time to be compliant with the tax regulations in your country and the countries
you’re selling to. So as it is your obligation to have all these
taxes set up correctly and have your invoicing data correct with your local accountants,
this is where many people start to get shaky, they start running into problems and
sometimes they try to avoid this topic. So that’s really where we try to come
come in and help these people convince them it’s not really as complicated as it looks. And at the same time, they’re not there alone
to get get around this issue. So really, this invoicing and compliance can
be taken care of very easily as long as you follow some quick guides and yeah. Miz Trujillo
That’s great, thanks so much Jan. It’s been really great talking to you both
today and it’s been a real pleasure having you on the show thank you. Jan Malicher
Thank you so much for having me. Ben Froedge
Thank you Miz Trujillo
A huge thanks to everyone who listens to the show too, you can find links to both Sufio
and Underwaterpistol in the description below, as well as to any reports we’ve mentioned. If you need any help with Shopify and Ecommerce
you can book a free consultation with Underwaterpistol via the link below too. Please subscribe to the podcast to keep up
to date with all the upcoming shows and you can get involved in the discussion and receive
all the latest news by joining our Make Merchants Money Facebook group. Thanks for listening and thanks again Jan
and Ben.

1 thought on “Optimising Your International Ecommerce Approach w/ Sufio & UWP

  1. Awesome podcast! Solid advice on invoice best practices. Just checked out the invoice samples on look super clean. We'll gladly recommend it to our clients who power their ecommerce sites via Shopify.

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