Last month I wrote about the benefits of tapping into international markets to help a business grow and what to consider before taking the leap. This month, we look into the USA and some customer insights into the market that could help a business tap into the world’s largest economy, writes Harry Lowes, Head of Independent Agencies, Facebook ANZ.
eCommerce is set to grow 280 per cent over the next five years and a key opportunity for Australian and New Zealand businesses to grow into other markets and gain new customers. The US has a population 10 times larger than Australia, and in the US alone 42 per cent of online shoppers have bought from abroad. This is an incredible opportunity for even smaller businesses, like Melbourne based skincare brand Boracay Skin.
Operated by the young and ambitious Emille Mendoza, she saw the potential of the US market, but also similarities with the customers she had in Australia. Recognising the possibility, she began sending her product to summer fashion shows in the US and also began targeting US customers via Facebook and Instagram featuring her products. After much testing and patience, Boracay Skin products started appearing everywhere in fashion shows and on Instagram feeds across the world. The increased attention attracted a legion of loyal international customers, which Emille says led to her business turning over a monthly revenue of six figures.
Emille’s success didn’t just happen overnight, but her success came by taking the opportunity to learn about the market in the US to help inform her strategy. The US is an enormous market, but here are some insights into how consumers there think, and how a small business can use them to reach US customers more effectively.
US customers want trustworthy brands
Although nearly half of US shoppers are willing to try an overseas brand, 39 per cent of US shoppers don’t purchase a product from an overseas brand because they’ve never heard of them or don’t trust them. Trust takes time to earn but always pays off, and over half of US digital shoppers are loyal to brands they trust.
For a small business, building trust is possible if you take the time to understand and communicate with your existing and potential customers. In the case of Boracay Skin, they developed trust by consistently posting videos on their Facebook and Instagram accounts featuring the product being used. These videos were targeted to customers in the US, who loved the videos because they gave customers an idea of what the product was like, making them more confident to buy the product and into the brand.
Customers want a seamless experience, from start to finish
As seasoned online consumers, US shoppers have high expectations when it comes to shopping online. The top three considerations for US customers when shopping from other countries include the ability to track deliveries, easy return/refund policy and reasonable shipping times.
With this in mind, I would recommend businesses provide multiple shipping options like standard or express and work with their delivery partners to track parcels. Another way to keep customers happy is to communicate with them clearly. You can set up channels such as Messenger to chat with them directly or even automate replies so they can get help from your business when you’re not there.
US customers want brands to support their values
US shoppers increasingly want to see a business as more than just their products, and for what they really care about. A majority (79 per cent) of US internet users think more favourably for an environmentally-conscious brand, while more are seeking diversity in companies’ online advertising.
To show your business’ values, make sure your marketing and visual posts reflect a wide range of people. It could be as simple as making sure your social posts don’t just feature the same type of person, but a variety of people in different formats to keep things interesting. Boracay Skin does a great job with this and shows a range of models with different body shapes and skin tones across their digital channels.
We understand that every market has unique challenges, particularly one as large as the US. However, with the size and opportunity of the US market, it can present the right business an incredible way to grow just like Emille did with Boracay Skin.
For more tools and free resources to take your business to the US and beyond, check out Facebook’s Cross Border Business Hub.
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