The popularity of online shopping, power of digital marketing and reach afforded by social media have made it more possible than ever to take your business to the world.
According to Statista, retail sales made online are projected to rise to more than US$3.4 trillion this year, and more than 2.6 billion people around the world are using at least one form of social media.
You no longer need offices in every offshore market you want to target – many Kiwi businesses are making it big offshore with a small but agile staff and some smart online marketing.
Plenty of businesses from the Bay of Plenty are doing just that. Locally based Shot Darts exports high quality darts and darts accessories to more than 70 countries, all from an office and production facility based in Katikati.
Their success is based on development of a distinctive and unique brand, building an almost tribal following on social media and associations with of some of the world’s best darts players.
Another example is Tauranga business Heilala Vanilla.
This award-winning vanilla producer has leveraged its relationship with sustainable growers in the Pacific islands to build a strong brand that is driving sales around the world.
There’s also Waihi Beach body and home fragrance product business Ahu Aromas and Rotorua-based NZ Hemp Brokers, both of which effectively use online stores to make their products available to international buyers.
Some of the chief tools employed by successful businesses like these are social media, websites with easy to use online stores and engaging blog or news content, effective use of digital marketing, and clever PR that results in high profile media coverage that reaches their ideal customers.
Many of them also use “remarketing” – the process of targeting people who have previously engaged with them – to put their messages in front of those who are most likely to make a purchase.
Remarketing ads are commonly served up in places such as social media platforms, Gmail, Google search, and on websites that display advertising via Google’s AdSense programme.
It takes time to gather the data needed to re-market to people on a large scale, but it’s a strategy that can be pursued by local businesses without having to have offices offshore.
Of course, it’s one thing to make a sale and another to be able to distribute overseas. Many businesses get around this by forming partnerships with overseas warehouses or distributors that can extend their reach and store stock locally in their major target markets.
This approach can be much quicker and less expensive than having to set up your own offshore infrastructure from scratch.
These overseas warehouses, distributors and resellers can be large businesses with existing networks, or motivated individuals with existing storage space.
One of the main benefits is that this increases your ability to fulfil overseas orders in a timeframe that will keep customers happy, and without adding exorbitant shipping fees.
A local contact of this kind, that distributes on your behalf, can also help ensure you understand and comply with any local laws.
The upshot of our increasingly interconnected world is that you don’t have to have a vast network of offshore offices to sell your products in large overseas markets.
With ambition and a strong digital presence, Bay of Plenty businesses can extend their reach to all corners of the globe.