Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This mantra applies to many areas, including international marketing(opens in a new tab). How do you get customers not just in your country of origin, but from around the world to fall in love with your brand?
Although most people like to think of themselves as rational beings, the reality can be quite different. Humans make many decisions, including purchasing, often based on perceived emotional benefits. But there are underlying biases that influence a person’s decision to purchase. Consumers make subjective decisions based on how they perceive brands as well as how they believe the personality of the brand matches or reflects theirs. This connection relies on confidence and trust in the business, forging a strong bond between buyer and brand.
When it comes to business strategizing, to cement your international business with customers and keep them loyal, your brand needs to tap into their emotions in two ways: making things easy and making things personal. Below, we explore how to do both for your international customers – an essential demographic for your tour or activity business. Showcasing additional methods to accommodate them and ultimately how to get them to fall head over heels for your company.
Get to Know Your Customer
To get a customer to like you, they need to get to know your brand. But in order to get their attention and break through the noise, you need to know your customer first. This means understanding what consumers want in different markets, countries, or regions, and then tailoring your approach and offerings to meet those needs and expectations. Once you understand your target market, this will help inform not just your marketing strategies but also your local promotional strategy and tour-goer experience. Why does this matter? If you know your customer, then you can adapt your site to make it feel accessible by having another language option available and appealing by specifically addressing points of concern that those international guests may have.
Localizing your site for customers from different markets can potentially help boost conversion rates and sales. While you can’t account for every possible nationality and demographic, having a basic understanding of your regular market is something you should capitalize on. Similarly, if you’re looking to expand or pivot in order to attract a new demographic, be deliberate in what you are offering and how you plan on attracting that new group. This means that you don’t lose time trying to market to everyone and all preferences all the time. Read on to see some of the ways businesses can specifically cater their website and purchasing processes to consumers around the world.
Provide Multiple Payment Options
Providing payment variety is yet another way to make things easy for your international customers, who will leave the transaction appreciative of how simple it was to do business with you. Offering payment options for customers in markets that don’t prefer PayPal, for example, will truly allow customers to transact on your site in a way that feels local to them. While Visa and Mastercard may appear to be global and preferred by most consumers, each country actually has unique preferences for retail payments.
Take China for example, where the majority of shoppers prefer WeChat Pay and Alipay(opens in a new tab). If you know that you have a high number of Chinese visitors you risk potentially alienating huge swaths of customers without those payment options. The less friction you create in your checkout process, the easier it will be for customers. By knowing the likes, dislikes, and preferences of your international market, you can provide a local feel to the purchasing process and entrench customer loyalty at the same time.
Provide Multi-Currency Pricing and Rounding
It is important to display pricing on a website in the local currency so that consumers understand how much they are paying for a product. Gather information about these different audiences by locale including the dominant currencies and payment preferences. When it comes to online purchases, whether local or international, it can be confusing and even overwhelming. In particular when making purchases with international currencies, trying to calculate with exchange rates to figure out what the total will really be. This is another way to cater to these clients. Provide the peace of mind that their payment methods charged won’t incur additional fees for transacting in a foreign currency.
Research shows that displaying pricing in the local currency(opens in a new tab) is an important way to create a better user experience for shoppers on an e-commerce site. How the price in the local currency is displayed is also important. Consumers in some countries want to see the currency symbol next to the price, while others might prefer the letter abbreviation. Brands need to make sure they research and consider testing different options on their sites to see what works best for local shoppers and their international clients.
A detail global retailers often overlook is the importance of price rounding. In some countries, customers may be accustomed to seeing prices with a trailing .99 or .95, but in other countries, consumers prefer to see rounded whole numbers. Again, this is another area that online businesses can both research and test themselves on their websites to make sure they use the format preferred for their different targeted groups. Ultimately, the most important aspect when it comes to pricing is clarity and consistency.
Pivoting Towards Selling Goods Nationally and Internationally
As a means to supplement revenue, consider offering goods to both local and international customers. Whether it be your own brand’s merchandise or a partnership with other local vendors, it offers a means of having additional products that tie in to your tours, or souvenirs that tour-takers can go home with. Investigate the appetite for international goods from your various target groups and see if they have any particular interest in order to plan accordingly.
Research conducted by Flow Commerce(opens in a new tab) also showed that consumers in Australia, Brazil, and Canada have the highest likelihood to shop cross border. Given the proximity between European countries, border crossing and purchases for weekend getaways and longer vacations are common as well. Some markets may have a higher propensity to buy from global retailers, in part based on the process being an easy and straightforward one.
Provide No-Fuss Shipping
Giving customers multiple shipping options is important so that they can choose how and when to receive their orders either during their trip or once they arrive back in their home country. On the one hand, some guests will feel relief knowing they have their product before leaving the country, while others will appreciate the flexibility and ease of having one less thing to worry about while they travel. You can give customers shipping options where they can pay a little more to get their items faster or pay less (or even nothing) to wait longer. It’s also important to communicate with the customer clearly about how and when a product will arrive. By offering multiple shipping options (tiered shipping, free shipping, express, etc.) guests will recognize this extra level of consideration that you are offering.
Brands that can’t communicate when an order will arrive, or at least provide an estimated delivery window, appear disorganized or unprofessional. This will erode customer trust and may result in a lost sale. Look into local preferences not only for online payments but for delivery options that are expected to be available, in addition to other behaviors(opens in a new tab).
These are only a few aspects of the customer journey that businesses selling internationally need to consider to tailor the online experience for the global market. And while it might seem like a challenge, the upside is huge. All of these efforts to meet customer expectations and desires will result in the customer feeling emotionally aligned with your brand. You will build trust with customers – a necessary, crucial step for any cross-border brand, which will help generate personal recommendations, positive reviews for future customers, as well as potential repeat customers. Creating loyal, long-lasting relationships rooted in trust is the foundation of a successful and lucrative international brand, and there are multiple booking software(opens in a new tab) and e-commerce platforms to help you achieve that.
Streamlining bookings, payment options, in addition to shipping and delivery requirements for supplementary sales, and website localization are pivotal tools for securing and ensuring easy transactions. Learn more about cross-border e-commerce platforms(opens in a new tab) to make your international customer base fall in love with your brand and stick with you for life.
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