Exporting | Taking Your Product or Service to Market
The research stage of preparing for an export market is fundamental to determine which is the best market for your product or service and to establish the logistical, financial and documentary requirements of getting into the market.
With the strong foundation of planning, you now need to ensure that your delivery into the market is as smooth as possible. Consider the following factors:
Building relationships - networking
Your business contacts can assist your exporting endeavours. By making the right contacts you can learn more about your industry and meet potential customers.
A good way to build your networks is by attending functions designed for new exporters such as those run by:
Language, cultural and customs
A language barrier is often one of the most obvious examples of cultural difference. It is crucial that all communication is clear and you are aware in advance if an interpreter is required.
- Cultural traits
Not being aware of less obvious cultural traits can also impact the success of your business venture.
- Business relations
The formality of business relations in your target market will have a considerable impact on negotiations and ongoing relationships with your business contacts. You should seek advice on the dynamics of hierarchical structures.
The interpretation of time can vary from country to country. In some countries punctuality is crucial but in others waiting several hours for your appointment is the norm.
It is important to understand the role of religion in your market. It may play a significant role in people's lives and influence the products, services and marketing messages used.
Market entry options
How you achieve placement of your product or service in the market will vary according to the nature of the product, service, market and your own personal preferences. These can include:
- showcasing to buyer groups;
- electronic showcasing;
- catalogue promotion; and
Promotion and packaging
Just selling your product to a foreign buyer does not necessarily guarantee your product will sell in that market. You will need to devise a plan to increase buyer awareness to push up demand and increase sales.
Much will be determined by the nature of your product or service and the market you have selected, but some options may include:
- tv and radio advertising;
- print advertising;
- trade shows or showcasing; and
- free samples to potential clients.
Packaging your product has two key imperatives:
- firstly that your product will arrive intact and in pristine condition; and
- secondly that the packaging reflects the demands of the end buyer in that particular market place.
Before travelling for business you should check that you have made all the necessary arrangements to minimise travel problems.
After sales service
The strength of your after sales service will go a long way towards ensuring the sustainability of your export activities.
Consider your client's expectations that their customer support needs will be addressed within their time zone. In developing your after sales approach you should consider the following questions:
- Do you have capacity to fulfil a repeat order?
- Should you warehouse stock in the market?
- Does your product/ service require installation or training?
- Will it require maintenance and/ or parts replacement?
- Can any of this be sourced locally?
- Can you appoint an agent or distributor for local representation?