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Videos | 5 Easy Steps to Boost International Sales

Are you shipping internationally, but not getting much traffic or sales? Would you like to increase your international sales? Find out how Miva merchants are boosting their international sales in 5 easy steps. Presented by the company that has been driving international online sales for Abercrombie, Best Buy, Claire's, FTD, Urban Outfitters, and many others.

Video Transcript

Welcome ladies and gentleman to this Miva sponsored webinar entitled Five Easy Steps to Boost International Sales. We are joined here today by Chuck Whiteman, who is the Senior Vice President of Client Services for Global Nimbus. Global Nimbus is a new Miva Merchant Partner whose self serve platform makes it easy for merchants to quickly and cost effectively increase International ecommerce sales. Global Nimbus is a division of MotionPoint Corporation, a company that operates the International websites for many of the world’s top retailers, including Abercrombie, Asus, Best Buy, Ikea, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters and more. Chuck has spent the last seven years working with these and other clients to help accelerate their international online sales growth. He plans to share some of his expertise with us today, but before I turn things over to Chuck, let me remind all of you that there will be a Q&A Session at the conclusion of this webinar. If you have any questions throughout the course of this webinar, please just type them into your console and we’ll be sure to address any questions at the conclusion of this session. Now to you Chuck…

Welcome everyone. My team and I work with lots of retailers to increase their sales around the world online. Through this work we’ve accumulated a lot of experience and data for really retailers of any size. One of the things we have learned is that a huge obstacle for smaller retailers are upfront investments of time and especially money. The goal of Global Nimbus is to provide a platform that allows smaller retailers to get started building sales and new markets without requiring a large upfront investment of time or money. The fact is it really doesn't matter whether you’re Best Buy or Buy Direct if you launch your new site you’re going to start that day with zero visitors and traffic is going to grow from there. The key is to get started sooner rather than later. Today we are going to describe how to do this starting as quickly and as inexpensively as possible, yet doing it in a way that preserves your ability to invest in improvements as they are warranted based on your traffic and sales.

First we’re going to quantify the opportunity, next we’ll describe how to get started,  then we’ll hear from a couple of businesses who have actually done it. One who just started, another who's been at it for nearly a year. After that I’ll pick one “unlucky” attendee to do a live demonstration of their website, so someone on the call right now will see their web site operating on the Global Nimbus platform and I call that person unlucky because the next person we draw from the attendees will win twelve months of service on the Global Nimbus platform at no charge. Just remember you have to be present on the webinar to win and so be sure to stick around for the drawing. Don’t worry, we’ll keep things quick and interesting I’m sure. Finally, if we miss anything in a rush to get to the drawing, after the drawing we’ll stick around for a Q&A for any questions that remain.

I’m sorry if this chart is difficult to make out. What it shows is data from emarketer which illustrates that worldwide sales are on track to double in the next five years. So from just over a billion to well over a trillion dollars worldwide b2c ecommerce sales. What’s even more interesting is that this ebay research shows that cross border ecommerce is actually growing even faster. It’s projected to triple over the next five years.

So which companies are benefiting from this cross-border ecommerce the most (who is selling all this stuff to overseas customers)? Again, this is ebay data which shows that the answer is the U.S. This might not come as much as a surprise to those of you on the webinar given that the U.S. is still the world’s largest economy by far. It really makes sense that the size of the U.S. Market creates competition which drives prices down and selection up, which as we’ll see on the next slide are two of the primary drivers of cross-border ecommerce.

So why are International consumers buying from U.S. Retailers?


The first answer is price. If International buyers can get it from you cheaper either because of the price, the tax rate, the exchange rate, they are going to consider buying from you.


The second answer is selection. If International buyers can’t get what they are looking for locally, they’ll consider buying it from you.


The third most common driver of cross-border ecommerce is brand. If International buyers conclude that you offer added value that they can’t get locally, whether the reliability, cache, really slick user experience - whatever that might be, they’ll consider buying from you.

So as you think about what you sell, you can probably figure out who your International consumer is and why they might want to buy from you. Use this insight and really claim your strength. If you have really attractive prices feature those for International consumers in less competitive smaller ecommerce markets. If you have a really unique product assortment, feature that. For International buyers and smaller markets where they just don’t have that same selection. Finally, if you find that you’re shipping a lot to large ecommerce markets where there are reasonable alternatives, then you really should pat yourselves on the back because you’re doing a really good job building your global brand.

So if you’re like a lot of retailers I meet, you’re probably thinking right now about your biggest competitor and that’s good, because on the next slide we’re going to show you how to triple your potential market and leave your competitors in the dust when it comes to locking up this fast growing segment of cross-border ecommerce.

So 60% of the content online is published in English. That compares to 27% of internet users that actually speak English. So about double amount of content is in English as users on the internet that actually speak English. So putting your content in languages that you see on the right not only adds consumers to your potential market it’s actually adding people by definition are underserved online relative to English speakers. So if you add Chinese to your web site you’ve nearly doubled your market right there. Add Spanish and it goes up by another 30%. If you add these other nine languages, you basically have more than tripled the size of the number of consumers you can be addressing. As I said, these folks will tend to be underserved so at least two of the categories driving online ecommerce are folks who basically can’t get what they need locally. To illustrate this point, one of our clients is a really large sporting goods retailer in Europe and this particular client does more sales online in Slovakia then they do in Germany in Slovakian vs. German, not because the sporting goods line is larger in Slovakia than it is in Germany, simply because Slovakia is far less well served by other Sporting Goods Retailers than Germany is.

So how do you do it? The title of our webinar was Five Easy Steps. Here’s what those steps are and they are pretty straight forward:

Step #1 - You need to be able to ship orders Internationally

Step #2 - You need to figure out where your opportunities lie Internationally

Step #3 - Once you figure those two things out the key is really to get a site deployed in those markets as quickly as possible so you can start building traffic and sales.

Steps 4&5 - Fulfill and optimize are really already the things you do today. Fulfill orders and figure out how to improve your business.

I realize I breezed through that, but I thought you might prefer hearing from some real people who have recently done this verses listening to me. These guys can tell you the real story. So the first person I’d like to introduce you to has been a Global Nimbus customer for less than two months.  He owns and operates a number of online businesses, one of which is a website called TacticalDefense.com where he sells military safety and emergency products. His name is Tom Shiver and Tom’s been gracious enough to spend a few minutes sharing with all of us the process he recently went through in an effort to accelerate his International Sales.

Thanks Chuck. As Chuck said, Tactical Defense is a business that sells to the military and First Responders. We launched the site in 2005 and it has grown to $200,000 in annual sales. Last year 15% of our sales were shipped out of the country. We use Bongo to do all of our International shipping. The Bongo solution is great for International orders. Customers enter the Bongo checkout, where they show the customer a landed cost which includes shipping, tariffs, duties, etc. and they also take care of the payment processing offering International payment types and assuming the risk of fraud, chargebacks and things of that nature. I can ship these orders to their facilities in Tampa, Florida and they take care of fulfilling the order. For anyone that needs help processing International orders, I’d definitely recommend Bongo.

We do a lot of military training in Italy, Canada and Germany. This helps generate orders from those whose native language isn’t English. When I met Global Nimbus at the MivaCon Users Conference I was pretty sure they could help me grow my sales in these markets. Once I signed up I probably invested two hours of setting up the site to Global Nimbus. It was really easy to do and most of it just happened automatically. I did spend a couple hours uploading in a tool, entering a sales certificate and a few other things. Once the site was created, I probably spent another ½ day reviewing the four new sites to make sure that they looked good and worked well. I launched the site on March 25, 2014 and I’m really excited to see that the site has been indexed in the search engines. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

Thanks Tom. The next person I would like to introduce has been a Global Nimbus customer for nearly ten months and he operates a site that sells scuba diving and snorkeling gear. The web site is called Divers Direct. His name is Shawn Clark. I was really excited when Shawn agreed to participate on the webinar because Divers Direct has been running Global Nimbus for a little while now. While the details of his launch are probably fuzzy by now, the good news is that Shawn has nine months of results to share with all of us. So Shawn has agreed to walk us through both his experience with Global Nimbus as well as the results he has been able to create on the platform. Now to you Shawn.

Thanks Chuck. As the slide shows, Step #1 for us was confirming International Shipping capability. We’ve actually been shipping Internationally for many years, primarily through UPS, so that was an easy one for us. I think it was May or June last year when we began speaking with Global Nimbus about publishing DiversDirect.com in other languages and after speaking with Chuck the first thing I did based on his advice was go into Google Analytics. From there I ran a geo location report to see where the traffic I was getting was coming from and after that I added the second dimension for language. I needed to figure out not only where the visitors were coming from, but what languages they prefer. I assume this would only be the tip of the iceberg since the site is only available in English. I knew I wasn’t getting any traffic through an organic search in other languages, because we didn’t have them set up. As you see, the top non-English speaking markets I was getting traffic from were Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Spain, Spanish speaking in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, Columbia, Argentina and Columbia. Showing these visitors shows me that the top languages at the time were Spanish, Portuguese, French and Japanese. So based on this tip of the iceberg information I decided to launch the top two, Spanish and Portuguese. It took about two hours to get them published and we launched the new sites on July 15th. As you can see during the first nine months of operation we generated 41,249 visits, $20.267 in sales and about $1802 in costs on the platform. So our cost was running less than 9% of sales which I’m pretty happy about. What makes me even happier is the timeline. You can see the yellow line is traffic which is climbing upward at a pretty nice slope. You can see a little spike during summer which is lobster season which is like Christmas time for Divers Direct and the dive business in Florida. You can also see a big spike in revenue during the actual Christmas time. I’m really excited to get the next few months in the bag and then I can start seeing my year to year results. The good news is that the cost is really minimal relative to the traffic and revenue. As I compared the source of revenue with adwords and other revenues generate incremental sales this has been way more profitable. In fact, preparing for this webinar has reminded me that I really need to launch French and Japanese right away. Chuck’s comment that the sooner you start, the sooner you make money really is true but it’s easy to get distracted by the day to day and not think about how important it is to establish these other markets.

Ok, thank you Shawn. I now want to introduce to you my colleague Joe who is going to a live demo on the Global Nimbus platform using a web site from one of our attendees today.

Alright, thanks Chuck. As Chuck mentioned, an important step in boosting your international sales is to get going quickly. It’s our goal with Global Nimbus to make it really fast and simple to launch your site in other languages, also to make it easy for the the world to find your products. So you just heard testimonials from Tom and Shawn, two of our customers. I hope that gives you a sense that this is a pretty straight forward process and I just want to take a minute or two right now to give you an idea how this really works. As Chuck mentioned earlier, we’re going to have an “unlucky winner” and the unlucky winner today is a woman by the name of Debbie who runs the site, BuddyBeds.com. Debbie, I believe you’re on the call so please pay attention to this part. We wanted to highlight your site. Here’s BuddyBeds.com today in English. I wanted to show you, to start the process as we walk through the different steps the first thing you’re going to want to do is go to the globalnimbus.com market selecter and then choose the appropriate languages that you’re interested in and that are appropriate for your markets. For buddybeds case we’re going to go with Spanish and Japanese. Now you can see just by adding Spanish and Japanese it covers approximately three quarters of a billion people at a price of only $93 a month. Now, just so everyone’s aware because you’re all Miva customers today, we are offering a special that allows you to get the next three months for free and just so you can have some more information you can look up by clicking on this button for the pricing which basically says you won’t get billed again until Aug. 7th. The only other component is a nominal usage fee that’s included as well. Now once you hit next you’re going to complete the registration process which basically means typing in your name and some personal information as well as the web site, which in this case is buddybeds.com. You will save and continue the registration for the payment process and at that point, once you hit “go” you’re going to begin the translation and provision process. Basically what happens is that after a couple minutes your site will be provisioned in the alternate languages and then we kick off the translation process which typically takes less than an hour, although in some cases as much as eight hours depending on the amount of content on your site and we’re not going to wait that long obviously today, but once that process is done you’ll be able to go to the Global Nimbus dashboard and begin to preview your site even as the translation is in progress. So on this site, buddybeds, we thought really cute dogs would be appropriate so I want to show you now the same version of the site but it has been translated into Japanese and then we also have it in Spanish. So at this point many customers are happy to launch their site all over the world. Of course, if you’re interested in further customizing or localizing on your alternate site you can use a number of tools that are built in to Global Nimbus that will help you with that. For purposes of this webinar I’m going to stop there and not go into all the details of the functions and features. Just keep in mind if you do have some questions please save them for the end and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Now, a lot of our customers spend a lot of money on digital advertising, help with your seo and all sorts of different approaches to drive traffic to your site and what our customers tell us is how they were shocked at how quickly and inexpensively they were able to get the same or even better results by utilizing Global Nimbus. So thanks Debbie for letting us use your site. I’m now going to turn the mic over to my colleague Josh who is actually going to introduce our lucky winner today.

Thanks Joe and thanks everyone for waiting around. We’re now going to pick one lucky winner to get a free year on Global Nimbus for up to three languages. We put everyone’s name into a hat or powerpoint in this case, and we’re going to spin the wheel and if it stops on your name you win. Remember you have to be present on the webinar, so we’ll keep drawing until we have a lucky winner. We’ll reach out to the winner and get you all set up so you don’t have to worry about that. Now, without further ado, drum roll… so Jim R. is our winner today. Jim is on the line and he is our lucky winner. Congratulations Jim. We will follow up with you immediately following the webinar and help you through the process of deploying your site to new markets Internationally.

Ok, that brings us to our Q&A portion of our webinar.

Q: Does the Typical user of Global Nimbus add native speaking or multi lingual customer service people ?

A: This is more of a question for users on the call and so Tom and Shawn, if you’re still with us feel free to open up your mic and respond.

I actually do. Park of our packing here is full service in addition to the search engine optimization indexing that you’ve done for us. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary because most of the idea of sales and ecommerce is through the computer so our phones don’t ring as much as a typical business, but we’re still here able to communicate with any of the languages that we’re dealing with.

Shawn, do you have anything to add?

Yes, we did the same thing. We made sure that some of our store staff were multilingual. We made sure our staff and our call center was able to respond to email questions that came in with other languages.

I can add just from our experience doing this work for the past fourteen years, typically we have a lot of clients who get very nervous and ramp up customer service capability in advance of going live with their site. Generally what happens is a lot of self service happens online and so our advice to clients and what seems to work best is sort of “add it as you need it” as opposed to “adding it in advance.” That really is the theory of the Global Nimbus platform, only add costs when you need it as opposed to investing in advance of the revenue.

Q: After site translations, can you pull product data feeds and translated languages for use in international comparison shopping?

A: Yes, there is an api available through Global Nimbus that requires some capability to code. There is on the road map the intent to automate some of the more standard international feeds. They don’t exist right now, but if this is an important piece for you, you can build to that api and retrieve translations from the Global Nimbus platform for use in a feed.

Q: Do you have to use Bongo International with Global Nimbus?

A: Absolutely not. In fact, our two case studies today, Tactical Defense uses Bongo and Divers Direct does not. Shawn, I don’t know if you want to speak a little bit to your process of fulfilling internationally?

Sure. We use UPS for handling the actual shipments. At this time we don’t provide our customers with conversions of dollars to whatever their currency is. We do all of our quotes and shipments through UPS and our labels through UPS Worldship.

Q: How does a browser know what language to display. Is there a button that a user needs to click on?

A: We showed a couple of screenshots. Here is a picture of a user landing on the Tactical Defense web site. In this case they might be coming from France so it is taking advantage of the knowledge in the request header that the person is coming from France and is likely interested in using the site in French. It gives this first time user the opportunity to pick whatever language preference they have and then it remembers it, so whenever they return to TacticalDefense.com it remembers the language preference of the user it was set on arriving on the site.

Q: Is it possible to integrate web analytics such as Google into the Chrome sites created by Global Nimbus?

A: Absolutely. Shawn, I don’t know if you want to address this but I know you use Google Analytics and you track your various sites independently.

Sure, we have three different sites set up right now. We have the Spanish, English and Portuguese. Basically it does require a tiny bit of code knowledge with Javascript so you can just change the analytics tracking code slightly so that it recognizes which translated site you’re on and applies the correct UA code for analytics. It’s a fairly simple process to track all three sites.

And Shawn, correct me if I’m wrong, but you made that change right in the Global Nimbus platform. Is that right?

That’s correct.

Q: When we update our Miva site in English, will the changes automatically update in all the different languages at the same time?

A: That’s a great question. The answer is yes, it will update in all the different languages. Essentially the platform automatically detects changes on the origin site and most of your cases will be the English version of the site. Basically no matter how the content appears on your site, the platform simply needs to see it once, it then translates it and stores it and will redisplay it whenever the sentence or phrase is used on a page in the future and it also flows into the system and allows you to edit that and if you have language skills and want to say that differently, you can modify the translation and it will then display that particular translation anytime that content is redisplayed in the future.

Q: What is the fulfillment center in Tampa called? Would they be able to provide additional customer service for International clients?

A: So Tom, I’m going to give that question to you since you are familiar as a client of Bongo. If you’re able to answer that question great, and if not maybe you can point them to someone who can.

Well, they do and they don’t. They have two facilities that ships to overseas. One in the Pacific and we use the one in Tampa. Their interface basically is with the different banks. For example in Australia they use the kiwi card. In different countries some payments are more popular than others. When it comes to your actual order fulfillment, they are going to take care of all that. So if there’s a problem with a product the end customer will be speaking with someone from Bongo. Once the order is placed with us and Bongo fulfills the order, from there on out, if there’s any issues with payments or returns, that all goes through Bongo.

Q: My company currently ships to over eighty countries, I have my own fulfillment center that does all of the shipping via USPS and Fedex. My site is Miva Merchant. How hard would it be to incorporate Global Nimbus?

A: It’s very very easy. If you go to www.globalnimbus.com/miva and go through the sequence of steps that Joe showed, which is basically pick the markets that you want to deploy on and in approximately two minutes you can begin the process, it will automatically translate your site into whatever language or languages that you choose and that process happens automatically. It takes between an hour and eight hours and once that initial process has happened you end up with a site that looks very much like the buddybeds site that we just saw a moment ago in Japanese and Spanish. I know Joe did that either last night or this morning once we had a final list of attendees. What did you do to it Joe other than click a button?

That’s it, literally. So the answer to the question is it’s very easy to simply go to www.globalnimbus.com/miva, pick your markets, fill in your information and you’re off and running.

Q: How does it work when you’re sending emails to your customers? Can Global Nimbus translate mass emails such as newsletters?

A: I mentioned before about the api as a way to pull translation out of the technology, but I don’t think I would recommend that in this case. Typically the newsletters that I’m most familiar with are generally written in html, can be hosted on a site, you can send out an email that is in English and at the top provide a hyperlink that launches the translated version in a browser. That would be the easiest, most common way I’ve seen folks support newsletters in multiple languages. In terms of emails you can pull content directly out of Global Nimbus using the platform and you can write and translate your email, maintain three different lists, you can also create an email version that has the English version with a hyperlink at the top that has a jump to the Japanese or Spanish versions, that would be a common way to do it simply and easily. There are a number of options I’m trying to quickly give you. We’re happy to engage further with you if you’d like.

Q: Do you have to see the screen showing now, so English speakers will have to click on English instead of landing on the English page directly?

A: No, this language chooser pop up is designed to not display for first time visitors if there’s no reason to believe they found your site in any other language than English. So this window typically would not pop up if you’re sitting in a place that is typically English speaking with your browser language, preferences set accordingly coming from sites that are English speaking sites. So the underlying question is does everyone need to flow through this funnel and the answer is no. It’s only intended to get in front of people for whom it’s likely that they have an interest in an alternate language site.

Q: Do I need a special code to get my site going?

A: The answer is no, you simply need to go to GlobalNimbus.com/miva. This is a site specifically set up for Miva users.

Q: Earlier someone mentioned uploading an SSL Certificate. Is an additional SSL Certificate required for each language site.

A: That’s a great question. Typically our clients set up the alternate language sites under a sub domain which means that it’s under a domain that you own so it’s very easy to create the entry that creates traffic to that site. The SSL Certificate, if you own a wildcard ssl certificate, that is all you need. So you simply upload that wildcard SSL. If you don’t own a wildcard SSL, the tool walks you through the process of obtaining an additional SSL Certificate or Certificates required for your translated website to also be secure for users.

Q: If our industry has fairly specialized terms for some items, is there a way to effectively get the software to recognize those English terms and use the appropriate word to translate into, which is in some case the English word, but not always?

A: The answer is yes. The tool allows you to do that. So a typical challenge is Brand names. So I’ll use “The North Face” which is a combination of three English words which if translated independently would not lead you to believe this was a brand name. So in the tool you would upload all of those specific terms and you can dictate the translation that you require. What’s interesting about the tool, even if you do that after it has translated your site, it will retroactively revise the translation for you to accommodate those words you later want to figure out like if you forgot you wanted to translate The North Face. Once you discover it you can fix it very very easily through the tool.

Q: We have local phone numbers in other nations. Could we modify each and every language version with language specific information?

A: The simple answer is yes. I didn’t go deep into the demo but the idea is, once we’ve built and provisioned your alternate language site, you can then customize them each individually to show different potential messages and phone number for a support line or potentially even if you wanted a different marketing or promotional message you can swap those in and out all in the different languages. For example, in English you might have a certain 1-800 number but for your European sites perhaps you’re going to want an international phone number and all that can be done with Global Nimbus.

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