An e-vendor must be concerned with the following issues;
The preceding articles on culture should be overlooked when doing business over the Web. The Web site and the product must be culturally neutral or adapted to fit the uniqueness of a market because culture does matter. In Japan, the pickiness of Japanese consumers about what they buy and their reluctance to deal with merchants at a distance must be addressed when marketing on the Web. Even a Japanese language site can offend Japanese sensibilities. As an e–commerce consultant warns in a product description you wouldn’t say do not turn the knob left because that’s too direct. Instead you would say something like: It would e much better to turn the knob to the right. To many Europeans American sites come off as having too many bells and whistles because European sites are more consumer oriented. The different cultural reactions to color can be a potential problem for Web sites designed for global markets. While red may be highly regarded in China or associated with love in the United States, in Spain it is associated with socialism. The point is that when designing a Web site, culture cannot be forgotten.
Ideally, a Web site should be translated into the languages of the target markets. This may not be financially feasible for some companies but at least the most important pages of the site should be translated. Simple translation of important pages is only a stopgap, however, If companies are making a long term commitment to sales in another country, Web pages should be designed (in all senses of the term – color, use features etc) for that markets. One researcher suggests that if a Web site does not have at lest multiple languages company is losing sales. It is the company’s responsibility to bridge the language and cultural gap, the customer will not bother – he or she will simply go to a site that speaks his or her language. As discussed earlier culture does count and as competition increases a country specific Web site may make the difference between success and failure.
Companies fully committed to foreign markets are creating virtual offices abroad they buy server space and create mirror sites, whereby a company has a voice mail or fax contact point in key markets. Foreign customers are more likely to visit sites in their own country and in the local; language. In Japan, where consumers seem particularly concerned about the ability to easily return goods, companies may have outlets where merchandise can be returned ad picked up. These so called click and mortar models have gained a large following:
The consumer should be able to use a credit card number – by e-mail (from a secure page on the Websites) by fax, or over the phone.
For companies operating in the United states surface postal delivery of small parcels is most cost effective but takes the longest time. For more rapid but more expensive deliveries, Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and other private delivery services provide delivery worldwide. For example Tom Clancy’s bestseller executive Orders shipped express to Paris from Seattle based Amazon.com would cost a reader $55.52. The same book delivered in 4 to 10 weeks via surface mail costs $25.52 which is a substantial savings over the cost of the book in a Paris bookstore where it sells for $35.38.
Once sufficient volume in a country or region is attained container shipments to free trade zones or bonded warehouses can be used for distribution of individual orders via local delivery services within the region. These same locations can also be used for such after same services as spare parts, defective product returns, and supplies. Companies such as FedEx UPS and similar small package delivery services also have overseas storage and fulfillment centers for individual orders that e-commerce companies can use to provide faster and less costly in country delivery.
Although the Web is a means of promotion if you are engaging in e-commerce you also need to advertise your presence and the products or services offered. How do you attract visitors form other countries to your Web site? The same way you would at home – except in the local language. Search engine registration press releases local newspapers and forums mutual links and banner advertising are the traditional methods. A site should be seen as a retail store, with the only difference between in and a physical store being that the consumer reviews over the Internet instead of on foot.