7 Tips for B2B and B2C Export Management
Exporting your products or services to other countries can be a great way to grow your business and reach new markets. But it also comes with some challenges and risks that you need to manage carefully. Whether you are selling to other businesses (B2B) or directly to consumers (B2C), you need to have a clear strategy and plan for your export activities. Here are some tips to help you succeed in B2B and B2C export management.
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Know your target market
Before you start exporting, you need to do some research on the market you want to enter. What are the needs, preferences, and behaviors of your potential customers? What are the cultural, legal, and regulatory differences that might affect your sales? How competitive is the market and what are your unique selling points? You can use online tools, market reports, trade fairs, and local contacts to gather this information.
Choose the right distribution channel
Depending on your product or service, you might need to work with intermediaries such as agents, distributors, wholesalers, or retailers to reach your customers. Or you might be able to sell directly through your own website, e-commerce platform, or social media. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each option and find the best fit for your business model, budget, and goals.
Adapt your marketing mix
You might need to adjust your product, price, promotion, and place strategies to suit the specific needs and expectations of your target market. For example, you might need to modify your product features, packaging, or labeling to meet local standards or preferences. You might need to set a different price point based on the market demand, competition, and costs. You might need to use different promotional channels or messages to reach and persuade your customers. And you might need to optimize your website or e-commerce platform for local languages, currencies, and payment methods.
Manage your logistics and operations
Exporting involves a lot of planning and coordination of the physical movement of goods from one country to another. You need to consider factors such as transportation modes, shipping costs, delivery times, customs procedures, taxes, duties, insurance, documentation, and quality control. You also need to ensure that you have enough inventory, production capacity, and staff to meet the demand and fulfill the orders.
Build strong relationships
Exporting is not a one-time transaction but a long-term process that requires trust and communication between you and your customers, partners, and suppliers. You need to establish and maintain good rapport with them by providing excellent customer service, feedback, support, and after-sales care. You also need to respect the cultural norms and etiquette of the country you are dealing with and avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts.
Monitor your performance and feedback
Exporting is a learning experience that requires constant evaluation and improvement. You need to track and measure your results using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales volume, revenue, profit margin, customer satisfaction, retention rate, market share, and return on investment (ROI). You also need to collect and analyze feedback from your customers, partners, and suppliers using surveys, reviews, testimonials, or social media. Based on this data, you can identify what is working well and what needs to be changed or improved.
Seek professional help if needed
Exporting can be complex and challenging for any business owner or manager. You might not have all the skills, knowledge, or resources to handle everything on your own. That’s why it’s important to seek professional help if needed from experts such as export consultants, trade associations, government agencies, or international organizations. They can provide you with valuable advice, guidance, support, training, or funding for your export activities.
Exporting can be a rewarding and profitable way to expand your business horizons and reach new customers in different countries. But it also requires careful planning and management of various aspects such as market research, distribution channels, marketing mix, logistics, operations, relationships, performance, and feedback.
By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success in B2B and B2C export management and grow your business globally.
B2B and B2C: Global Demand Trends
The global ecommerce market is expected to total $5.7 trillion in 2022, with a significant share coming from B2B and B2C transactions. These two segments have different characteristics, challenges and opportunities, but both are influenced by the rapid changes in technology, customer behavior and competition.
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B2B ecommerce refers to the online selling of products or services between businesses, such as wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers and retailers. B2B ecommerce is estimated to be over five times larger than B2C ecommerce, reaching $17.9 trillion in 2021. B2B ecommerce is driven by the need for efficiency, cost reduction, convenience and personalization. Some of the trends that shape the B2B ecommerce market are:
- The adoption of omnichannel strategies, which enable B2B buyers to interact with sellers through multiple channels, such as in-person, remote and self-service. According to a McKinsey survey, the more channels a sales organization deploys, the bigger the market share gains.
- The emergence of new business models, such as marketplaces, platforms and subscription services, which offer more choice, transparency and value to B2B buyers. For example, Amazon Business, Alibaba and Shopify are some of the leading B2B marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers across industries and regions.
- The increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI), big data and cloud computing, which enable B2B sellers to optimize their operations, enhance their customer experience and create new sources of competitive advantage. For example, AI can help B2B sellers with demand forecasting, pricing optimization, product recommendation and customer service.
B2C ecommerce refers to the online selling of products or services directly to consumers, such as individuals or households. B2C ecommerce is expected to grow by 9.7% in 2022, reaching $3.8 trillion. B2C ecommerce is driven by the demand for convenience, variety and personalization. Some of the trends that shape the B2C ecommerce market are:
- The shift to mobile commerce, which accounts for more than half of the global B2C ecommerce sales. Mobile commerce offers consumers the ability to shop anytime, anywhere and on any device. Mobile commerce also enables new forms of engagement, such as social commerce, voice commerce and augmented reality.
- The rise of cross-border ecommerce, which allows consumers to access products and services from other countries and regions. Cross-border ecommerce is expected to account for 22% of the global B2C ecommerce sales by 2023. Cross-border ecommerce offers consumers more choice, lower prices and access to niche products.
- The growing importance of sustainability and social responsibility, which influence consumers’ purchasing decisions and preferences. Consumers are increasingly looking for products and services that are environmentally friendly, ethically sourced and socially impactful. B2C sellers need to demonstrate their commitment to these values through their branding, marketing and operations.
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