With the advent of the web comes fantastic opportunities for a global audience – but is it as easy as selling in your home market?
We have compiled a ‘Top 10 List of Things To Think About’ when selling abroad.
1. Do your homework –Understand what is involved, how it impacts on your business and how much it will cost you.
2. Make sure your online store is mobile/tablet friendly – mobiles devices are fast becoming the preferred method of shopping.
3. Take into account local languages. Don’t rely on search engines to translate your website – you might not be saying what you think you are!
4. Do your market research and understand cultural nuances. For example, different countries have different payment preferences – eg. the Germans prefer bank transfer, we prefer paying by card.
5. Using the marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay is a good way to test your international sales opportunities.
6. Read the Consumer Rights Directive (June 2104) which covers aspects such as returns policies to acceptable website wording when a customer places an order (See our blog of 2 June 2014 for full details).
7. Know your international VAT obligations! There are differences depending on whether you are selling goods or services to consumers. Find out what applies to you and make sure you keep abreast of changes in legislation.
8. Be aware there are VAT registrations thresholds and different VAT rates in each EU country. Know which ones relate to your business. Late or non-compliance can result in penalties or fines from the EU tax authorities.
9. Get the right accounting systems in place to capture the information needed to fulfil all your VAT compliance obligations.
10. Don’t be put off. There are experts to help for every part of the process from website localisation to delivery to help with your international VAT compliance needs.
The opportunities and profit which follows usually far outweigh any additional costs involved in reaching your global audience.
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All that’s left is to wish you every success with your international expansion plans!