It is certainly an intriguing question. Many try to do it, in a way. But it does not seem to work for everybody. However, imagine how effective you can become if most of your clients arrive online.
During the last few years it has become reality to find buyers online, as technology has become easier to understand for everybody. Exporters can showcase their products via photos and videos. Communication has become fast and cheap.
How Did Exporter Find Buyers Before the Internet Age
Basically it was all about meeting people in person. Before the internet, finding buyers mainly worked by going to trade fairs and through personal contacts. You just had to participate in the trade show. Partners had to see each other before getting into cooperation. People had to meet. Dine and talk. Phone conversations were irreplaceable.
Personal match did play a role in business cooperation. Human factor is fatal in sales, the product might be great but if the support and communication lacks, selling internationally will be hard. And it works vice versa too. You might have an average product, but business terms and support is wonderful.
Seeing the foreign business partner’s facility for a customer can assure you have a strong partner. Otherwise the client might be buying from the trader. This is risky for the buyer, and they don’t want to do it. This means orders are slow to arrive. Communication is slow and unprofessional. And typically buyers will pay more. Business can be unstable.
Try the product in action
Nobody has the cuts to buy pig in the bag. Buyers had to see and touch the products. To try the product out. See the selection and different options. Many times some models, or product developments don’t reach into the product catalogues. How on earth importers can know this, if an exporter is located in the distant country. But when buyer visits a company and sees everything manufacturer has done, interesting synergy might happen.
Also, if an exporter has established a brand, the publicity does wonders. Traditional journalism and advertisement. When a brand has passed certain threshold, importers and wholesalers start talking about it. If the exporter is in picture, and has the public knowledge it is a huge advantage. Social proof was and is a huge factor in finding foreign buyers.
How Can Exporter Find International Buyers on the Internet
All the phenomenas described above are still present. Buyers and importers are humans with aboriginal instincts. Now the goal is to replace physical presence using internet. Using internet you can: find businesses, meet people, demonstrate your product, and show social proof. Delivery costs have dropped considerably, it is easier to send samples nowadays.
Meeting businesses and people
Most of the businesses are present in the virtual world, it is not always easy to find everybody, but exporters, suppliers and manufacturers are there. Today when buyer starts looking for exporting supplier they go online. Period.
Video and skype calls have arrived to stay in replacing physical meetings. Instant messaging is a new norm, exporter can clearly express themselves to foreign buyers without accent. Send photos and videos instantly. Due to rapid technology development buyers and sellers are adapting to the new age. Maybe for old generation it is hard to come by. But for millennials it is working, when they enter the workforce they will utilise the new ways of communication in doing business.
Demonstrate products on the screen
Via internet the supplier can do much better in demonstrating its products. Smelling and touching senses are not there, but buyers can get a very good idea of the product they are dealing with. It is also essential for the buyers to check videos, pictures and descriptions from different sources. Not only from company’s home page. Typically it is idealised there. Buyers and importers can find reference of the products easier nowadays, thanks to internet. Clients can order samples. Faster and cheaper.
Social proof on the web
Internet is built for social networking. It is easy for the clients and international buyers to search the web for background check. Exporter can generate 3rd part reviews for itself. However, it is very difficult to hide your reputation when your products sucks. In media room online ads are totally replacing the old media channels, it is much easier to communicate products with interactive media.
What Are the Challenges in Using Internet to Find International Buyers
For many foreign businesses it is uncomfortable to phone, especially video call and speak in foreign language. People are still not comfortable with technology. It is common to lose the skype password, people can’t open a file in an app, email goes to spam folder, etc. If a foreign purchase manager walks into a room, he is there are things are taken care of. Adapting to new normal takes time. It is much easier for millennials, who are used to take selfies, they are constantly online, messaging and watching video clips.
A study says we draw a decision within first few seconds when we see something. It also holds when people see your product online, your face in skype call, hear your voice on the phone. You need to keep these details in mind.
When demonstrating a product online to a foreign buyer, smelling and touching instincts are not present on the screen. But it is possible to explain the product to great extent. Actually you could do better presenting the product on the screen than in the showroom. You control what you are showing and you can fine tune everything to want your customers to see and hear. 3Rd party reviews are important to utilise.
As discussed web is like a social chalkboard, everyone can write there. This means a lot of information is gathered regarding a subject. Influence abuse and fake news has become a problem. But if the exporter is putting up a good work the general public will reflect that online.
Conclusion. Buyers Go Online to Find Exporters.
It is a fact everybody goes online to find solutions. This holds true for international sales as well.
World is moving towards more efficient ways of solving problems. It certainly works.
If you are looking for ways to present your product online, to increase exports, this is the general guideline:
1. Generate personal and detailed material about your business and products to showcase online.
2. Target international clients (businesses) with paid ads, direct contact and contextual content.
3. Get importers attention.
4. Use personal and supportive communication (video call, etc).
5. If businesses don’t buy in the first attempt, keep them informed regarding your developments.
Now. Exporters can do it by themselves, or hire different specialists (copywriter, designer, marketer, programmer, etc). Internet is saturated with the information and services to make it work for you.
You can also leave everything on our shoulders. Sneico offers full sales office service.