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Checklist: First Steps to Conduct E-Commerce

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The Internet’s global reach has made possible a cost-effective means for marketing products and services overseas. Companies that establish a corporate web site, which publicizes their products and services, provide an electronic mechanism for safe and secure electronic transactions, features order tracking, and lists products’ technical specifications can easily apply electronic commerce to international marketing.

Small- and medium-sized companies can marshal available resources to broaden market presence internationally by adopting some of these e-commerce or electronic business practices.

Step-by-Step Guide to Going Online

Use these steps as a guide to creating your website and marketing your company overseas using the Internet and key service providers.

1. Select a Domain Name

Selecting a domain name for your company's international website(s) is the first important decision you'll make and can potentially have significant marketing implications. As with domain names aimed toward the domestic market, a domain name for an online exporter's website should be short, simple, descriptive and memorable to customers in the target market.

2. Register at Search Engines

Help potential customers find your website by registering with the major search engines in the countries you wish to target. U.S. Commercial Service officers in your target market can help you identify popular local search engines. The Top Internet Markets FAQ provides answers to top Internet-use questions, e.g. how do I submit my company’s site to the most popular search engines in a foreign market? Is it necessary for the site to have the domain of the country? Are there any popular online marketplaces or auctions?

3. Choose a Web Host

Find a dependable web hosting service to house your localized website(s). Many hosting providers offer additional value-added services such as site maintenance, search registration, site development, etc.

4. Website Content – Localize and Internationalize

Target international customers by tailoring your website to local language and cultural tastes. Learn more about selling globally from your website with our blog “Global Web Experience: Localize and Internationalize”.

5. Execute Orders

Enable your customers to use a variety of payment options that meet local business practices and be aware of other considerations when doing international business such as taxes, shipping, customs duties, and after-sales service.

Download the U.S. Commercial Service Preparing Your Business for Global E-Commerce manual, which provides the information you’ll need to complete international sales and discusses how to integrate that information into your business operations from the very beginning of the sales-and-fulfillment process.

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