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eCommerce How-To

This page provides helpful business resources for various ecommerce sales channel-related processes, ranging from "how to develop a digital strategy" to "how to look up country taxes".

Are you looking for an ecommerce service provider to help you learn how to "ecommerce better"? Check out our eCommerce Business Service Provider Directory Digital Marketing section to see who can help you with Search Engine Optimization, Website Localization Services, Social Media Services, and even Translation Services.

Meet with your local International Trade Specialist for free 1 on 1 business counselling that will help you sell more online to overseas customers, and feel free to check out our US-to-overseas sales business matchmaking services that as a part of your ecommerce sales channel mix can help you sell online in-country more quickly.

How-to Style Business Resources for the Cross-Border eCommerce Sales Channel:

 

  • How to Internationalize Your Website- Making it clear to site visitors that you are open and capable of handling international sales is at the heart of website internationalization. A Website Globalization Review service from your local Trade Specialist is a great first step to internationalizing your website.
  • How to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- Search engine optimization (SEO) is the foundation of your website and all business decisions involving online sales.
  • How to Select an eCommerce Service Provider- The eCommerce Business Service Providers (BSP) Directory is intended to provide you an unbiased resource of business service providers that operate in or cater to the cross-border ecommerce sales channel.
    How to Export Video Series- Comprehensive video collection to help your small business become better equipped to enter the exciting exporting world.
  • How to figure Your eCommerce Return on Investment (ROI)- A helpful guideline for business growth targets and an indicator of when to explore new growth sources by providing general return-on-investments estimates
  • How to Find New Sales Segments in Overseas Markets- Provides an overview of exporting and discusses the different channels to consider when trading cross-borders. Information is provided by the U.S. Commercial Service.
  • How to Do Country-Specific Business Research- Market conditions, opportunities, regulations, and business customs for over 125 countries prepared by trade and industry experts at U.S. embassies worldwide.
  • How to Develop a Digital Strategy- Usability.Gov is the leading resource for user experience best practices and guidelines, serving practitioners and students in the government and private sectors. The site provides overviews of:
  1. User Experience Basics- Learn the basics of user experience by reading the overviews and understanding the benefits.
  2. Content Strategy Basics - Create useful and usable content by planning the creation, delivery and governance models behind it.
  3. Digital Strategy Methods- Develop a Project Plan, Project Team Roles and Responsibilities, Website Requirements.
  • How to Look up Duties & Taxes for Countries- CUSTOMS Info is offering free access to Global Tariff information for users of Export.Gov. Users of this free service can lookup country Tariff information for shipments originating in the United States. Users are required to register for access to this free service.
  • How to Take Advantage of US Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)- Each will FTA vary, and generally provide U.S. sellers with lower import duties, making it easier and cheaper to export products or services.
  • How to Submit a Privacy Shield Complaint- Many of your questions or concerns can be addressed most quickly by contacting the Privacy Shield organization directly.
  • How to Report a Trade Barrier/File a Complaint- The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance specializes in working with U.S. businesses to remove unfair foreign government-imposed trade barriers. If your business is facing such a barrier, please report it and our team of experts will investgate.
    Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the Un

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

eCommerce Definitions

The eCommerce Innovation Lab (EIL) views ecommerce as a sales channel, a horizontal business process that crosses all industries and businesses. If you have a website you are doing ecommerce- the question is how well are you doing it, and are you getting the ROI you can from it? eCommerce requires you to learn some new vocabulary, but your business approach should feel the same.

WHAT IS ECOMMERCE?

  • eCommerce is a sales channel that crosses all industries that sell or promote brand awareness online. eCommerce is a very effective sales channel in particular for overseas sales called "exporting".
  • eCommerce as a sales channel is part of a businesses’ digital strategy. Overseas sales require 1 on 1 export counseling, a free service to US businesses.

WHAT IS "CROSS-BORDER ECOMMERCE"?

Cross-border ecommerce is international ecommerce. It is literally "selling across a border using ecommerce", as opposed to the general concept of “ecommerce”.

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B2B ECOMMERCE

Business to business (B2B) ecommerce transactions are made between businesses, where a supplier sells in bulk

B2C ECOMMERCE

Business to consumer (B2C) is where a business sells its product directly to a customer, either directly from a company website or an online marketplace

What is an eCommerce Marketplace?

  • A third-party website that hosts vendor pages as online storefronts
  • Transactions are processed by the marketplace service provider/operator
  • A part of your ecommerce sales channel mix, along with your website, social media, and in-country partner/distributor with strong online presence.

What is an eCommerce Platform?

  • A series of software technologies that are integrated into a business's website
  • Allows a business to solicit products or services from their website to complete the sales cycle

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What is a Digital Strategy?

A digital strategy addresses the basic needs of a business required to succeed in cross-border ecommerce sales channels. Look around for reputable and helpful resources to help you understand abstract concepts such as internationalization/globalization from a business perspective as you work towards increasing your ROI from the ecommerce sales channel.

Understanding the eCommerce Transaction Process will help you to make the connection between the software and service providers that support it, however your eCommerce Sales Channel Mix may contain more than just your website as a channel for product/brand marketing and sales.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your online content that enables your site to be found when someone is searching online. Web analytics software serves to be the driving force in SEO- it provides you the information about how your site is viewed by search engines, so you can optimize that automated process on your end.

What eCommerce Regulations and Taxes are there?

  • U.S. Export Regulations still apply to ecommerce transactions
  • eCommerce Taxes & Regulations are not legally distinct from traditional point-of-sale transactions
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) & EU-U.S. Privacy Shield - All U.S. companies who are exporting to the European Union, marketing to EU citizens, or addressing inquiries from EU citizens for their products or services must comply with EU data privacy rules. The GDPR took effect May 25, 2018 and applies to all industry sectors. Register for recorded webinar on getting ready for GDPR” Please register here to watch a pre-recorded webinar (May 22, 2018).

Are you looking for an ecommerce service provider to help you navigate online tax and legal regulations? Check out our eCommerce Business Service Provider Directory Legal & Regulatory section to see who can help you with Export Compliance, Data Privacy, and even Intellectual Property Rights.
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

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