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Sell to International Customers

     One powerful thing about internet is people from all over the world can see your web site. Make sure to sell to those international customers.


     Your online form should be designed for international users. For example, many order forms have a nice drop down menu of the 51 US state codes, but reject non-US addresses. Also, the forms reject phone numbers that are different than the 10-digit, North American format, 555-555-5555. Each country has its own format; if your form only takes your home county's format, international users cannot order your products. Give your forms flexibility for different local address and contact information.


     Having a multilingual website attracts more customers from all over the world. If you want to do this, using UTF-8 encoding is the best bet. It is the only encoding type that allows you to display multiple languages on the same page. (Most likely, that's why all major international search engines -- Google, Yahoo, and MSN -- use UTF-8.) And, you don't have to worry about compatibility. UTF-8 is supported by both the Mac and Windows operating systems, and most Internet software like FireFox, IE, Outlook, Thunderbird, do too. Keep in mind, some cell phones do not support UTF-8. If you are making content specially for cellphones, you need to check on this.


     When you give size of your products, show them in different measurements, i.e. for shoe size, US 8, UK 7-1/2, Japan 26, or for length, 5 inch and 13 cm. You should not expect all of your customers to be able to convert measurements correctly on their own. You may think these are "just measurements," but giving these conversions will greatly reduce the return/exchange rates for your products and increase your customers' satisfaction.

© December, 2006