How to launch your international brand into the U.S. marketplace. Hi, guys. I’m Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail. And if you’ve got a global brand that you want to take into the U.S. market, well, trust me, guys, it is not an easy feat. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the main ways you can start to think about launching your business into the U.S. market. Now, what’s so fascinating and amazing is if your brand has gained some notoriety on the global sphere, meaning you’re big in whatever country that you’re in and you’ve really dominated the logistics, you’ve dominated the press out there, then coming into the U.S. market becomes a little bit of an easier task simply because you might already have the press and relationship ties here domestically.
However, if you are a smaller brand that’s gained a little bit of notoriety internationally and you’re looking to step foot here in the U.S., there are a lot of things that you do need to take into consideration. And certainly, guys, and this has been so much fun and so interesting, but the brands that we’ve worked with globally that are looking to launch into the U.S. that even have multimillion dollar businesses still need to take a look at some of the very different ways in which the consumer psychographics and demographics are when pitching and presenting to this market.
So let’s unpack it a little bit more. So you’ve got to start to think about the demographics and psychographics of the U.S. market customer. Now, this can be difficult to do unless you’ve got an agency or a counterpart here in the U.S. to really help you understand what the key trends are that are really gaining a strong foothold in that consumer base. One thing that we’ve been noticing that’s been doing extremely well is when we’ve been doing advertising that pitches a product towards the lifestyle of a consumer rather than just transacting on the actual product.
So what does that mean? That means telling me, “Hey, this product is going to help add value to my life. It’s going to simplify my life. It’s going to be able to help me connect from A to Z as opposed to, “Hey, buy this product. It’s $9.99 or $12.99.” So that’s the first thing. Keep in mind, international markets are very different than the U.S. market. Similarly, if you have a brand in India that’s really gained strong dominance and foothold in that market but you’re looking to speak to a customer in Germany, you are going to have to understand what role your product and what the market perceived value is of the type of product and messaging that you’ve got. So the second thing to keep in mind guys is pricing.
Certainly, as we’re looking at brands that are huge in other markets, different pricing really means different things. When you enter the U.S. market, you’ve got to ask yourself, what is the price point that I want to be at and how does that service that particular brand demographics? For example, the second thing is we’ve got to start to think about your price points. Now, obviously as we take a look at global currency and exchange rates, it’s very clear. The U.S. dollar is stronger in some markets and it’s weaker in other markets. Similarly, the price points and what that means in your current domestic market could mean something different when it gets translated into the U.S. currency.
So you want to ask yourself, have I priced myself in my market to have the same kind of brand representation when I flip and convert that pricing? Or does it mean something else? What I started to notice is brands that we’re working with for the U.S. market entry are looking at creating diffusion lines. They’re looking at creating price points and products that are unique and specified to the U.S. market. The way that we look at assortment planning and merchandising and the way in which a price really dictates what the perceived value is, is really important to communicate.
So while you might have a luxury product in one market and be charging a higher price point for that market, when it converts to the U.S. market, it might be on the lower end of the spectrum. You have to ask yourself, “How do I not dilute the brand value?” Now, certainly, we’re moving to a more globalized marketplace. E-commerce sites need to be able to convert into multiple currencies, as well as being able to commit to things like international shipping. And also, guys, people travel a lot, so it’s not going to be as if someone’s not going to come to that country that you have your product and be able to find you there.
So as you’re looking to reposition and go global, it’s really important to ask yours, what are the customers that I am looking to capture? What do those price points need to be to commensurate with that brand value and with that perception that I want to achieve? Next, we’ve got to think about a strong brand value and communication strategy. So what does that mean?
Well, how are you going to communicate your brand values and what platforms are going to work for you? Again, the platforms that work in different countries are going to be different. For example, we just got finished working on an amazing project for the United Nations that was targeting the United States and Japanese markets. Well, guess what, these different markets are adapting to Instagram and Facebook and other social media platforms at different rates. That means that we have to structure our advertising strategy in order to capture those platforms that are strong in that market.
So ask yourself, as you’re approaching the U.S. market, what are the platforms that my demographic is really adapting to? How can I focus and hone in on that rather than try to be everywhere at once? You don’t need to be on Twitter and Facebook and Snapchat and Pinterest and Instagram, you simply need to be on the one or two platforms that are really going to get your communication and messaging across.
Now, this does mean you may need to take a closer look at the communication strategy, at how often you’re producing content, make sure you have a native writer and someone who’s able to write copies, so you can capture the nuances and the language. And then lastly, guys, make sure that the images that you’re putting out there are strong and specific. You don’t want to miss the boat here. Simply taking images and throwing them online are not going to be the ways in which you really get to capture your customer. Think about the branded values. Think about what’s so amazing about your business being global that is really going to capture the hearts and minds and pocketbooks of the consumer in the U.S.
Now, lastly, we’ve got to think about your strategic partnerships. This, I think, is so critical to your success. Your strategic partnerships can be in the form of logistics and distribution centers. These are the people who are your counterparts on the ground in the U.S. who are going to be able to help you fulfill orders. You might also want to think about having a customer service rep that is going to be local for you as well here in the U.S.
Why is that important? Well, you certainly want to be able to service people during the operating hours that they want to be serviced and that they might have their most common problems and issues. And if you’re selling wholesale, it really helps for those people who are buying from you to have someone local who could manage things like customs and duties, and making sure that the product is coming from the manufacturer to the U.S. mainland by having a good counterpart there to keep an eye on process and flow. When you even think about logistics on wholesale like chargebacks or things like discounts or markdowns or wanting to have someone who can be in alignment with the key holidays and cadences that are happening here in the U.S., having someone who’s here who understands that market is going to be critical.
All right, guys, good luck with your U.S. market entry strategies. We are certainly here to help. We are so privileged to be able to help companies launch here domestically as well as to help businesses launch and scale internationally. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure that you check out our blog and the rest of our YouTube videos. And make sure you check out our blog and amazing YouTube videos for lots of different content on how to launch, scale, and grow your retail business. And don’t forget, guys, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. We are where you are. Thanks for watching. Bye.
There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to selling internationally. Ready to take your business to the next level? Download your free copy of “Going Global”, take ample notes and spring into action!