Thinking of expanding your POS software into international markets? Great! As a global merchant services company, we can help you do that. We’re able to provide a single gateway integration that allows software companies to enter foreign markets without having to integrate with multiple new banks and acquirers.
But First …
When going into new markets, I always advise my clients to make sure you’ve done your due diligence. In a previous post, I talked about the first step to take before entering international markets. Please check out that post first if you haven’t.
My last post covered specific considerations to take into account before global expansion.
There’s a bit more I wanted to cover, so let’s get into it and complete our list of key considerations.
1. Regional and Cultural Payment Preferences
Payment preferences are very different in different countries. You’ll want to know the common practices in the country you’re expanding into.
For instance, did you know, over 58% of online transactions that occur in Asia Pacific are done with alternative payment methods — not with standard credit cards or even direct debit?
In Asia Pacific, consumers pay with alternative payment methods like PayPal e-wallet services that are specifically geared towards specific regions.
Another example of payment differences: In Europe, especially in Germany, consumers prefer to set up direct debit for any transaction. Whether it’s their cable bill or gym membership, they are not accustomed to payment with a credit card. They prefer to use direct debit.
2. Consumer Behavior from a Consumption Perspective
You’ll want to consider different cultural differences when deciding which regions to expand into. For example, maybe you sell software used by fitness centers and are considering expanding to the Middle East-North African region. If one of those areas is primarily Muslim — which is one of the predominant religions in that region — you’ll want to consider making adaptations to your software to allow for cultural differences that would happen in a health club environment.
An example: you might want to provide the ability for women to have their own spaces or times to exercise without men present, and vice versa. You’ll likely want to account for that somewhere in your software so that the set-up of that software can include specific hours for specific groups that may need their own time.
3. International Fulfillment
If your product is typically sold domestically and you’re selling internationally, you’ll want to make sure your customer understands the logistics of shipping. Communicate the logistics by way of your marketing materials and website. Make sure the communication is clear and concise about what the fulfillment times are going to be, so that you set clear expectations.
4. Regulatory Issues
There are regulatory and legal issues to consider when moving into specific foreign markets. For example, the UK has specific, strict requirements to protect consumers from unauthorized charges. It takes a good while for a bank transfer to be authorized before you can begin debiting someone’s account.
If you want to debit someone’s account on the first of the month, that process needs to start anywhere from 10-14 days prior. There’s a customer mandate which is essentially the customer giving permission for you to debit their account and that must be submitted at some point 10-14 days prior to the day you want to debit their account.
Additionally, if consumers have an issue, you need to make sure everything is compliant. PCI compliance applies in all countries. Specific things about how customers will be charged needs to be communicated. If you are not a native speaker, you may need a website designer that can provide you a native language website and ongoing website support.
5. Legal Partner
It’s strongly recommended you hire legal counsel that can advise you to the nuances associated with moving into new international markets and make sure you’re following local laws of the region.
One international issue in some countries is that if you wish to process payments, you must have a local entity where mail can be sent and meetings can take place face to face with representatives of the company. This is particularly the case in the Middle East.
Yes, there’s a lot to consider before expanding internationally. And while this post and Part 1 of Key Considerations for POS Software Global Expansion give you a good starting point, it is by no means exhaustive.
However, I’m by no means trying to deter you from expanding. There’s much opportunity and business to be had when expanding globally. It’s just in your best interest to take the necessary steps to consider the entire picture along with the opportunity.
Many of Constellation Payments’ partners found integrating with our gateway more preferable than doing it themselves. With a single gateway integration, they were afforded access to multiple foreign markets and gained a partner already familiar with the payments landscape they were preparing to enter.
As always, if you have questions about our global payment capabilities or expanding your business into specific regions, feel free to give us a call at 888.248.7060 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going Global: How to Successfully Sell Your Software Internationally
Considering expanding to international markets? Request a copy of our 30-minute webinar for more tips and guidance on growing your base outside the U.S.