There are many industries where Australia has always maintained a strong presence when it comes to attracting international customers to local companies. Food, Wine and Resources are perhaps standouts attracting billions of international dollars to our shores. 

But in the last five years in particular digital technologies have broken down barriers for local business owners and the world is now a more open and accessible place when it comes to trading.

Australian companies like Atlassian, Shoes of Prey, Showpo, Disrupted and Billabong are all examples of companies that have taken advantage of the opportunities that now exist to market and sell to customers in other countries, and have all rapidly expanded their customer reach.

At the centre of all of this is technology, specifically online software that has enabled them to expand beyond Australian users and attract a rising number of international customers.

Nowadays all businesses should plan for international expansion from the very early stages of their business. Especially if those businesses operate in the ecommerce and retail sector.

According to research conducted by eMarketer in January 2015, local ecommerce sales are set to increase by 14.4% this year passing $10 billion.

In order to capitalise on the opportunity and attract international clients to your business, a company needs to have a really clear vision on its growth goals.

Do you want international customers in order to achieve the next level of growth, or do you need them in order to survive because servicing just the local market is too small from a revenue perspective to maintain development costs?

Being clear on this will help determine your go to market strategy.

It is relatively normal for companies launched nowadays to plan from day one to reach an international customer base. However as is the way with any business, flexibility is required. Plans change, market conditions change and the assumptions you made in original business plans may turn out to be incorrect.

A globally successful company that attracts international customers learns quickly that the same strategies and marketing plans do not necessarily translate across markets

For this reason, a founder of a business wanting to attract a global audience needs to make sure they can adapt quickly. It could mean adding new products or features targeted at a particular audience to get them buying from you, or adding new people to the business that understand the market better than you.

Opportunity and change go hand in hand. Business owners don’t have the luxury of time on their side anymore when it comes to deciding if they want a global customer base, if it is what you want, you need to start setting up the infrastructure to execute it, today.