FSM Media

by Dianna Ranere

Important Things To Know In Business When Working With Other Countries And Cultures

Are you in retail? Do you provide goods to customers across the country and around the world? If so, you need to know the ins and outs of dealing with multicultural regulations and guidelines. Understanding the cultural differences and many languages your business will work with is essential. Here are a couple of things to know for your business to thrive.

Understand Shipping Guidelines

Having a customer come to your store to pick up an item they purchased is an easy transaction to accomplish in business. Shipping your products to different zip codes and countries is quite another thing. When you begin to offer your goods on a broader scope, you need to understand the guidelines for transporting the items, such as learning the answers to questions like how long does UPS International shipping take?  

Along with learning shipping timelines, being aware of customs guidelines, import and export taxes, and other business practices that impact the transportation of goods across state lines and between countries is critical. You need this knowledge to stay within your posted and guaranteed shipping timelines. Your customers depend on it, and so does your business.

Some countries and cultures look at packaging differently or require specific types and formats for inner and outer package specifications. Colors, typeface, and materials may be mandated, as well. In some states, such as California, for example, there is greater awareness from officials and consumers about what materials go into packaging and products. When some items are sold in that state, there are requirements about labeling them for consumer information and awareness.

Be Aware of Cultural Differences

When working with customers or suppliers from different countries, you can expect cultural differences to come up from time to time. Take note, however, that this can occur within your own country, too. The world is a diverse place with multitudes of cultures, different backgrounds, and varying life experiences coming together. Unique perspectives lend themselves to potential misunderstandings but also enhance interactions and new information.

If you come across a language barrier, enlist the services of an interpreter or translator. Your customers will appreciate your attention to their needs. This personal touch goes a long way towards creating a loyal and returning customer. Offering your products for sale in an international market means you will communicate with customers in different languages. 

As you review your social media feed, emails, and other communications, note the languages your consumers conduct business in. Always try to connect with them in their language, if your interpretation services allow. Otherwise, if you have a large volume of Spanish speakers, for example, consider adding an option at the top of your site for a quick turnover from English to Spanish. To further the example, hiring a Spanish-speaking social media staff member to connect with people and answer questions in their language will show you care for their unique differences and that they matter as they are.

Here is a video on understanding the importance of cultural competence.

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Take steps today to bring cultural awareness into your everyday business practices. Understand international guidelines and shipping procedures so your goods can reach the people who want them when they cannot visit your store.