How to measure the success of an international expansion

Measuring business success in your native territory can be difficult, so how do you get started monitoring your impact after an international expansion? Keep reading to discover how arming yourself with the right data can support your progress.

24 May 2023 Jason Kaye

4 min

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Going global in business is no easy task. Even retail giants like Walmart and Home Depot have failed to succeed in international markets. That’s why data is key to understanding your new audience and measuring success when expanding into new territories. 

Keep reading to discover the key performance indicators (KPIs) you must monitor when implementing an international expansion.

Establish your international expansion goals

Firstly, you need to think about the end game. Without defining set goals, you cannot possibly measure success. So, before you begin expansion, having clear objectives for your business to work towards is priority number one.

For example, you could be a well-known business in your native country with great brand recognition and high levels of customer loyalty. Maybe you’ve already achieved a few sales in other countries through partnerships or media coverage. 

Here, your goals could focus on growing your existing international customer base – including retaining as many repeat customers as possible and increasing customer loyalty. 

However, if you’re looking to expand into a totally new market, you’ve never sold to before — your goals should be concentrated on increasing reach and brand awareness. From there, the customers will come.

Measuring where you’re hitting against your defined goals requires continuously analyzing the right data. Read on to discover some of the main indicators your business should track to understand your business performance in new countries.

How to start measuring business success

1. Website traffic/visits

Monitoring website traffic is vital to understanding the number of people visiting your site and how many are converting from browsers to customers. Typically, the more traffic your website receives, the better. More people are looking at your site, exploring your services or products, and hopefully, buying them.

Keep an eye on the number of visits vs sales, otherwise known as your conversion rate (CR). The average website conversion rate across industries is 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. If you receive a lot of traffic but have a low conversion rate, there’s a problem somewhere. Perhaps your product descriptions or images must be more compelling, or your price points aren’t hitting the mark. 

If you’re selling products on your website, you should use tools such as Google Analytics or Power BI to track website performance. 

If you’re using other sites/marketplaces to sell your products (such as Etsy, Alibaba, or AliExpress), you can use the platform’s insights tools to get viewing and conversion figures. 

Again, if you see that the conversion rate is low, then you may want to try the following:

  • Updating product copy and photos
  • Making your prices more competitive
  • Offering faster shipping (if possible)
  • Speeding up the checkout process (the fewer clicks needed to buy, the better)

You should monitor these figures monthly to understand when things are working and whether improvements could be made to sell to this new market.

2. Repeat purchases 

The ultimate aim for any business is to keep customers coming back. That’s why tracking repeat purchases is key to understanding customer loyalty. This metric is known as customer lifetime value (CLV). 

Improving CLV is a long-term game involving building trust with your audience through the right messaging and customer service. Another way to enhance CLV could be through offering loyalty programs or incentives. For example, provide previous customers with bonus content, extra goods or special deals alongside your products to give you an edge over competitors.

3. Social media followers

We live in a digital society where 80.9% of Americans use social media. Getting your products noticed on social media could help you tap into an entirely new audience. 

Building your social media presence and increasing your followers can improve brand recognition and showcase what sets you apart from the competition. You can also reach a global audience far more quickly.

It’s simple to monitor follower totals – social media platforms have built-in insights sections where you can keep track of growth.

Once you start building a follower base, you can also monitor the engagement your posts receive. Working on increasing comments, likes, shares, and the reach of a post will boost consumer engagement and loyalty in the new market.

Many businesses have separate social pages for different territories. Consider starting new brand pages for each expansion territory; this will help you keep close track of your brand awareness goals. 

4. Brand impressions

Brand impressions are the number of unique people who see your brand name, content, or ads. 

These metrics are a little harder to track, as your brand won’t always be mentioned alongside your products. If you’re selling on another platform, such as Amazon, customers might refer to the platform’s name rather than yours. 

However, you can gauge impressions by finding the number of links to your website, your views on social media, or features in digital publications. 

The more exposure your products and brand name get online, the more likely your brand awareness is growing amongst the individuals in the community you’re targeting. 

You can use digital tools to help you quantify impressions, or you can make it a soft KPI, where you monitor general exposure without exact figures.

5. Revenue sources

When expanding into new territories, knowing which products are selling well in which regions is crucial. Again, you can use your analytics platforms such as Google Analytics or your selling platform insights tool, to see where your revenue comes from.

First, look at the countries (if you have the data available). This will tell you if you are increasing sales in the expansion location. Set realistic targets so you can grow steadily without overextending your resources. Though “going viral” would mean a revenue boost short term, it doesn’t equate to long-term success in a country.

Second, look at the pages which are bringing in the most revenue. Specific products may be selling more effectively than others in certain countries. Use this information to propel your product development and create sales strategies for even more success in your new location.

Zyla can help your business reach new waters

To expand internationally, you must consider how you’ll send and receive overseas payments. Things can often get expensive when funds cross borders and currencies, need converting. Zyla’s online payment platform is designed to help US businesses make and receive global payments like a local.

We’re a leading international payments provider that’s highly experienced in B2B trading. We want to make it easier for businesses to broaden their horizons, master new marketplaces and expand their supplier network – all from a single platform. 

With a Zyla Account, you can open multiple local currency accounts for free, making it easier to pay partners, suppliers and staff. So, whether you’re buying products from overseas or organizing shipping, the Zyla Account’s got you covered. Open an account today and you could be approved, set up and trading internationally in 24 hours. Get started or find out more by calling (855) 797-3366 today.