Emerging markets, and their untapped potential, have captured the attention and imagination of businesses and governments at least as far back as the 1500s. England, Spain, France, China, and others sent explorers to North America, expecting to bring home untold riches, comprised of gold, silver, and other natural resources.
Five-hundred years later, not much has changed. Emerging markets in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East as well as in Asia and Eastern Europe continue to capture the imagination of businesses looking to expand their market share. With its millions of people and limited competition, businesses in mature markets are looking across borders and oceans to grow revenue and increase profits.
Today’s technologies, expanded online presence and a high technological adoption ratio in emerging markets has encouraged businesses to reach out across borders. However, such opportunities don’t come without challenges. For example, one software-as-a-service (SaaS) company spent months trying to expand to the Brazilian market. They updated their localisation files, and translated their entire offering into Portuguese and Spanish. They believed their software was perfect for people living in Brazil.
Today’s technologies, expanded online presence and a high technological adoption ratio in emerging markets has encouraged businesses to reach out across borders
However, the company immediately ran into logistical challenges. They wanted to hire local personnel but didn’t have the financial infrastructure needed to pay them. They ran into a similar complication trying to find a local host for their software, which would reduce download times. Making payments was proving to be a time-consuming hassle.
Instead, the company used a cloud hosting solution that based in their country and hired translators rather than local talent to develop their marketing plan. The result was a disaster. The website and advertising weren’t connecting with users. For those that did try to download the product, analytics showed consumers were abandoning their downloads because it took too long.
When the company did require making a payment to someone in Brazil, they discovered additional challenges. Without a local banking presence, making payments to their Brazilian vendors was a complex operation. Transaction delays often meant delays in getting projects moving, and high wire-transfer fees were eating into profits.
Expansion into emerging markets, even with a fully tested SaaS product, wasn’t going to be easy.
A Global Epidemic
SaaS companies aren’t the only ones struggling with cultural or international financial issues in emerging markets. Any international business working in multiple countries and currencies runs into a brick wall when they try to make or receive payments. Local banking institutions were never built to serve foreign companies. Furthermore, they lack the expertise and facilities needed to support seamless currency exchanges across borders.
From online services businesses to retail companies and financial institutions with global presence, all struggle with the international banking system that hasn’t kept up with the pace of technological change. For many businesses in the past, these financial complications even prevented international expansion.
Fortunately, technology and globalisation have joined forces to create new financial channels of opportunity for those businesses brave enough to traverse into emerging markets and meet those challenges.
Globalisation has made it easier than ever to connect with local talent. Rather than relying on translators to simply translate their existing marketing materials into multiple languages, businesses have the opportunity to find recommended local agencies, and outsource their marketing activities to a group that understands the market and the local culture.
Utilising local marketing talent can also open the door to local influencers.
Utilising local marketing talent can also open the door to local influencers. These influencers are capable of driving traffic to your site and expanding your reach to local online forums unknown to foreigners.
The result is a more effective marketing communication, which can easily be distributed to your target market through inbound digital marketing channels such as social media and search engine optimisation.
Existing banking practices allow for cross-border bank transfers but include onerous limitations which could cripple a business trying to expand. For starters, most banks limit the amount of money you can transfer at a time, particularly if you are doing the transfer online.
Transfer and currency exchange fees can become especially costly, particularly if you need to make multiple cross-border or small payments to different recipients in foreign currencies. Additionally, banks can impose delays for as long as a week before recipients have access to their funds.
To overcome all these challenges and pay your local vendors and employees, a new generation of technology-based banking services have disrupted legacy banking services. Business owners can now use online tools and utilise broad payment networks through their payment service provider (such as MoneyNetint) to quickly and easily make local currency payments from wherever they are to any country where they conduct business.
Working in multiple markets can be a currency nightmare. Your vendors require payments in their local currencies, while your customers pay you in a different currency. Eventually, much of that money is going to need to be transferred into your preferred currency to pay for expenses or salaries.
Exchanging all that money using traditional banking and forex channels will eat away at your margins through prohibitive fees and high exchange rates.
Look for an online e-wallet that allows you to easily manage all these different currencies and is very attentive to your exchange needs. Your online e-wallet should allow you to seamlessly exchange funds from one currency to the next without charging exorbitant exchange rates.
Pursuing Emerging Markets?
With a wealth of online tools available on the market today, there’s nothing to prevent your business from expanding into places you’ve only read about. Contact us to find out how MoneyNetint’s financial tools can help pave your path into markets all around the globe.