These days it is more important than ever to extend your selling reach. The National Retail Federation is predicting the slowest holiday sales since 2002. PayPal has a new resource for businesses, the Global Selling Guide, providing a variety of helpful information about 17 different countries to give you an edge selling anywhere you can.
With the Global Selling Guide you can find information on the country itself, consumer payment preferences, holiday traditions, customs, restricted items, tax considerations, holiday shopping behaviors, even recommended shipping carriers.
For example, there's this from the Austria page: "Take advantage of the fact that Austrians may have two holidays to shop for in a short timeframe. Present your shoppers with cross-selling offers that incorporate both small and big ticket items to increase the size of their orders." Or, in the Netherlands, the most popular online shopping day is Dec. 3, according to PayPal 2007 data, and it's November 11 in China. Also, "In many Catholic Central European countries, Santa Claus has nothing to do with Christmas. He visits families earlier, in the dawn of December 6, and brings candy bags for well-behaved children." So it's probably not a great idea to promote your Santa Claus wares in these areas after Dec. 6. Apparently, in China, Christmas is catching on in large urban centers like Beijing and Shangahai. PayPal recommends offering iconic Christmas items from the U.S. like "... Vermont maple syrup, candy canes or Christmas-themed clothing."
At any rate, learning a little about these places may help get that extra edge, even help you break into an entirely new market. As such, should you target a specific country or region, make sure that your site is ready. That includes optimized pages with translation, or pricing in local currency. It's also important to be able to accept different forms of payment. Of course, PayPal can help with that.
Editor's note: The website is a little slow right now, and seems to work best in Firefox.