Expand Cross-Border E-Commerce Through Greater Cultural Understanding
Gone are the days of a local shopping center or department store serving one community. Today, e-commerce sales grow at the astounding rate of 20% each year, increasing even more during the pandemic when stay-at-home orders were all the rage. Add to that the leveling power of social media, where influencers promote brands and products on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, and you have the perfect economic conditions for a powerful international e-commerce strategy.
The greatest thing about these social media marketing campaigns is that viral products can cross borders. These social media marketing campaigns can lead to an expanded consumer base. Yet doing so creates opportunities for sales teams to recognize the diversity within a global audience.
To bring in loyal customers, a sales strategy needs to cater to the audience’s needs and background. Globalization has made e-commerce a dominating force in today’s economy, and effective sales teams need to understand the cultures of where they’re selling. As such, the following three key takeaways can help your business develop a global sales plan that leverages audience culture and diversity for increased cross-border e-commerce success.
1. Identify who your target audience is.
A marketing campaign without a clear idea of who you’re selling to isn’t going to get very far. Don’t attempt to aim your company toward “the world”; instead, the focus demographic should be kept distinct and specific. For example, a company specializing in high-end vegan leather handbags will probably specify its key market as “ethically conscious women, ages 24 -45.” That might not go far enough, and a good sales team must narrow its audience even further.
The following are strategies to help you further identify your target audience.
• Analyze market demographics.
Thankfully, due to the explosion of AI, website analytics, and social media data, a wealth of information is available to help you further target your desired audience. Utilize these resources and tools to fully understand who your audience is and what they’re searching for online.
For smaller businesses without an in-house research team, analyzing market information might need to be hired out to an independent agency or service; however, gathering data is well worth the expense. These resources can give powerful insights into the spending power of a demographic or what keywords your target consumer uses when searching for a product.
• Check in with the competition.
Don’t be afraid to do a friendly market scope and see who your competition is. By understanding your competition’s audience and marketing strategies, you can focus on differentiating your brand from competitors while remaining attractive to critical consumers.
Suppose your competition succeeds with a particular product or within a specific region; your competitor’s success offers an excellent opportunity to see how you can increase sales in those areas. While there will always be some overlap in customers, trying to keep yourself distinct in the consumer’s mind is essential.
• Conduct surveys.
It’s essential to utilize customer feedback at all stages of the sales process. You can conduct targeted surveys to solicit information about the entire purchasing process and use the feedback to ensure your e-commerce processes meet customer needs. Refrain from relying on market research alone and instead use analytics to guide your client research.
Remember that surveys can be given to market feedback groups outside your usual demographic when identifying a potential audience. Discovering a market niche can offer up a whole new sales region.
• Segment your audience.
There is usually more than one audience in your demographic. For example, consider a protein powder and supplement business. Most marketing teams suggest that the key audience for this brand is young men ages 16-45. However, other audiences for the product include women ages 21-45 and older audiences as well.
Yet selling protein powder to men and women in similar ads won’t work nearly as well as a more targeted campaign delivered separately to each segment. While it might seem like the more costly route (building out multiple advertising campaigns), it will yield better sales if you tailor ads for each audience.
2. Understand that cultures have varying attributes.
The business world is full of cautionary tales from poorly researched marketing campaigns. For business leaders and PR managers, it’s essential to understand the history and culture of your key demographic. Similarly, e-commerce businesses must ensure they’re compliant in every aspect of their sales, from shipping logistics to purchasing platforms.
According to Daniel Viniegra, chief commercial and partnerships officer at Go Global Ecommerce, building trustworthy and reputable business relationships across borders is essential. “If you want to successfully sell cross-border, you must fit into the current culture. To do so, it’s important to ensure you’re offering localized e-commerce experiences by taking into consideration currency conversions, payment methods according to each market, and even languages you use for business.”
This commitment to understanding your audience’s culture must be recognized, Viniegra says. “Keeping all of this in mind will help you avoid cultural mistakes that could harm your business.” Double-check that the tone and material are appropriate when building a product or service website for your target area. Similarly, research before creating an advertising campaign that might conflict with local expectations and culture.
Ensure purchasing products is straightforward by utilizing local payment methods, predicting correct tax and customs duties, and doing your best to ensure speedy shipping. Finally, work to ensure you don’t lose a sale because customers might not understand the translated text on a website or because there isn’t an option for their local language.
3. Outsource native cultural outlooks.
Effective e-commerce businesses can appeal to a wide variety of consumers. For any e-commerce business to be successful, understanding what drives purchasing decisions is vital. However, not everything can be learned through market data alone; sometimes, boots on the ground are the best way to get the information you need.
Solicit a native outlook when building a new audience, dropping a new product, or building a sales strategy for an unfamiliar location. One of the best ways to do this is by hiring a local market research team or advertising agency. These local businesses will have helpful insights into what’s driving sales in the area or for that specific audience. For instance, terms and language usage can differ across dialects — don’t miss out on sales because your products don’t feature local slang or keywords.
A community-based advertising agency can tailor your social media ads and offer unique sales ideas that can appeal to your audience. To be successful when selling cross-border, it’s crucial to build respectful relationships within the culture by actively listening to and following suggestions.
While selling across borders can sometimes feel overwhelming, there are resources available to businesses that can make the process easier. By engaging with your target audience’s culture and actively learning more about the region, e-commerce businesses can achieve international success and build long-lasting, positive relationships.
Tax Credits You Might Qualify For
No matter where you are, taxes are a nebulous yearly commitment with seemingly endless secrets to uncover for ultimate savings. The U.S. federal government institutes tax credits to help Americans ease their burdens. Eligible benefits cut taxable income and provide other incentives that invest in the nation’s betterment.
It helps to understand what’s out there and what taxpayers must do to get the rewards. New credits are added and taken away seemingly every year, but some have remained staples. Here are the requirements for each tax credit and how much they’ll save you on your returns.
What Are Tax Credits and Why Should You Use Them?
Tax credits reduce liability. Federal and local governments award them to lessen financial burdens, especially for lower- to middle-income households. Tax credits are not the same as deductions, which reduce what’s considered taxable income.
For example, if you made $35,000 in a year but had deductions equalling $12,000, you will be taxed on $23,000. Tax credits work slightly differently, as they decrease the amount of taxes filers owe. They eliminate what you must pay, which varies depending on your tax bracket.
Everyone should take advantage of tax credits — some intentionally seek them throughout the year to maximize their returns. Credits ensure a more considerable return, especially if you consciously progress toward earning them. However, more diverse and niche deductions can be used to get the most out of your tax year.
Their strict requirements reflect their value. Not every family can qualify for credits related to their dependents, especially if they’re higher-earning. Governments designed tax credits to empower lower-income households in a financially stressful time of year, leveling out class disparities as much as possible. Eligibility criteria allow awards to hit homes in greatest need.
States offer credits depending on current legislation and initiatives. For example, a state may offer more diverse sustainability benefits than the federal government if it has metrics to meet by a specific date. These are the available credits for varying situations and stages of life.
Are There Tax Credits for Students?
Despite myths surrounding student tax responsibilities, they should still file taxes if they work, regardless of their tuition or loan situation, or if their parents claim them as dependents on their tax return. Every worker must report income. Nevertheless, being a student has its benefits come tax season because there are educational credits and other perks to note when filing.
Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC)
The LLC helps students pay for tuition — no supplies, room and board, or transportation. There is a predetermined list of eligible institutions, so ensure your university is included. It could exclude smaller or private schools. However, it can reduce tax liability by $2,500 for four years of higher education, encompassing associate or graduate degrees and professional development courses like trades. Using credit for job skills reduces the benefit to $2,000, but there’s no time restriction.
American Opportunity Credit (AOTC)
The AOTC also rewards students pursuing post-secondary education, specifically undergraduate. It has a price tag similar to the LLC — $2,500 at max — but students must qualify for part-time enrollment at a minimum. The AOTC also covers course materials, like books and supplies, alongside tuition, but only for up to four years. Trade education or professional development does not qualify.
Other Important Notes
These credits are subject to income limits, and students can’t obtain both. The income limit for a household must be under $80,000 for single filers and $160,000 for joint payers. Enhance benefits from educational tax credits to make the value skyrocket:
- Student loan interest
- Educational savings plans
- Employer debt repayment
- Tuition reimbursement
Are There Tax Credits for National Betterment?
The federal government wants citizens to obtain tax credits because it incentivizes them to achieve national goals.
Incentives for Energy Efficiency
The nation has sustainability benchmarks to meet to mitigate climate change and as a current signer of the Paris Agreement. It’s vital to note that additional legislation, like the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, can boost or reduce existing tax credits — lucky for environmentalists, this tax credit got more appealing for Americans. There are multiple ways to bank on it.
First, Americans can switch to energy-efficient appliances. The credit will cover 10% of the cost of every eligible expense up to $3,200, including:
- Heat pumps
- Electrical upgrades
- Energy Star appliances
Another way is switching to renewable energy generation, also known as the Residential Clean Energy credit. Installing geothermal, wind, biomass or solar systems could net households a 30% tax credit on eligible clean energy improvements. The benefit will reduce to 22% after 2033, providing a sense of urgency for citizens wanting to get the most out of their dollars.
There is also an electric vehicle tax credit, subject to specific cars set forth by the Department of Energy of up to $7,500.
Those impacted by disasters, like hurricanes and wildfires, will receive federal assistance to promote healing and growth in affected communities. It’s advantageous for governments to care for these areas to maintain economic stability. FEMA will declare areas as federally declared disaster areas, and if your site is on the list, ensure to file taxes accordingly. The credits for disasters are different from an outright dollar amount.
The first benefit is a tax extension. Many in disaster situations do not want to worry about taxes when rebuilding their livelihoods. The government understands how much natural incidents uproot lives and included that consideration as part of the credit. People can also file an amended return for the previous year to expedite federal aid instead of waiting a year after the disaster happened to get assistance. This is called casualty loss deduction.
Businesses can assist employees by providing tax-free gifts to help them get back on their feet.
Are There Tax Credits for Parents and Guardians?
Most countries award adults for starting families, as increasing populations indicate healthy national progress and advancing economies. Families have multiple avenues for federal credits.
Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCC)
Child care is a national issue, causing parents to scramble weekly for outsourced help so they can return to work. The CDCC hopes to solve some of these concerns by helping pay for day care for dependents under 13. It also includes caring for family members and partners who are ill or cannot care for themselves anymore, so keep track of related expenses. You should get 35% back from $3,000 in eligible costs for one dependent and $6,000 for two or more.
Child Tax Credit
Families with children under 16 can bank $2,000 per eligible child, but only $1,500 may be refundable. Not all tax credits will result in cashback, so read the fine print. Parents and guardians claiming half of the individual’s care can file for this credit, assuming they fall under the $200,000 income limit for single filers and the $400,000 limit for joint filers.
The credit is another example of an amendment triggered by legislation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it assisted families faster through the American Rescue Plan of 2021 by giving households advances, increasing the credit amount significantly.
Adoption fees are expensive, and the process is labor-intensive. The adoption credit helps families by offering a nonrefundable $14,890 per child in assistance with anything related to the adoption process. Families cannot earn more than $223,410 if they want the entire award.
Are There Tax Credits Based on Spending?
Sometimes putting money in the right places or earning the proper income helps net your tax credits. Here are some of the most popular circumstances.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The EITC exists to help low earners with or without children. Earned income refers to wages, self-employment or other taxable income from other sources. These are the current requirements for obtaining this tax credit according to the IRS, though special rules apply for military, clergy and people with disabilities:
- For zero children, have an AGI between $17,640 and $24,210, single and joint, respectively
- For one child, have an AGI between $46,560 and $53,120, single and joint, respectively
- Have less than $10,300 in investment income
- Prove citizenship or resident alien status
Qualifications are subject to change and fluctuate depending on the number of children.
Are you over 18, claim yourself and are not in school? Then you qualify for this credit if you’re contributing toward retirement. The percentage of your contribution you receive as a credit depends on household income, but it applies to most accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs. Here is the breakdown for joint filers:
- 50% if AGI is less than $43,500
- 20% if AGI is between $43,501 and $47,500
- 10% if AGI is between $47,501 and $73,000
These amounts regularly change from year to year.
Foreign Tax Credit
Take the foreign tax credit if you earn foreign income or invest in international mutual funds. The federal government offers this if your salary is subject to multiple countries’ taxes, so you don’t have to pay twice. The tax credit also applies to investments, so speak with brokers on the fine details.
Premium Tax Credit
The premium tax credit was born after the Affordable Care Act catalyzed former President Obama’s health care initiatives. Those receiving insurance through this program can receive tax credits toward premiums based on income. These are refundable, but the amount varies by state because premiums are standardized nationwide.
Getting the Most Out of Credits This Tax Season
Credits are one of the ways to get the most out of every tax season. Some guide their financial decisions by available credits alongside clever deductions, whereas others take what they can get. Now that you know the requirements, you can maximize your savings and lower your tax bill to more realistic amounts.
Though some of these benefits seem too good to be true, they are instances where the government is attempting to help its citizens. Take advantage of as much as possible, and stay updated with national events and sweeping legislation that might increase your tax credits in subsequent years.
The post Tax Credits You Might Qualify For appeared first on Due.
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The WORST Stock Market Ever!
It’s been a while since I talked to anyone enjoying the recent stock market action. Too volatile. Too illogical. No real trend. All true. However, the more we understand why this is happening the easier to diagnose what will happen from here and how we can trade our way to profits. (Spoiler Alert) I am still bearish. Gladly I still see 7 timely trades to use to make money as the S&P 500 (SPY) heads lower from here. Read on below for the full story….
I woke up 2 days ago already knowing the theme for this article:
The WORST Stock Market Ever!
That’s because this ride is more Tilt-A-Whirl than Merry-Go-Round thanks to all the volatility. Pretty soon the corn dogs, cotton candy and elephant ears are coming up. (sorry for the visuals…but needed to drive home the point 😉
Gladly if we pull back to the big picture, we can make sense of it all to chart our way to calmer shores. That is what is in store in today’s commentary.
OK…I might be kidding about this being the worst stock market ever…but it’s certainly not fun. That’s because most people are rational and want things to move ahead in a more orderly fashion. This stock market of late has been anything but that.
Up, down and all around. Not just across weeks and months…but INSIDE of a single session. This candlestick chart of the past month tells that story in spades:
So much to point out on this chart starting with us being absolutely flat month over month. This would seem to indicate that nothing of significance happened.
Now look deeper. Note how short lived all the rallies are…as well as the quick duration of the sell offs. And finally notice how big some of those candles are with tremendous intraday moves.
All that action over the past month…and nothing to show for it in the market average.
That’s where it makes sense to now look at things on a Sector level where we see a lot more diversity between winners and losers.
The obvious part is the weakness of the financials thanks to all the bad news in the banking sector. Real estate is so intra related with the banks that it’s pretty obvious why that group has taken it on the chin as well. The rest of the weaklings are a fairly Risk On groups which talks to growing fears of future economic health.
The counterpart to that is to discover that most of the Risk Off groups are near the top of the list: Consumer Defensive, Utilities, and Healthcare. The oddity is the strength of Communication Services and Tech. However, when you think of Tech as being dominated by FAANG…and they often act as a defensive group people often cling to…then you understand that the totality of this picture says it was a Risk Off month even if overall market breakeven.
Everything discussed so far explains WHAT is happening…now let’s shift to WHY.
The simple answer is to say the outlook for the economy (and thus the stock market) is unclear. Thus, each new day brings new headlines that tilt bearish today and bullish tomorrow.
Certainly, people see the threats that could lead to recession…but it keeps not happening. And that is what confuses the odds on what happens next and that lengthens this tug of war between the bulls and bears.
For example, a lot of economic data was weakening at the end of 2022. Like ISM Manufacturing under 50. And Retail Sales actually shrinking after removing inflation. This led to a large cut in corporate earnings expectations for Q1 of this year where Wall Street is currently looking for -9% earnings loss.
That steep loss doesn’t look as much in the cards when you appreciate that many thought Q1 GDP would also be in negative territory…perhaps marking the start of a new recession. And yet now as we look at the most revered GDP prediction model (GDP Now from the Atlanta Fed) that stands at +3.2% for the current quarter.
Reity, you are starting to contradict yourself. I thought you were bearish on the market?
Yes. That is true. I just wanted to make it clear WHY the market was so volatile. That being the mixed signals on the economy making bulls and bears tussle for control.
Now we have to turn our attention to the future and what is likely to happen. Here again, I want to share this simple, yet effective equation to quickly explain why I am still wearing the bear cloak. (It includes an important new addition in bold)
Higher Rates on the Way (5%+)
+ In Place AT LEAST til End of 2023
+ 6-12 Months of Lagged Economic Impact from Fed Policy
+ Banking Credit Crunch
= Fertile Soil to Create a Recession in the Future
Fed Chairman Powell talked about all of the first 4 factors at the recent rate hike announcement and press conference on 3/22. In fact, stocks were going up during the speech til he hit folks with a 1-2 hawkish punch staring with:
“It’s possible that this [banking crisis] will turn out to have very modest effects – these events will turn out to be very modest effects on the economy, in which case – and inflation will continue to be strong, in which case, you know, the path will look – might look different. It’s also possible that this potential tightening will contribute to significant tightening in credit conditions over time, and in principle, if that – that means that monetary policy may have less work to do. We simply don’t know.”
This was followed by a statement that the credit crunch IS happening and is relatively equivalent to a 25-50 point basis cut on its own. This got stocks coming down from nearly +1% session to about breakeven. And then came punch #2.
That being when a reporter stated that current surveys show that the average investor expects just one more rate hike of 25 basis points and then rate CUTS every meeting thereafter. So, are investors wrong?
It wasn’t just the words he used. It was how Powell said it. Like a disappointed parent when his kid brings home an F on the report card. (what are you not understanding here!!!).
And then he reiterated quite emphatically that their forecast still calls for NO CUTS this year. From there the S&P 500 gave up the 1% gain and tumbled all the way to -1.65% into the close.
For me the aforementioned equation starting with a hawkish Fed ends with recession at some point in the future. Clearly not Q1…but Q2 and the rest of the year are still very much into play.
Unfortunately, until investors see more PROOF of a recession unfolding then the recent trading range and extreme volatility will continue. That is why I recommend investing based upon what you predict will happen beyond that range. Again, that leans decidedly bearish in my book.
What To Do Next?
Watch my brand new presentation, REVISED: 2023 Stock Market Outlook
There I will cover vital issues such as…
- 5 Warnings Signs the Bear Returns Starting Now!
- Banking Crisis Concerns Another Nail in the Coffin
- How Low Will Stocks Go?
- 7 Timely Trades to Profit on the Way Down
- Plan to Bottom Fish for Next Bull Market
- 2 Trades with 100%+ Upside Potential as New Bull Emerges
- And Much More!
If these ideas concern you, then please click below to access this vital presentation now:
REVISED: 2023 Stock Market Outlook >
Wishing you a world of investment success!
Steve Reitmeister…but everyone calls me Reity (pronounced “Righty”)
CEO, StockNews.com and Editor, Reitmeister Total Return
SPY shares . Year-to-date, SPY has gained 3.88%, versus a % rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
About the Author: Steve Reitmeister
Steve is better known to the StockNews audience as “Reity”. Not only is he the CEO of the firm, but he also shares his 40 years of investment experience in the Reitmeister Total Return portfolio. Learn more about Reity’s background, along with links to his most recent articles and stock picks.
The post The WORST Stock Market Ever! appeared first on StockNews.com
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