The US is a vast country with over 50 states, some with bigger populations than many European countries. Understandably there are cultural differences between north, south, east and west coasts, so thinking of the US as just one single market is a mistake. When trading with the US, Irish businesses are advised to divide their focus region by region rather than trying to take the entire nation by storm in one go.
After segregating the USA’s geographic landscape, you can further make your task simpler by categorising your product or service into the following categories:
Each segment can then be prioritised and treated as a distinct market, at which your pricing strategy, product mix, promotions and points of distribution can be aimed in a logical way.
Trade shows are well attended in the US and are therefore an ideal way for Irish companies to meet representatives, including buyers, suppliers and potential partners before exporting to the US. Research is key here. Irish businesses should ensure they attend the ones that match their industry best. They must also attend regularly to give US buyers and partners a chance to network with them and build a connection.
It is important to learn about your competition before exporting to the US. This effort will determine whether or not there is potential for your product or service, whether it can be sold profitably, and what features and benefits need to be emphasised or added.
A lot of businesses steer away from exporting because they fear that once their goods have left the country they will disappear forever along with any profit. You can overcome this fear by really understanding how your goods will get from A to B, when duties are added, what regulations apply and how much your product will cost once it arrives at the other end. Consultation from a lawyer also helps smooth the process, as can keeping in mind that America is a federal country, so state laws can differ considerably.
The US has a very strong service culture so make sure your marketing and website are tweaked to make it easy for American consumers and businesses to buy from you. Therefore, a simple thing such as converting prices into dollars is a must. Acquiring a toll free (1-800) number connecting to a call centre open during peak hours also helps customers form an affiliation with your brand.
When trading with America, it’s important to learn the relevant documentation terminology. Below are some European terms you will be familiar with and their American equivalent.
DHL has expert knowledge of shipping in the Americas: the company pioneered the international air express industry in 1969 by flying cargo documents from San Francisco to Hawaii to expedite clearance.
DHL Express recognised the importance of investing in the Americas beyond the USA early on. Today, DHL Express Americas has a broad and extensive network throughout the region with 15,000 employees and handles more than 30 million shipments each year. In addition to implementing improvements at DHL’s global hub in Cincinnati, Ohio, which were completed in 2013, DHL also upgraded its 140,000-square-foot hub at Miami International Airport – a critical conduit for trade with Latin America and the Caribbean. DHL has also recently expanded hubs in Mexico City and Colombia and established new distribution and operations centres in Chile and Mexico. Together, these investments will make it even easier for the countries in the Americas to trade with each other as well as the rest of the world.