Understanding the key features of a particular market requires a degree of primary and secondary research, and much of it is available for free online.

Primary research, such as product compliance standards, statistics, population statistics, and other facts, can be taught free of charge by international organizations such as the United Nations and Word Trade. Analyzing export statistics over several years can determine whether the market is shrinking for a particular product or booming.

Secondary research such as studies, periodicals, surveys and market reports could be found on government websites, market intelligence firms and international organizations.

The process of selecting a foreign market

Step # 1: Gather information on a wide range of markets

The market selection process requires a wide range of information, depending on the services or products being exported. These include the following:

* demand for a product or service,

* potential audience size,

* whether the target audience can afford the product or service,

* regulatory issues affecting product exports,

* proximity or ease of access to this market,

* availability of appropriate distribution channels for a product or service,

* business environment – politics, culture, language, etc.,

* financial sustainability of exports to the selected market.

Step 2: Investigate Deep Market Selection

From the results of the initial phase analysis, reduce your selection to 3-5 markets and conduct in-depth research related to your product. While doing this, consider the following questions that may arise:

* What products on the market are similar to yours?

* What makes your product unique? What are the specific key selling points of your product?

* How individuals obtain and / or use these products; and who provides them? Are these products imported? If yes, which country do they come from?

* Is there a local supplier or manufacturer?

* Who would be your main competitors? What are their trade names or major brands?

* What is the size, shape and structure of the market?

* How big are the niche markets, if any?

* Who are the main warehousers, importers, agencies, suppliers or distributors?

* What are some methods of getting representation or sales?

* What are the fees or prices in different parts of the market?

* How large are the contributions at different levels of distribution?

* What are import duties, regulations, duties, professional registration and conformity?

* How will your market promote your service or product in the midst of strong competition?

* If your brand of product – pictures, colors, etc. acceptable given the culture?

* Have you found a reliable and experienced freight forwarder who exports your products?



by Liz Servito

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