The export process requires a developed sense of commitment, adaptability and mental toughness; the traits shared by successful export managers. Preparing your product for export requires the utilization of these traits at maximum. Knowing how to conduct an export market research, audience research and develop a digital marketing strategy is equally important as knowing how to get your product ready to export.
Preparing your product for export requires taking into account three aspects:
- Product Modification
- Intellectual Property Rights
Let’s consider the three aspects separately and elaborate on the tasks you may undertake in order to get your product ready to export.
Product modification is often a requirement of the market. However, product modification might not be necessary and it must evidenced during the phases of market research and audience research.
In regards to product modification, the following factors may call for your action in order to get your product ready to export:
Government Regulations and Standards
- Requirements pertaining to material content, etc.
- Labelling requirements
- Cycle and voltage and electric current
Geographic and Climate Conditions
- What climate your product will be exposed to (e.g., extreme humidity)
Cultural Aspects Defining Consumer Purchase Behavior
- Meaning of certain colors
- Religious beliefs
- Translation of brand name
- Habits and lifestyle
- Taste preferences
- Types of packaging preferred
- Preferences in size
These elements represent a fundamental sphere which determines whether your product requires modification in physical characteristics, its label, its packaging, or simply its name.
You might be asking, but how to investigate which product modification may be necessary?
There are several institutes and actors in the export process that can help you with such information.
- Standards institutes of the particular country you want to export to will be of assistance to you. Information on foreign standards, testing, and certification requirements can be obtained from the: National Center for Standards and Certification Information (NCSCI), American National Standards Institute, or Underwriters Laboratories, amongst other institutes.
- Freight forwarders can be often of assistance as they are aware of the necessary modifications.
- Other exporters in your industry.
- Visiting the market will provide you with the exact modifications required.
- Overseas Business Reports provide information on transportation and packing requirements as well as testing requirements/product standards in foreign countries.
Your product must be competitive in the market it is exported. Pricing it accordingly to the consumer affordability plays a fundamental role in defining your sales. Aggressive pricing increases volume and market share.
In this respect, getting pricing information on competition is fundamental in making a decision. The most easiest way to get pricing information is to visit the market or have a trusted person do it for you.
It is generally a good idea to quote your price C.I.F. foreign ports (this means that your price includes transportation costs to the foreign port).
Modifications in price are often required due to the differences in the market sizes and the consumer behavior. In this respect, you should develop a pricing strategy for your product which would bring profits over the term you will be exporting.
Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property rights represent a broad collection of rights relating to industrial property and copyright. In regards to industrial property, they cover inventions, trademarks, designs. On the other hand, in regards to the copyrights, they cover literary, artistic works etc.
The rights which are granted by your country through patent trademark, copyright, etc. extend only through the territories of your country. There is no such thing as an international trademark or patent.
Therefore, you must consider applying for protection in a specific country. The laws and regulations related to intellectual property rights differ from country to country. In this respect, you cannot assume the same protection abroad as in your country.
However, there are some international agreements which allow trademark, patent, and copyright applications to be filed with a central source for protection in several countries. The International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property is adhered to by ninety countries. This Convention covers trademarks and patents, however, leaves under the discretion of countries to refuse protection within a certain time from the date of publication of the international mark.
Alternatively, in case of wanting to export to Europe, you might want to consult with the European Patent Office (EPO). Applications for a European patent can be filed in all fields of technology, and provide protection in most European countries. This patent provides protection for 20 years at a cost somewhat less than the average cost of three national patents, and has the status of a national patent in each country. The official languages of the EPO are English, French, and German.