8. Utilizing Technology for Successful Exporting 131
quotes or service information even when your business is closed for the day or weekend. Also, make
sure that your system allows you to retrieve messages from any place in the world.
In most parts of the world, email is the primary mode of business communication, both internally
and externally. It gives you an inexpensive and expeditious way to stay in touch with employees,
contractors, customers, agents, and international resources. If you decide to sell your product or
service exclusively on the web, email is the essential means of communication for everyone with
whom you do business.
Facsimile (Fax) Machines/Desktop Faxing
Despite the prevalence of scanners and emailed documents, sometimes it’s still necessary to send a
fax. Faxing enables you to deliver important documents quickly to overseas customers and ﬁnancial
institutions. (Since software enables computers to send and receive faxes, the need for an actual
fax “machine” is limited … although it can be a great fallback on the rare occasion that timing is of
the essence and your computer system goes down.) Because inbound computer faxes are usually
captured as photos, optical character recognition (OCR) software is needed to convert the text into
a computer-readable format and allow you to manipulate the text. If a signature is required, software
can be used to paste your signature onto a document to be faxed.
Your website can be an inexpensive and highly effective way to market your product or service
globally. Before developing a site, however, you need to be aware of regulations and technical details
that may affect the ability of potential customers to view your site. In addition, certain technical
methods used to build websites may help or hinder others in their attempt to locate your site using
When designing a website for international use, it is generally true that “less is more.” Numerous
images, for example, can make a site attractive but time-consuming to download. When designing
your site, make sure that people with a variety of computer capabilities can easily access your site.
A site that takes a long time to download will turn people away.
Your Exporting Website:
• The text should be concise, well-organized and designed to make it easy for visitors to ﬁnd
what they are looking for.
• Contact information and links should allow the visitor to ﬁnd more information quickly. Specify
your hours of “live” customer service accessibility if appropriate.
• Language accessibility is also important. Use global English, and offer information in the
language of each country to which you plan to export.
• Include international telephone dialing information for callers from overseas where appropriate.
• Provide answers to your most frequently asked questions, such as information about shipping
terms, duties, etc.
For more information on options for your e-commerce exporting website, explore Types of
E-Commerce Websites at export.gov.
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