Building International Sales in a Digitized Economy: Best Practices for SMEs

The Conference Board of Canada, 34 pages, June 10, 2011
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This report—based on interviews and a literature review—identifies three factors that have helped Canadian entrepreneurs sell internationally via digital markets. It also discusses related challenges and policy implications.

Document Highlights

Digital (online) markets seem poised to help Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sell internationally. However, many Canadian entrepreneurs are reluctant to sell in digital markets because they do not know how to attract foreign customers online. This report identifies three factors that have enabled some Canadian SMEs to internationalize effectively via digital markets: a favourable online reputation, strong online technological capabilities, and an engaged online brand community. The report is based on a survey of over 500 papers published in 33 academic journals, supplemented by interviews with select Canadian entrepreneurs who are successfully selling online in foreign markets. The research indicates there are challenges, as well as opportunities, associated with internationalizing via digital markets; the report discusses several of these challenges and ways to overcome them. Finally, the authors identify eight policy-related implications of their research.

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