A common language and familiar business framework may lead Americans to overlook Australia’s cultural and market differences. It is vital for a U.S. product’s success to first gain an understanding of the Australian context for a product or service, its competitors, standards, regulations, sales channels, and applications.
Success in the Australian market often requires establishing a local sales presence. For many American exporters, this means appointing an agent or distributor. The bounds of that appointment are negotiated, and may include only certain states of Australia, the entire country, or New Zealand as well.
The distance from many of their trading partners and the sheer size of the Australian continent – comparable to the continental United States – causes Australian firms to stress the importance of local support and service. American companies should visit Australia both to meet prospective partners and demonstrate ongoing support, as this is the common practice of their competitors.
Most of the criteria American firms use to select agents or distributors in markets throughout the world are also applicable to Australia, with expectations adjusted to the scale of the market given the population of 25.8 million. Performing due diligence is just as important in Australia as in the United States, and the Commercial Service in Australia offers services to assist in this area.