Going international with your e-commerce
We recently held a webinar with our platform partner Bizzkit about e-selling on other markets. In short, we can say that there are big advantages to having your own platform - and with the right preparation and roll-out, you can reach a lot more customers and increase your sales.
Truth in numbers
I read recently that a third of e-shoppers globally had made a cross-border purchase. Mostly from China and large marketplaces such as Amazon and Zalando - but also to a large degree from D2C brands. If we look at the recent Postnord survey “E-commerce in Europe”, 20-25% of e-consumers in the Nordics had shopped from Swedish e-retailers. Young customers are more likely to shop cross-border. The main motivation was unique products and brands that weren’t available locally. When it comes to other factors, 3-5 days’ delivery was regarded as OK.
Advantages to doing it yourself
Mainly, it’s about control. If you already have an e-commerce site with its own unique design, product info and a clear value proposition and story (right?) you will want to invite customers into your own world rather than using a marketplace such as Amazon. You will probably also get better cash flow and be able to collect your own customer data - and build relationships easier with them. The hard part, as with all new markets, is being to reach your target groups. A strong social media strategy and presence can help.
So - where to start? As many e-tailers have discovered, there are many regulations and laws to take into account, regarding returns, payments, guarantees etc. If we stay within the EU, we have a lot of consumer laws in common. There are however other local variations to take into account (such as cash on delivery in Poland). Logistics involving markets that Sweden has long-standing trade with, such as Germany and the Nordics, will be less challenging. From a UX standpoint, it can be a good idea to start with markets that have similar consumer behaviour to ours. China, USA, Japan and Australia can be fantastic but you will probably benefit from (or need) a local partner who knows how customers think and act.
Platform and process
OK, so we’ve decided to expand and chosen which markets to start with. A headless e-com platform that integrates seamlessly with local third-party services such as payment providers, social media, ad networks etc will be a good base. Multi-language CMS and PIM that supports translation and local product assortments will be needed. Then you need to look at your organisation and the distribution of tasks and responsibilities. How will you handle returns and customer service? Also, I would suggest making a detailed time plan and a thorough breakdown of all anticipated costs. Finally, make sure your web partner is prepared for the added complexities and challenges that an international expansion might bring, in support and maintenance.
/David Aler, strategist
Are you thinking about expanding your webshop to new markets? We're happy to help! Reach out to Johan Cassel on 070-494 24 60 or email@example.com.