You have a robust, effective e-commerce website for consumers in the country where your company’s based. Now you want to replicate those features in an experience targeted to customers in other countries.
How do you go about providing global consumers with the same hassle-free shopping experience your flagship website offers? Ideally, you’d establish a quick, cost-effective process for expanding to additional markets and do it in such a way that you set yourself up for rapid success in the future.
Plan & Research
Planning is key when you’re looking to do business in new markets, and part of that includes researching the culture, trends, competition, and consumer behavior in the countries on your list. Your research should also include a dive deep into your target consumer to help you decide who would be most interested in your products or services and how best to apply personalization when you launch.
You also need to look into any payment methods that are specific to your new markets and document and analyze any unique security regulations.
Configure & Customize
Platform configuration is the next step. An enterprise-level e-commerce platform should allow you to configure it to support various countries, languages, shipping costs, taxes, and payment methods, but not all platforms are the same.
If the features that are critical to cross-border commerce don’t exist on your current platform, you’ll need to do some customization to support the expansion. That might be simple enough, but keep in mind that geo-expansion initiatives can get complex and expensive, depending on the level of effort involved in the development work.
Logistics & Fulfillment
Fulfillment sources need to be established to support fast and affordable shipping and returns. Work with your 3PL (3rd-party logistics) services provider to make sure your international shipping processes are in place and ready to go as soon as the orders start coming in. This also includes developing a marketing/e-commerce strategy to manage international returns without jeopardizing your profit margin.
One important element to consider when contracting 3PL services is the duration of the contract and the cost associated with breaking large shipments into packs or grouped orders. Scaling 3PL can be challenging and costly if order volume doesn’t exceed inventory turnover.
If your company is just getting into the world of cross-border e-commerce, a new market that’s geographically close is probably a wise choice. For example, American brands frequently choose Canada as their first international market because of its proximity and well-developed logistics system. Similarly, in Europe, where several countries are close to one another, it can make sense to expand to neighboring areas first.
Content & Data
Personalized experiences drive conversions. When it comes to expanding to other countries, you’ll need to understand how local regulations may impact the collection of data and the way it can be used to create unique content. These types of laws are constantly evolving, and businesses have to find creative ways to continue to engage the customer while adhering to them.
It's also good to keep in mind that 40% of online consumers won’t make a purchase if the website's information is in a language they don’t understand. Localizing your site language will help you engage with your customers more effectively. The main areas where customers most frequently want content in their native language include the checkout process, product description pages, and customer reviews. Your website also may rank higher on search engines if you localize it.
Regardless of what stage of geo-expansion your business is in, Credera is ready to guide you in reaching new customers in new parts of the world. We have years of experience helping consumer brands and retailers in expanding their ecommerce operations locally and abroad, and we can assess your platform capabilities and help you better understand the level of effort involved in selling to new markets.
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