If you have had some success with e-commerce in your local market, a natural next step is to consider expanding your business internationally. The potential in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe is huge, but with the millions of new customers comes a set of new challenges.
In this blog post, we discuss five of the most important things that you should consider when planning your expansion into new markets.
1. Every country is unique – take time to understand buying habits and customer expectations
Just as every country has its traditions and cultural differences, customers have different expectations of the local online shops they purchase from. It is easy to assume that many of the things we are used to as customers are similar for customers in other countries. And this is a dangerous assumption to make, as reality is often very different – customers have widely differing expectations regarding things such as product prices, delivery time, customer service and payment options.
In Denmark, for instance, most customers prefer to pay by credit card when shopping online, while bank transfer and invoices are the most widely used form of payment in Sweden and Germany, respectively.
2. Find your unique position in the market
As a new player in the market, you’ll often find existing local shops to compete with for the market share.
Because of this, it is important that you position yourself in the market, making clear to customers how you differ from the existing players and why they should buy from you instead of somewhere else.
3. Trustworthiness is the key to success
A crucial factor in whether a customer’s visit to your online shop results in a purchase is that your shop comes across as trustworthy.
There are several things you should do as an online shop to increase your trustworthiness and give customers a good first impression. First of all, it is important that translation of text content is correct and professionally done – Google Translate is therefore rarely a good solution. Furthermore, you should give customers several ways to get in touch with you if they need help – phone, mail and preferably live chat.
In some countries, a trust mark is necessary to appear trustworthy, while in others, customers expect free returns or customer service via chat. An understanding of customer expectations is therefore important in order for you to be able to deliver a professional and trustworthy consumer experience.
4. Success takes time
Before you start a cross-border project with the purpose of increasing company growth, it is important to set realistic expectations and a timeline with milestones. Success rarely happens overnight – it takes time to build up customer awareness and interest in your brand or online shop.
5. Set goals and follow development closely