How to expand successfully?
The international expansion of e-commerce business is not an easy process. Consumers and shoppers in different countries prefer different products and services, have diverse priorities and values. What is necessary to consider before expansion, what not to forget and what to avoid?
Why do companies choose international expansion?
Trust in online shopping is increasing. It is caused mainly due to security, but also due to the ever-growing number of e-shops. For example, there are more than 43,000 e-shops in the Czech Republic, which is even the highest number of e-shops per capita in the whole of Europe, and they compete with each other. The Czech e-commerce market is small for them. The logical outcome is the expansion of the e-shop abroad. For many companies, the expansion represents the imaginary peak of their growth.
The expansion has its pitfalls, which must be taken into account and not underestimated. What is popular in one market may not sell well in another. Communication with customers can be an obstacle to international sales. Most online shoppers prefer the offer in the local language. That’s why you need to set up a strategy to ensure that you provide your customers with an outstanding CX from start to finish and choose the right partner, with features that make expansion easier.
What steps are needed for successful international expansion?
Selection of a suitable foreign market
How to begin? By analyzing own products and finding out which are suitable for foreign markets. Focus on markets where there is a strong demand for similar products (specialization) as yours. An analysis of the traffic on your e-shop. Where foreign visitors come from, what they buy and how can also identify foreign opportunities. If you have selected specific countries with potential, gather as much additional information as possible about them:
- the volume of e-commerce in a given country
- population size/purchasing power
- local used technologies and their advancedness
- logistics infrastructure
- geopolitical considerations
- demand trends and local purchasing trends
- gaps in the market
It is also essential to know the level of awareness of your brand in the selected market. If your brand is relatively unknown, consider the cost, time, and effort of building brand awareness. In short, strategic planning is key to international expansion.
Once you have selected a new market, focus on the behavior, expectations, and local consumer’s requirements. Language is the most crucial point of localization, and poorly done translation can automatically reduce conversions. It is not just the e-shop translation itself. It is about the local language nuances; for instance, there are various specific terms in English-speaking countries. Magento can greatly facilitate expansion, offering more than 150 language mutations. Customs and tax policy is a chapter in itself. Taxes can be very complex, depending on the legal status of your company in specific locations.
For marketing campaigns and photos of products on models, we recommend the use of local people. Also focus on the customs and dates of discounts, sales, and sales events in the country. Don’t forget to think about pricing strategy, whether you will sell goods in new markets at the same price or you will adjust prices locally. And last but not least, think about your representation in selected markets.
Payment and tax are the two most difficult points of expansion. Address them based on local legislation, diversity of payment types, and consumer preferences. Magento natively supports payment and currency supplements from leading providers and has more than 100 countries with online payment methods. That makes it easy to quickly launch the appropriate payment providers in the country or region of your choice. In general, people prefer to pay in a known currency, preferably in the local one. Payment methods vary from country to country, and it is essential to find out the preferred method of customers in that country. In some countries, complexity increases with internet and consumer regulations. In other countries, you may face a volatile currency. If you are going to value in local currency, it is good to follow the exchange rates.
As you begin to expand into new markets, CX should have the highest priority. Knowledge of the culture and customer behavior can highly influence the CX and business. Magento has features that adapt the CX to local customs and shopper expectations. The look of your site will also affect sales. You should pay attention to the design and features you provide so that customers have a consistent experience no matter where they are. Knowledge of customers in the local market will show you how to respond sensitively to their needs.
International shipping, orders, and storage
International transport is an important part of the customer experience. To ensure seamless transmission of order information, you need reliable integration with your sales channels and transport providers. In the new market, compare the rates of international carriers and find the ones that best suit your products. Offer customers the ability to track shipments, especially when ordering internationally.
In order for the shipment to run smoothly and customers to receive the purchased goods on time, you will need to track orders in different countries, their trends, and stocks. Magento can be fully integrated into external systems or integration platforms thanks to an open and flexible framework, so it easily integrates with your ERP and CRM. Thanks to the Magento Order Management System, you can have one central ordering system, ie a place from which you can see the status of orders and stocks in all your markets.
Customer support for international markets
Customer support facilitates communication with customers by centralizing all customer details with order and product information into a single user-friendly mailbox, saving time, money and helping to provide a great customer experience.
As you expand, you gain customers who speak different languages and will be in different time zones. Therefore, find out when local shoppers are most active, hire language-skilled or local people, and plan customer support to reflect local shopper activity.
Why go to international expansion with Magento?
Magento is an ideal partner for international expansion. It has an intuitive admin interface, provides the benefits of extensive omnichannel, seamless third-party integration, or cloud hosting. That enables an efficient, scalable solution for multi-store and global expansion.