Having global ambitions for your eCommerce store is a pretty epic journey to embark on. The best time to think about international expansion is if you’ve reached saturation in your home market, but still feel like you can take on more.
Having the ambition, and then executing in a seamless way is imperative to the longevity of your growth success in a new market, and it should not be something that is rushed into on the digital front.
Depending on which market you started in, and which you would like to enter there can be some key differences in the consumer behaviours, expectations and requirements - so we’re going to break down some of the things to keep in mind when transitioning.
You wouldn’t travel to a new country without any preparation would you? You’d typically look up hotels, sites, car rental and possibly even restaurants and cafes. So moving into another region with your eCommerce store should be treated the same.
Understanding a little of the market is necessary to make sure your launch is effective. Using tools like Google Trends to understand purchasing and search behaviours in the region, or checking out conventions that other websites use in your industry. Which brings me to the next point.
Having competition in your marketplace is healthy as it’s a sign there is a demand for it. Getting to know the competition in the new market you’re entering is pivotal - understanding how they present their products and figuring out their market share can help you understand where you fit, and how best to present your business.
Keeping in mind things like language, value proposition, key points of difference and more can give you the best leg up when you’re ready to cater your webshop to the market's needs. However make sure you are still staying true to your brand in the new market, as brand consistency is equally as important as market differentiation.
It’s a lot easier to shop online when you can understand everything that's going on. If the new market you’re entering has a different dominant language, it’s really worth considering adapting your online store for multi-language. Depending on what your eCommerce store is built on this can be a challenge, or rather simple. We always recommend using a headless solution with Shopify plus for the best chance of integrating a seamless and well functioning multi-language stack - if you want to know more on how we do this and why we recommend it, you can read about that here.
Your current customers are most likely accustomed to specific shipping times, and if your dispatch centre is in the region you cater to these can be efficient and easy to manage. It’s certainly not impossible to dispatch from one warehouse to multiple regions but if your growth is exponential - it may be worth considering multiple dispatch centres so your customers can all benefit from fast effective shipping.
Where items are dispatched from can also impact their tax obligation upon receiving an order - especially if you’re sending outside the EU. Make sure you’re aware of any obligations here and update your shipping information on your website accordingly.
If this is the first step in a bigger plan for growth, it could be worth revisiting your eCommerce stack and seeing if now is the time to make sure it’s truly ready to scale - wherever you decide to grow to.
Multi-regional stores can be complex to manage if you’re running them all entirely separately - but there are plenty of solutions to streamline the workflow and make sure your site is ready to grow with you. Our suggestion here is always headless with Shopify Plus - you can read more about that here.
So in summary, entering a new market is an exciting phase in your business, and making sure you can transition smoothly and effectively is all a part of the journey. Having a development partner that’s ready to tackle the challenges with you is also key in the success of your expansion and growth journey.
If you’re in need of a growth partner, we would love to hear from you - and help you tell your eCommerce story globally. Head to our contact page to get in touch.