After the dust from the hectic holiday season has settled, you have time to take stock and set goals for your year ahead. For many Australian retailers, expanding to new regions is top of their 2017 New Year’s resolutions list. And for many, Europe is the destination they’re aiming to target.
So, if you’re planning on expanding to Europe in 2017, how should you get started? Launching a new website in a new region requires much effort. There’s a lot to be considered, including localised content creation, SEO, mobile optimisation, social and search advertising. All of these are vital to drive exposure and visibility to become profitable. Return on investment can be tricky and take a long time. The more cost-effective and quick method of expansion is through marketplaces, which enable you to reach customers instantly once your products are listed. Expanding internationally through new marketplaces continues to be one of the safest and quickest ways to scale your e-commerce business. The built-in customer base and established infrastructure of each marketplace allow you to focus on other priorities, such as sourcing, pricing, promotion and fulfillment.
European marketplaces give you a great variety of new customers and depending on your brands and products, you may find expansion into Europe using marketplaces a logical next step in your multichannel e-commerce operations. Here at ChannelAdvisor we support many key European marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Tesco, Cdiscount, Otto and more.
Before you dive into expanding across new European marketplaces, there’s a few considerations for retailers.
Amazon and eBay are often the first marketplaces that come to mind when Australian retailers are expanding. This is justified because these two behemoths do tend to dominate the top 50 marketplaces across Europe.
- eBay: Are you already listing on eBay Australia? If so, enable shipping to Europe and your listings will automatically appear on European eBay Sites. Here you can gain your first insights into shipping to Europe and learn from your first international customers. As a next step we would recommend starting to list directly on different eBay locales (like eBay UK, Germany or France). You will start to compete directly with local sellers. Lastly, if you’re products are not located in Europe, once you have your first experience what products sell well in Europe, you could move your products to be closer to demand by finding a local warehouse solution or you can make use of Amazon’s warehouses by utilising their own delivery network Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA).
- Amazon: On Amazon you can get one account called European Unified Account. This enables you to sell in different European countries using one Amazon account in Seller Central. We have seen retailers starting to expand into Europe by choosing some of their top sellers and sending them directly to Amazon warehouses for fulfilment via their FBA network. Not only do you have the benefit of faster delivery times and free delivery for Amazon Prime members, Amazon also handles customer service for you on these products. These are key advantages to grow your account and be seen.
Important Considerations For Retailers
Shipping: Freight to Europe from Australia is expensive. Negotiate good rates with existing couriers and ask different providers for quotes to get the baseline of your operations right.
Customer service: Are you prepared to advise and serve customers in different languages? Whilst Amazon FBA will take on these tasks for you, all seller fulfilled products will be in your hands to support.
Product data: Have you got robust localised data? In most countries localised data will help with higher conversion but also fewer returns and complaints. Many product types require translated data and this will support and strengthen your business perception in each marketplace. If product categories or item specifics vary, make sure your listings are optimised and displaying correctly.
Expansion: From niche, product-specific marketplaces to international giants with tens of millions of loyal shoppers each month, there are plenty of additional avenues for European growth out there. Once you get a feel for which regions you’d like to expand to or which products are most successful, take the time to research other marketplaces that could further scale your business.
The most important thing when expanding is to not rush in. Take the time to get the basics right and establish yourself. Start small and grow with learnings. Good luck!
Blog post by Dominic Grevsmuehl, Team Lead, Managed Services