Updated: Sep 3

The media has been writing up and down about the launch of Amazon here in the Nordic countries - and the launch has not even happened yet (early September 2020)! This seems to overshadow the real challenge: that e-commerce is entering a new phase, where the complexity has moved from setting up a platform and making logistics smooth, to actually getting your products in front of the consumer.

Amazon, Facebook, Zalando, CDON, Google and your own shop are all potentially profitable channels!

We, the consumers, are navigating many websites, market places and social media channels every day. Most of them are free, or at least partly financed by ads, making them the "shopping streets” for the modern consumers. This is where we, as online sellers, can find the consumer and offer our products.

Source: Broadbandserach.net


Today Amazon is the "mega-mall" where you can find anything and Zalando is the "fashion district". Instagram is a new upcoming area with high-end brands, and maybe you just learned that all the unique and handmade home decor is to be found on its own street called etsy.com. 


The challenge for the future is that things will change. If one street is very popular, the price of having an outlet will go up. This will be too expensive for the new and trendy brands, they will turn to new and less expensive areas and the influencers will join them because "main street" is boring.


How to navigate in this world as a brand owner?


Instead of trying to guess which channel(s) you should sell through the next month, next quarter or next year, it is much more important to create a platform of your own, allowing you to direct your products to new channels tomorrow, if it looks promising, and somewhere else next week, if it is a better idea at that point of time.

To be able to navigate the future of e-commerce you need to have two things.

  1. Your own localized webshops in the countries you sell in. This is the home for your brand, this is where products are sold in your environment and surrounded by the values that you find important. This is also where your loyal customers return to to see new products for themselves or to buy presents for their friends and loved ones. This is also where you can guide traffic from your own channels; newsletters, events, influencers, physical stores etc. Finally, this is where you will turn complaints and bad experiences from all the channels you sell in, into happy endings and loyal customers.

  2. A world-class product feed This is the new SEO. In order to be visible in all the existing and up-coming sales channels, you need to meet the formats and have the elements in your feed, required by these channels. Your product also needs to be valued attractive by the algorithm in order to be presented to the consumers. Is your product a match for the visitor on their platform, are your price and other terms attractive, is the product title length correct, is the language on the landing page the same as the consumers? All these questions are asked in different ways by each channel. Your product feed needs to be compliant and easily adjustable, making it easy for you to move your products to the channels with the attractive customers giving you the best ROI.

If you have these two things in place, you can make your products available to the world on your own terms. You can connect to end-users and you can choose between the sales channels that provide great value for you this week - and change them next week.

Updated: Aug 17

As part of a stimulus package, as response to the Corona crisis, Germany has introduced a temporary reduction in sales tax to be applied from July 1 to December 31, 2020. We have created this short Q&A, based on the questions we have received from our clients:


Q: What are the detailed sales tax reduction rates?

A: The standard tax rate drops from 19% to 16%, the reduced sales tax rate from 7% to 5%. (the reduced tax rate is used for categories like food, plants, animals, books etc.)


Q: When can we change the rate to the new lower rate?

A: In the case of physical deliveries of goods, the sales tax liability arises at the time of shipping. If possible, the goods should be handed over to the shipping company between July 1 and December 31 in order to benefit from the reduction in sales tax. If you ship the same day as you receive an order, this should also be the date you change the sales tax rate in your shop.


Q: When do we need to change the rate back to the higher rate?

A: Again the important point in time is when products are handed over to the shipping company. If you expect 2-3 days to fulfill the order we would recommend to change back to the normal rate on the December 24. This leaves 3 working days for you to pack and ship the orders.


Q: What happens if I use the wrong (current) tax rates during the period from July 1 to December 31?

A: The German consumers are fully aware of the reduced sales tax and charging the higher rate will reduce the conversion rate in your shop and create unnecessary customer service calls. On top of this, the mistake can lead to disputes over differences between invoiced sales tax and the amount paid to the authorities. If you are selling BtB, the German company will not be able to deduct the full (wrongly) invoiced sales tax, but only the reduced rate. This leads to customer service issues and manual settling of differences later.


If you have other questions to the German tax rate reduction, please don't hesitate to call or write us!


Sources:

Updated: May 12

Sometimes launching a webshop in a new country can seem overwhelming and it can be difficult to see where to start. We know where to start and it can be done in 4 weeks.

We agree. There is a lot to do and you will depend on help from others to get through this in 4 weeks. In the model above we have highlighted (in orange) the areas where many will need some help. It is also fair to say that we can only guarantee you are online in 4 weeks if you or your web agency can prepare the technical platform.


Or said in another way, if your platform is prepared for new countries, we can add the local language skills and e-commerce knowledge needed to get you live in 4 weeks.


Where to start

Getting on top of the technical tasks is a very good place to start and the top priority in our timeline above. First of all, you need to take some decisions in terms of selecting partners before you can start doing the technical setup. This part often depends on external resources at your partners and in addition from your own web agency or internal IT-team. Many people involved requires more time!


Get started on texts

First of all, the product texts can take some time if your product range is broad, but at the same time getting adaptation of your webshop texts started, is equally important. This is not only a translation but the text needs to be rewritten to the business processes and local legislation in the new country. Doing this part has always been in our DNA - and our name. Read more about it here.


Marketing done right

Selling in a new country can be tough as your business/brand/product is very likely unknown. You know less about the market and the marketing channels and all together this requires a different approach.


You need to be more data-driven and it also allows you to use marketing initiatives you can't use in your home market. We think Growth hacking is the best approach. Read more here about how we use Growth hacking in international e-commerce.


A local hero

At the end you need to let a native e-commerce specialist from the country test your webshop. We call it a Site check and do it often. This is critical in order to secure the conversion rate you need, to grow in a profitable way.


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