When companies start selling abroad we sometimes hear them say: "Until we have significant volume and make a profit, customer service will be handled by our existing team in English '' and some of them even add "and we will only offer e-mail support".

In my opinion, this is the wrong approach.

  • First of all, winning customers in a new country requires that you offer something better or equal to what they are accustomed to. Having limited customer service makes you less transparent and indicates to your customers that complaints, returns and help in general will be more complicated. This is a given red flag for visitors and a lot of them will leave their cart full of products and go to a competitor's webshop.

  • The second problem with this approach is that you will miss out on important knowledge that can improve your conversion rate and the customer journey. A native customer service team connects to customers, understands their concerns as well as their problems, and in terms gain information that is critical in order for you to be able to improve the shopping experience and make it a profitable venture.

Having access to native ressources will give you a much better understanding of your new market, providing you with the knowledge needed to optimise the webshop as well as the post sales processes and of course allowing you to localise product texts and content when needed.

If you decide to hire people in house, you need at least two employees. You need to be able to cover for holidays, sick leave and all the other situations where a person cannot be on the phone during a workday. The solution can therefore end up being expensive and it can also be very difficult to find native employees that are able to cover the broad set of skills from customer service, translation to online marketing and community management.

Outsourcing customer service is actually a perfect fit, when you launch in a new country!

Leaving the responsibility of finding the right people and covering all the skills needed can actually be outsourced. We at MakesYouLocal offer a solution tailored to brands and retailers selling online abroad.

The goal with our solution is to give our clients access to a native team that covers all the skills needed in a new country, by allowing you to pay as you go. We cover both marketing, localisation and translation skills. Everyone in our native teams also works with customer service, which is important in order to be able to work for your brand and optimise your webshop.

Some clients pay less than 750€ per month, and are still able to offer local customer service from 9.00 to 21.00 across phone, mail, chat and Facebook Messenger. Some pay more - a lot more - however this is because they have a lot of customers buying from their webshop!

Contact us to learn more here or maybe try our calculator to get an idea of the outsourcing cost for your webshop!

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

On July 1st, 2021, the international VAT payment on business to consumer sales can be paid in your home country. The current local thresholds of export of goods via distance sales (e-commerce) will be replaced with an EU wide threshold of 10.000 EUR.

Currently, different member states have different thresholds for export (which vary from 25.000-100.000 EUR) and you need to report and pay VAT in each country you export to. These thresholds will be replaced with a combined threshold of 10.000 EUR for your total business to consumer export.

This will be accompanied by a new system for reporting VAT, which will simplify both VAT registration, reporting and payment. This system is called OSS (One Stop Shop) and is already active for companies selling digital services.

Main changes from July 1st, 2021:

  • An EU export threshold of 10.000 EUR in total will be implemented

  • After crossing the 10.000 EUR limit, all sales outside your home market must include the charge of the local VAT rate in the country

  • A new system, OSS, will be available to pay the VAT in your home country and the local EU VAT authorities will settle the payment with their counterpart in the customers home country

How to pay VAT locally from July 1st, 2021:

  • Either via OSS or via traditional VAT registrations/reporting, if you go with OSS it will change the VAT reporting in your home market as well

  • Each EU country will have its own website where you should register, in Denmark you will find it here

  • You can choose to continue to do as you do today, with individual registration, reporting and payment in each country

Prepare your shop and company for the new VAT rules

  • Keep an eye on your total export to other member states, the new total limit is 10.000 EUR

  • Decide on whether you will use OSS or traditional VAT registrations/reporting

  • Align your systems and bookkeeping processes with your decisions

See examples scenarios below:

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Brexit negotiations have been going on for years, which finally at 1. January 2021 were effectuated. However, planning for what Brexit would mean to trade between UK and other countries, has been almost impossible.

In this short post we have highlighted some of the Brexit consequences for selling online from the EU to UK:

  • On the positive side, trade between EU countries and UK, will not be restricted by quotas or taxes as long as the traded goods are manufactured in EU.

  • The reality is though, that a lot of goods are manufactured outside of EU and therefore taxes will be applied when shipped to UK.

  • Taxes vary on different product groups, and even if only some of the product value is manufactured outside of EU, this will be calculated and taxed accordingly.

  • UK's previous rule of VAT free imports on products below 15GBP is also removed, so VAT (currently 20%) is paid on all sales. VAT registration in UK is now also required.

Credit card fees to quadruple?

Mastercard recently announced that they will increase the fees by at least 400% from 0.3% on credit card payments and 0.2% on debit card payments to 1.5% and 1.15% respectively on payments from the European Economic Area (EEA is all EU countries + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to the UK. Why? Well, because they can: Since 2015, the EU has capped these fees across the EEA countries, including within the UK. But now, card issuers apparently can set the price themselves, and that could turn out to be very expensive for the selling party.

[UPDATE 4th February] Customer experience The first impressions from January 2021 shows that customers in UK buying from EU based stores had a rough start. Brexit has caused absolute chaos with serious delays, problems with paperwork and goods being returned to sender at the border. Due to this, one of our clients had delays of up to 3 weeks from the order being placed to being delivered.

As a result this client saw a +260% increase in customer service contacts (from 0,4 contacts per order to 1,44), as customers were asking for their order's status and for refunds. This is a terrible customer experience, and very expensive for the seller to handle.

Should I start selling in UK now?

Historically, UK has been one of the toughest e-commerce markets to enter in many years. Although the demand-side is very strong, UK has always been one of the first markets to enter for brands and webshops from around the world. With the extra hassle and costs involved in doing business with UK currently, it would be worth considering other large European markets inside EU as an alternative, unless there's a special opportunity or gap in the UK market for your product. Hopefully over time better trade agreements will be gradually introduced between EU and UK. Consider a Market Scan to find the best fitting market for your shop/product.

Sources:, &