Updated: May 12, 2020

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.

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

We have read the entire 64 pages of Shopify’s “The Global Ecommerce Playbook”, so you don’t have to. Here are the top 8 take-away points with a few extra tips from us at MakesYouLocal.

1. Selecting the right market from the start is crucial. Mistakes are costly in particular when you base your strategic decisions on gut feelings more than facts. Which products or services are you planning to offer, who are your key competitors, and how do you reach your customers?

2. Use your current data to reveal patterns. Social media channels and google analytics can be great indicators of international traffic to your webshop. Use it as a reference for further investigation.

3. Do your homework before launching. Compare your pre-selected markets, look at the local competitors and your potential customers. Where do you have The best chance against the local competition, and will your webshop be profitable?

4. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn! The top mistake your business can make with international expansion is investing significantly up front before validating that your brand resonates with target consumers. You should test, learn, and repeat.

5. Do not ignore local rules and regulations - When launching your webshop internationally, you will be doing business outside of your home territory. That means you need to understand and adhere administratively. It is not only VAT and customs. Get help and remember the cost of doing it right from the beginning is often far less, than sorting out the legals when you realise you did wrong.

6. You need to localize the customer experience. International consumers should never suspect you’re from another part of the world when visiting your international online store. If anything is off, you might never earn their trust—or business. You need to localize the customer experience. 75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their own language, and 59% never buy or rarely buy from English-only webshops.

7. How would you like to pay? International consumers shopping online have varying preferences in terms of payment. Make sure you understand what is required in your markets.

8. How to reach your potential customers online: Don’t assume that the same marketing channels work the same everywhere. What is the cost of marketing where you are planning to operate, and how are you going to generate traffic to your webshop?

If you would like your own get started guide for international e-commerce, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Selling online in Norway has long been an attractive opportunity for most EU webshops, but the trouble of shipping to a country outside the EU, with the technicalities and costs involved, has stopped many.

This will change as of April 1. 2020. Norway will launch a VOEC-scheme (Vat on e-commerce) that will simplify the process of selling online to Norwegian consumers from within EU. The Norwegian authorities has been developing the platform and the processes since Christmas, and the new solution is now ready for pre-registering here.

Do you need help with the registration don't hesitate to contact us. Here is what we know about the VOEC-scheme at this point:

  • After registering to the VOEC-scheme you will receive a unique VOEC-number which must be added to all packages sent to Norway.

  • Consumer goods incl. fashion products with a product value below NOK 3.000 (300€) can be imported without import tax via the VOEC-scheme.

  • Products with a value above 3000 NOK cannot be imported via the VOEC-scheme.

  • Foodstuffs and goods subject to excise duties cannot be imported via the VOEC-scheme.

  • The VOEC-scheme is for consumer import only, B2B import is not possible.

  • Companies using the VOEC-scheme have to do quarterly Norwegian VAT declarations.

  • You can only have one active model, either a VOEC-setup or a local subsidiary/branch.

  • Specific logistics partners can ensure that all required info is electronically transferred to the Norwegian Tax-authorities.

  • Formalities and requirements about return handling in connection to the VOEC-scheme is still unclear.

What we recommend

First of all, we recommend you stay tuned. You can find detailed information about the VOEC-scheme here

If you are planning to launch your shop in Norway or if you are already selling in Norway and don’t already have a Norwegian branch (NUF), a local entity or subsidiary, the VOEC-scheme can be the right solution for you, taking the above bullets into consideration.

If you already sell to Norway using a NUF or a local entity, we recommend you wait and see what happens after the 1. of April. The new model might be the right for you, but there is no guarantee that it will be smooth and effective from day one.

Do you need help or just our take on your challenge, don't hesitate to contact us.