Updated: Feb 10, 2020

Comparing the recent 6 months in 2019 with the same months in 2018, we have a +30% drop in the share of orders, leading to a contact with our agents.

This has happened while introducing and implementing several new channels for our clients, for example chat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

But there are good reasons to the change in customer behaviour and we believe it is a combination of the following: 

1. Experienced customers Better 'educated' customers, who knows how to buy online. When you make your 117th online purchase this year, you don't need a helping hand unless something goes wrong! 

2. Technology

E-commerce platforms are becoming more and more mature and this also goes for the payment and logistics providers which leads to less friction and fewer issues for the customers.

3. Listen, understand and optimise

Our agents always look for possible improvements. Can we localise the shop better? Can processes be further optimised or can we perhaps adjust our the conditions to the benefit of the local customer?

Our findings are communicated in our ongoing dialogue with our clients as well as in the reporting delivered every month. This is very important. For every customer writing to us with a problem, there might be 9 customers going directly to a competitor webshop. We lose the orders from these 9 customers.

On top of the potential savings in customer service handling, you can use this opportunity to take even better care of those who actually contact you. Give them an experience, make them feel important and they will want to come back to your shop again and again!

As we like to say in MakesYouLocal: Customer Service beats marketing any day!

Right now, nothing has changed since before the invention of the phrase ‘Brexit’. So currently everything is still business as usual.

However, The EU has set a (new) final deadline for an agreement for October 31st of this year. This leaves us with the following scenarios:

a. The UK will leave the EU without a deal = Hard Brexit     

b. The UK will leave WITH a deal, content still unknown     

c. The UK will stay as member state in the EU

Scenario A - Hard Brexit If the UK leaves without a deal, the situation for a business selling online, will likely be quite similar to the one we see in Norway today. The UK will not be part of the EU. Imported goods will have to go through customs and there will be added taxes. This will either leave an administrative burden on the shoulders of the selling business or on the buying customers.

To leave it to the customers will probably be a bad idea and take a toll on conversion and sales.

To be competitive in the UK you will probably need a local entity or a branch of your EU company. This entity or branch will be the selling part inside the UK in order to keep your UK customers out of the custom handling. You will have to do the custom handling between your EU company and your UK entity or branch.

Handling this scenario puts a lot of work on the UK authorities, setting up legislation and processes for all the import into the UK and also establishing the infrastructure in harbours and airports.

Scenario B - Leave with a deal This is probably the scenario we are most likely to see, but it is hard to see what the consequence will be. From a financial perspective it makes a lot of sense to protect the crossborder business, both for the EU and for the UK. It is therefore likely that The Government come to an agreement close to the deal already negotiated with Therese May and in addition, adding some extra time to make sure legislation, processes and infrastructure are in place. This will also give businesses time to prepare and will probably result in a smoother transition. But since the UK becomes a trade partner to the EU like US, China and others, it can easily move the competitive advantage against one of the other trade partners. It is not a happy divorce after all. Scenario C - Stay in the EU If Boris Johnson becomes the new prime minister of the UK, then this is probably not a scenario we are likely see. If this happens it is, of course, “business as usual” and you are prepared.

How should you prepare? If you plan to sell in the UK, we will recommend that you "hold your horses" until it is clear what the outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be. The scenarios are pretty far from each other and the preparation necessary is quite different.

We keep an eye on the development and as soon as we have a direction, we will be ready to guide you. Until then, check out the reports on e-export which we have already prepared in English, Danish and Swedish here.

Updated: Jun 17, 2019

Choosing the countries and channels that are the best fit for your products, prices and selling points is a very important part of an e-commerce rollout.

Should you opt for marketplaces alone or is the right solution to localise your own webshop? Should you go for Norway, or might Germany be the right place for business?

To answer these questions, your thought process needs to go further than simply, “Well, 80 million people live in Germany and they all love Amazon — Amazon.de it is!”.

Our recommendation is to focus on one or two countries and then carry out a Marketscan. This will tell you who the main online competitors are and benchmark them with regards to over 15 different business areas such as delivery terms, social media presence, product range etc. Looking through our report will then give you a clear understanding of the competitive situation and the competitors you need to win customers from.

This knowledge leads on to the next phase: A Roadmap will show you all the tasks to be carried out from where you are today to when the sales channel is launched. How much investment will be required and do you have the resources available?

This research is required for the Decide phase shown in the model below.

5 phases of successful international e-commerce

Once this decision has been made, you move on to the localisation phase.

This phase is all about making sure that your customers say yes to the following 3 questions when viewing your product in your webshop or at a marketplace:

  1. Do I have enough information to make my decision (product information, price, shipping costs, delivery terms)?

  2. Do I trust the webshop enough to place an order and go through with the payment?

  3. What if i regret my purchase? Are the return process and return policy competitive - and am I confident that they will provide me a refund ?

If you need advice or just a quick chat to get our first take on a challenge, please don’t hesitate to contact us!