Updated: Apr 23, 2020

We work with companies across many different countries and industries. Most of them take a lot of pride in offering great customer service. It is our responsibility to deliver this experience and we take this huge responsibility very serious.



This is also why we recently asked a client to find another partner to help doing their customer service. We have been working with them for 4 years doing a lot of work in the Nordic countries, in particular in their two main seasons of 2 months each.


In each season we experienced a lot of frustrations among our agents, because the shop tried to avoid refunding customers when there were complaints, or did not allow us to go the extra mile, to help customers, when products where delayed.


Our agents, trained to go the extra mile, were frustrated and felt really bad on behalf of this webshop's customers and it actually drained their energy and reduced their job satisfaction.


So... although the client were satisfied and paid all bills, we have now terminated the agreement. We want to help our customers succeed abroad and to do that, you need to treat all customers as Gold Club members!

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Just returned from E-commerce Summit 2019, where I saw a lot of interesting presentations - I have been going back and forth on the role of the marketplace, for brands selling internationally.



Is it the easy and fast way to sell internationally, or maybe even global, or is it just an excuse for not doing the hard work of running your business abroad?


In the home market brands and retailers has a complex setup combining a webshop with marketplaces and on top of that a network of traffic generating channels such as Facebook, Instagram, price comparison sites, many years of SEO work and of course all the tools provided by Google Ads.


This is needed to attract a broad group of potential customers, all in different stages of the buying process and all buying for different reasons.


Can this be solved by a feed to Channel Advisor or Lengow, when you go abroad?

Probably not. I am sure that some of the customers will be satisfied, in particular, those in the middle of the funnel, just in the need of an efficient checkout and delivery.


But how can a marketplace solve the challenges in the top of the funnel, where the emotions play a substantial role?


And do the marketplaces care about repeat customers for your brand, or do they prioritize the advertisers paying most when the customer return to marketplace?


To solve the top funnel problem you need social media, influencers, and other paid media to attract consumers not yet knowing what to buy or which brand to buy.

You also need a place for them to checkout, unless you prefer to send them to Amazon and pay additional commission, on top of your spend on social media. This means you need a localised webshop.


The localised webshop is also a great platform to turn new customers into repeat customers and repeat customers into ambassadors. It is the destination for your re-marketing, the newsletters, and communication around previous orders. All great opportunities to build relationships.


The solution for international success

To succeed abroad it is important to look at the elements that made you successful in your home market. Since competition is intense everywhere, consider carefully which of the elements you don’t need abroad, to keep your USP’s relevant.


Also remember that even in the US, 80% of Amazon sellers also sell on other channels and that might also be the right solution for you.


If you have had some success with e-commerce in your local market, a natural next step is to consider expanding your business internationally. The potential in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe is huge, but with the millions of new customers comes a set of new challenges.


In this blog post, we discuss five of the most important things that you should consider when planning your expansion into new markets.


1.Every country is unique – take time to understand buying habits and customer expectations


Just as every country has its traditions and cultural differences, customers have different expectations of the local online shops they purchase from. It is easy to assume that many of the things we are used to as customers are similar for customers in other countries. And this is a dangerous assumption to make, as reality is often very different – customers have widely differing expectations regarding things such as product prices, delivery time, customer service and payment options.


In Denmark, for instance, most customers prefer to pay by credit card when shopping online, while bank transfer and invoices are the most widely used form of payment in Sweden and Germany, respectively.



Preferred online payment method

Geographical differences can also influence customers’ expectations of the online shops they buy from. Countries like Norway and Sweden are geographically large and as a result of this customers from these countries are used to longer delivery times than we are in Denmark, where delivery shouldn’t take more than a day or two.


Familiarise yourself with the country’s e-commerce culture to better understand what customers will expect from you and your online shop.


2. Find your unique position in the market


As a new player in the market, you’ll often find existing local shops to compete with for the market share.


Because of this, it is important that you position yourself in the market, making clear to customers how you differ from the existing players and why they should buy from you instead of somewhere else.


At this point you can benefit from conducting a market scan to gain insight into the price level of your competitors, product assortment, service level and their terms and conditions in order to find an area where you can gain a competitive advantage.


If you are not able to offer customers a competitive advantage over your competitors, you will have a hard time convincing customers to choose you over an existing online shop that they already know and trust.


3. Trustworthiness is the key to success



A crucial factor in whether a customer’s visit to your online shop results in a purchase is that your shop comes across as trustworthy.


There are several things you should do as an online shop to increase your trustworthiness and give customers a good first impression. First of all, it is important that translation of text content is correct and professionally done – Google Translate is therefore rarely a good solution. Furthermore, you should give customers several ways to get in touch with you if they need help – phone, mail and preferably live chat.



In some countries, a trust mark is necessary to appear trustworthy, while in others, customers expect free returns or customer service via chat. An understanding of customer expectations is therefore important in order for you to be able to deliver a professional and trustworthy consumer experience.



4. Success takes time




Before you start a cross-border project with the purpose of increasing company growth, it is important to set realistic expectations and a timeline with milestones. Success rarely happens overnight – it takes time to build up customer awareness and interest in your brand or online shop.


Your chances of being successful in a new country increase if you put time and effort into your strategy, get to know the market and localise your online shop to said market. Do these things and you will be well on your way to achieving success. Just be aware that establishing yourself in a new market takes time, so set your goals with that in mind and budget accordingly.


5. Set goals and follow development closely

 

Since it can take time to build a profitable business in a new market, it is crucial that you follow the results closely while continually optimising your strategy accordingly. If you know what your fixed and variable costs are, it is possible to calculate how much you need to sell in order to be profitable. We use an EPO calculation (earnings per order) which involves all the variable costs, including stock-handling, shipping costs, customer service and return handling. Your earnings after these costs are what we call EPO and that amount is what you can spend on fixed costs.


To succeed in international e-commerce, there are plenty of things to consider. With lots of years of experience with online sales in markets all over Europe, we have the insight into and understanding of the factors which determine whether your online shop has the potential to succeed internationally. Contact us and let’s discuss how we can help you succeed abroad.

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