Author: Nick Curattalo
Expand and Grow Your Brand with International E-Commerce
Author: Nick Curattalo
Consumer trends continue to shift strongly toward e-Commerce in the United States, growing 44% year-over-year and representing 21.3% of total retail sales in 2020. Per McKinsey, online retail has grown by a factor of two to five times faster in the COVID-19 crisis. Many businesses are searching for ways to capitalize on this growth trend to increase their e-Commerce revenue. One highly strategic option for merchants on the rise is to expand into international markets with their e-Commerce offerings.
The good news is that international e-Commerce is a great opportunity for merchants to expand their brands and sales. E-Commerce sales worldwide topped $4.28 trillion in 2020, with an expected growth trajectory to $5.4 trillion by 2022. A single international e-Commerce order can average upwards of $100 dollars, as of 2020.
If international e-Commerce expansion seems like the right move for your brand, here are the key steps necessary to position your brand for success when it comes to international selling and shipping.
Six Steps to Expand and Grow E-Commerce Internationally:
Understand How an International Expansion Will Impact Current Operations
E-Commerce merchants should first examine their existing e-Commerce platform, logistics network, fulfillment processes, vendor partners, and shipping agreements. To successfully meet international demand may require operational expansions, process improvements, and the introduction of new technologies and partners. Once merchants have assessed their current state operations and considered how things must change for international expansion, they can begin mapping the key elements necessary to make expansion successful.
Define the Demand and Regulatory Environment
Long before a product is sold and shipped across an international border, e-Commerce leaders should measure demand, and understand the regulatory environment, for the product abroad. Here are a few key strategies for defining international demand:
- Examine market opportunities and international consumer demands in different regions around the world.
- Consider regulatory roadblocks, including import laws, as well as how this will influence your sales and shipping strategy. For example, the EU regulations for international imports, including customs and taxation, are changing on July 1, 2021.
- Consult with experts in your industry, and in the logistics field, to determine what expansion looks like across certain geographies and cultures.
Consider the Customer’s Expectations & Experience
Once you understand relevant international demand trends and regulatory environments, it is time to focus on the customer’s expectations and experience when they meet your brand.
- Understand how consumer expectations have shifted in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Once popular products may need to be updated, and new products may need to be introduced.
- Examine your e-Commerce shopping experience and whether it is leading to cart abandonment and customer unhappiness. The top reasons for cart abandonment are hidden costs, including shipping, taxes, duties, and other fees. Review whether you can display the total landed cost upfront in the shopping cart, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
- Consider customer expectations about delivery, balancing speed and cost. Note that certain shipping methods may extend delivery ranges, impacting customers’ experience.
- Ensure your technology infrastructure is in place, from the shopping cart through to parcel delivery. This requires making sure you have supply chain visibility and integrated shipping partners.
When it comes to executing on your international brand expansion, timing is everything. For example, unless there is a significant demand trend, brands should focus on existing prospects and customers in peak season, spending other parts of the year building the foundation and momentum for international e-Commerce.
- Consider existing carriers and current capacity. Plan ahead of peak season pressures to select your shipping partners and anchor on rates.
- Review lessons learned in past peak seasons when preparing for international expansion. Work with your industry and logistics networks to develop an understanding of timing and partner availability.
Assess Carriers & Select Partners
Finding the right carrier partners is critical for successful international expansion and expanding internationally is a great time to evaluate and select new shipping partners.
- Seek transparency from the first conversation with potential carriers, steering clear of hidden costs.
- Leverage shippers’ knowledge. Good carriers are willing to provide expertise on international regulations and technological requirements. They must be as focused on customer experience as you are, as the end-customer is their ultimate priority.
- Consider a partnership portfolio. There are a variety of carrier options available depending on your expansion needs. For example, consider consolidator options versus a multi-shipper platform.
- Pursue an RFP process to gather requirements against your company’s needs, then select the partner or partners that best support your expansion. Make sure relevant technology can be integrated to ensure transparency and ease of execution.
After navigating through the international shipping processes above, the brand will be ready to start selling and shipping internationally. Take lessons learned in the initial expansion to continue driving positive customer experiences, build brand loyalty internationally, and accelerate your organization’s growth.
Where GEODIS MyParcel Can Help
GEODIS MyParcel makes it easy for domestic e-Commerce brands to go global. Our small parcel shipping service currently ships to 27 European countries, Great Britain, and Canada with guaranteed delivery in 4-6 days. How do we do this? By leveraging our parcel expertise, e-Commerce experience, deep understanding of global customs clearance processes, and integrated technology.
We can help you strike the balance between speed of delivery and total costs. We offer an end-to-end global transportation network and a fully integrated digital platform to make international shipping a breeze for you and your customers. You can rely on our many years of e-Commerce experience to implement. Learn more about what GEODIS MyParcel can bring to your international e-Commerce business by contacting us today.