So you want to expand into Europe?
Thanks to eCommerce, global sales are no longer as difficult to achieve as they once were.
Amazon makes it fairly easy to expand in Europe – not quite as easy as they pretend, but much easier than it was before.
You still need to invest to be successful, particularly in your content and traffic. The European market is becoming crowded with retailers from around the world – but if you can stand out from the crowd, it becomes very lucrative.
There are four steps to get into Europe on Amazon. They are:
Choose the right expansion strategy
First, you should embrace the complexity of the European markets: the different languages, the different currencies, the different cultures. We're not saying you have to learn to speak in many different tongues, but a little research will help you target certain countries, and appreciate what you're trying to sell into.
One thing to consider is VAT (value-added tax), which applies to goods and services sold in most European countries. You need to understand what it is, when you'll need to declare it, and the costs involved.
When that's done, you can work out which account type is best for you: Vendor or Seller. They have subtle differences that could make or break your success.
Set up your operation
Without the proper operations in place to support your business, you will struggle to make any headway in Europe.
First of all, you need a team to handle the expansion. Consider whether to use your own internal staff, and recruit new people or provide training for your existing ones; or use an external team of experts, which could be a benefit in terms of speed and handling technical issues.
Secondly, your logistics: bridging the Atlantic is no small feat. If you go down the seller route, you need a good system in place for exports, and if you're a vendor, you will need warehousing facilities in Europe.
Create local content
A German customer will not buy your product if the text is written in English. Google Translate will only take you so far: you need to make sure your content is written in the local language, and written well. You will have the best success with local, native translators.
That goes for search engine optimization, too. Even if you only wanted to sell in the UK, British English keywords are different to US keywords. The Brits don't search for diapers and pacifiers – they want nappies and dummies for their babies.
Generate traffic locally
The final step is generating traffic to your pages – especially in the more crowded markets, like Germany and the UK.
You'll need to consider where and how to advertise, and who will handle it, whether a member of your team or an external expert. Again, you'll get best results if you use native speakers to write your adverts.
e-Comas founder and MD Jérôme de Guigné will be speaking about how to expand into Europe at White Label World Expo USA. We’re exhibiting, too - visit https://www.whitelabelexpo.com/exhibitors/e-comas-sarl-/, and register for your free ticket to the show on February 26th & 27th at the Las Vegas Convention Center.