The 5 Steps to international e-Commerce success


Learn how you can achieve international eCommerce success faster and easier. >>

There are still many myths and ambiguities surrounding cross-border e-Commerce. It is true that expanding your online business to new markets is not the easiest thing to do, but it is also not the most difficult. With the right approach and preparation, it can be a huge success.


Today, more and more e-Commerce companies are seeking to expand for a very clear reason – to be more stable by getting incomes from 2-3-4 markets instead of their local market alone.
The e-Commerce specialists at and show you how to turn difficult, expensive and pointless into achievable, affordable and rewarding.


All in 5 steps:


1. Choose a market!


Choosing the country you want to expand into is crucial. Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of investing in markets without first doing a thorough analysis.


Their shops are not properly prepared, they fail, and as a result, the owners not only lose money, but also the will to expand further. If it’s the very first expansion for you, we would recommend starting with Czech, Slovakia and Poland, since all these countries have similarities and if you are successful in Romania, you already have huge chances to be successful in neighboring countries.


But here are some tips to think about:


  • 💠 If you’re already receiving orders from abroad, check to see where most are coming from and why. Is it Czech people making the purchases? Or maybe clients from Hungary? If you get orders from abroad, it’s a first signal that your products are needed in that market. 


  • 💠 Check your competitors in a new market.  What are their prices? What is the delivery time? What payment methods do they offer? How wide is the product range? What are the customer reviews? What is the return policy like? Try to understand with whom you will compete in a new market.


  • 💠 Once you’ve researched the competition, assess whether entering the market is definitely worth it for you. Is there something you can do to stand out and attract customers? How will you do this? What is your competitive advantage?

2. Localize your shop.


Fully localizing your online shop abroad is the second essential step to successful expansion. Why?


Customers from abroad have their own shopping habits, which should not be underestimated. You should meet their expectations and thus win their trust. Remember one thing: try to understand what local customers would expect from the professional online store?


Would he/she expect professional translations, easy payment methods – for some markets “Cash on Delivery” option is a must, at least two or three delivery methods with well-known and trusted local couriers, easy returns with domestic return address, local social media and customer support, etc.? Probably yes. Otherwise, they will choose your competitors to place the orders.


3. Ensure customer trust.


A foreign buyer should feel at home in our shop as in a local shop he knows and trusts. Trust is the key factor in whether or not a customer makes a purchase in the web store. Now that we’ve taken care of the local language version of the website and added the necessary logistics and payment measures, here’s what else you need to do to build trust in a new market:


  • 💠 Add a local phone number. Even if your customers don’t have many questions or problems to solve, knowing that they can reach a live person from the country they are in ‘in case of emergency’ provides a sense of security.


  • 💠 Add a local return address. Would you order the item yourself without the guarantee of a hassle-free return if it doesn’t work out for you? Would you send the product abroad, at your own expense, and wait patiently for an exchange or refund? Doubtful.


  • 💠 Provide customer service in native language. How often have you called the help line and been helped by a consultant in English? Or in German? When a product or delivery question is relatively simple, perhaps more people are able to rise to the heights of linguistic skill and actually get help.


  • 💠 Provide the most preferred delivery methods – in many EU countries the most popular and trusted delivery options are strong local courier companies that you may have not even heard of coming from another country. Furthermore, the percentage of customers choosing alternatives to home delivery, such as PuDo/parcelshop and Lockers, is increasing more and more. In order to achieve the right portfolio of courier companies and delivery methods we recommend that you choose a logistics provider that combines all of these options into a single integrated solution.


  • 💠 Deliver from a local fulfillment center – this not only provides the highest possible efficiency (low costs for execution and shipping of an order), but also builds trust in your customers by allowing 1-2 days transit time for their orders. Only in this way you can match the delivery experience that your local competitors provide.


4. Create a strategy


Once your shop is ready to enter a new market, it is essential to prepare a launch strategy. An effective strategy must include your fixed and variable costs, such as warehousing, pick and pack service, shipping costs, customer service, and returns. If you don’t have the time and resources to cover-up these processes on your own, use fulfillment services to optimize.


It is also essential to calculate how much you need to sell to be in profit and build a good marketing strategy. If you continuously monitor what works and what doesn’t, you can react quickly and make changes. But of course, first get the basics done (such as AdWords, Social media, newsletters, etc.) and later expand marketing channels according to the first results.


5. Be patient!


Expansion abroad is only possible with concrete plans and actions written out over time. And this takes a while. Although we would all like to see immediate results, success is rarely achieved overnight. Building up customer awareness and interest in a brand or online shop is tedious work. Realistic expectations translated into defined marketing, logistics and optimization activities will help accelerate the achievement of goals. The goals should be clearly defined and included in a schedule – necessarily with milestones marked accordingly.


Whether you are experienced in cross-border trade or not, it is always a good idea to consult with an expert – a local e-Commerce professional who can tell you how they think your website works (and looks!) and what could be improved, and international logistic specialist who can execute for you all the processes following a customer’s purchase.
If you run an online shop and are thinking about expanding abroad, the specialists at MakesYouLocal and euShipments are happy to help you prepare and succeed.


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Our sales team is at your disposal for consultation and more information about the logistics services that we offer for online stores.
They can be contacted via:
✆ 0700 70 755
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Donatas Gudelis

Partner at MakesYouLocal
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