For a good e-retailer a steady growth in sales each year is the main aim. This growth can be achieved in a variety of ways - through considerable marketing, perfect customer service or unbeatable prices. One may even combine all of it! Although the desired growth in sales might come and remain for some time, the inevitable for most e-businesses will be to expand to new markets. For some it means the far away Asia or Latin America. However for those who either don’t have an idea or willingness to travel so far, the four European directions presented here might be a solution.
Care to join the European leaders?
E-commerce in Europe is indisputably led by Great Britain, where online sales in 2011 reached £68.2 billion in 2011 according to imrg.org . The next leader, France, recorded sales worth of €37.7 billion while Germany went by 7% up by 2011 gaining the total of €32.4 billion worth of online sales. The mentioned countries have already a stable Internet infrastructure and over a half of Internet users convinced to e-commerce transactions. However, this doesn’t mean that you can invest straight away. On the contrary, it might turn out to be extremely difficult to squeeze into this packed environment, not to mention becoming its leader in any area of e-commerce sales. Though, it's definitely worth trying!
Crisis - is it a good opportunity?
Many European countries are suffering from poor economic situation right now. It’s, however understandable that human being in general easily gets used to good quality of goods and is unwilling to resign from convenient conditions. Thus, the demand on high quality products isn’t decreasing that dramatically, but the way to shop is changing. The Internet outlets and other online discount e-commerce sites may well consider such countries as Spain. The turn-over after 2011 reached here the total of €9.2 billion, and an interesting fact is that unlike in any other European countries the Internet use among citizens is now growing rapidly. Is it that bargains hunt is attracting more and more customers there?
According to the diagram above Spain is getting more and more convinced to online purchases and up till 2016 it’s expected to reach as much as 30.21 billion dollars. It seems that the economic crisis opened some new doors for e-retailers.
Nordic walking through the e-commerce possibilities
If to analyze them separately: Denmark, Finland and Sweden may not be such a luring retail destination. Firstly, because there aren’t just those many people there! Nevertheless, combined there is a population of over 20 000 000 people wanting to shop online. That’s likely, because in 2011 84% of the habitants of that circle made an online purchase. What’s more according to the diagram below Denmark and Finland are in the top of the list, if it comes to cross-border purchases on the Internet.
Although the turn-over in online sales recorded in total €7.8 billion, the countries are definitely reaching out to foreign e-shops. Maybe, in order to add some to the turn-over next year, it’s worth reaching out to them? Especially, that there’s also Norway in a very near area. This country has an 85% attendance among its 5 mln habitants that shop online. Of course, we should analyze the country from a different angle, since Norway is not a member of European Union. However, the 2.9 billion euro online market value of one of the least competitive markets, Norway might also be a place to go.
Use the similarities between the countries
Germany is already a well-established market in the e-commerce area with a € 21.48 billion turn-over in 2011, while another German-speaking country, Austria recorded a € 7 billion turnover during 2011. Although, maybe less worth but over 30% of Austria’s online shoppers bought goods from other European countries. For that reason at least we should seriously consider this market. Knowing that the language and currency in both Germany and Austria are common it seems a good idea to think of a joint strategy. Minding the cultural differences of course!
Gaining online success in Europe is still, or now in the era of economic crisis, possible. Hiring a translator for each of the variants of your shop is rather easy. Thus, if you follow each country’s rules regarding customs and law there is a huge possibility to earn and expand with you offer. Remember, that Europe, especially the EU part is all about unity, as well in business.
What are your experiences in expanding to other counties? How did you make your choice?