How You Can Break Into The $309 Billion European Online Market

by Gwen Carrington | eCommerce Fulfillment, International Fulfillment, Rakuten

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If you’re the owner of an online business, you’re probably always looking for ways to grow your company.

The more exciting way to do that is to enter into a market that you know will have demand for your product.

Sometimes you can accomplish this by creating a new product. In other cases, you have to find a new market, whether it’s a different state, country, or continent.

And what better place to do it than in the largest eCommerce market in the world”

I’m not talking about the United States or China, which might one day become the largest.

I’m talking about Europe.

Why You Should Care About Europe

In terms of regions, Europe is the largest eCommerce market in the world, with over $307 billion dollars of sales per year, compared to North America’s $297 billion.

Not only that, the UK is currently the single second largest market in the world, which is great news to online retailers in the United States, due to the minimal cultural differences between the two countries.

Certainly, it’s much easier breaking into Europe than Asia, where the cultural gap looms large and daunting. In many cases, this culture gap requires extensive modifications to your products to make them viable.

And speaking of your product, the most important question is whether or not there is any demand in the market for it overseas. For most people, that answer will be yes. Unless it’s a product that only makes sense in your culture, there will likely be some demand. And $307 billion a year is difficult to ignore.

How To Break Into Europe

Of course, even if your product is a perfect fit for overseas markets, you will still need to change your advertising and the type of messaging you use. If you are selling in mainland Europe, you will need to translate your offerings, and there are countless small, seemingly minor cultural differences that have gotten even the largest companies in trouble when they’ve expanded internationally.

Then there is the problem of getting your product to your customers in Europe. If you’ve ever gotten something shipped to the United States from another country, you should be well aware of how much time it takes. 15-30 days is not unusual when you’re buying from foreign retailers.

But you will never build up a loyal following in another country with those kinds of speeds, simply because speed of delivery is considered one of the most important factors when it comes to building customer loyalty.

Though there are fulfillment services in Europe you could partner with, it’s easier to partner with one in the states with fulfillment centers in Europe. Either way, it would cut your delivery time by 5-10 days, and give you the speed necessary to compete with local retailers.

With proper cultural sensitivity and fast order speed, and, most importantly, a product that there is demand for, there is no reason you can’t expand into the European eCommerce market and build a strong operation in the region.

Have you considered expanding in Europe?