There are multiple reasons for webshops to expand the business across the borders. You are looking for growth in a new market, you outgrown the local market or want to be beyond your competitors. In this blog you will read more about the challenges of expanding to foreign countries.
For the challenges concerning the language, a translation of the webshop is obvious. But do not forget the e-mails, leaflets, packing slips and invoices. The best choice is to let a professional translation company take of it. They have a better understanding of the native language and this will improve the trust of the customer.
There are big differences in online shopping behavior for each country. Germans rather buy Germans goods. For people from Belgium, this matters less. They buy frequently from Dutch webshops, due to the fast delivery. It is recommended to rent a virtual office, to become more reliable for the customer. Also, each country has its own paying methods. The scheme below gives more insight.
Webshops also notice many differences between the legislation of countries. The EU is making general laws for webshops, which is a good development. Since 2014, customer can return goods up to 14 days after their purchase. Taxes can deviate between countries as well, figure this out before internationalizing. Identification requirements can be strict in some countries. Besides mentioning an e-mail address, show your telephone / V.A.T. number.
There are few webshops with the focus on internationalizing. With a relatively small number of international orders, a warehouse in the established country is enough. When you have large international ambitions, a warehouse could save costs. Fast en efficient delivery is easier that way. Multiple shipping options can save costs and generate sales as well. In Belgium people are used to Bpost and in Germany, Deutsche Post and DHL are preferred. Consumers want to choose between those options.
To internationalize, proper software is needed to be able to manage the whole process. Packing slips and return labels need to be automated in the language of the related country. When multiple warehouses are used, these locations need the proper software as well to work efficiently. And at last, an integration with the (new) shippers is needed.
The shipping module of WICS combines all large national, but also international shippers in one service. Besides that, multiple warehouses can be configurated in the Warehouse Management System (WMS). For the big retailers, WICS developed the Multichannel engine, where (international) stores can be fully integrated into the distribution strategy (Ship from Store).