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E‐Commerce » Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 14.09.2015

Steps you need to take before expanding your e-commerce store cross-border

When a large retailer such as Amazon or eBay expands to such an extent that its growth curve in the UK market slows down, the natural solution is to look overseas. The success of such businesses in taking international markets by storm has inspired many smaller businesses to follow suit. For some, shipping internationally can be a little daunting, so here are a few tips to help you along the way.


1. Research

Is there a market for your product in the country you are looking at expanding into? Is there something already offering the same thing? If not, why not? Does that mean there is a gap in the market or just that they are not ready for what you have to offer? You can waste a lot of money if you fail to research.


Before you list items for international sale, you need to have the right infrastructure, processes, procedures and support in place to make sure that you can fulfil your commitments. Think about language, currency and price when you are listing.

3. Payments

As well as being in the right currency, payment methods will need to be simple and straightforward for that country. An example is if you have ever tried to use an American Express card in the UK. So many retailers don’t accept them and yet in the USA, they are the go-to credit card. Difficulty in paying will stop people from purchasing from you and it’s very difficult to win them back.

4. Shipping

Research international parcel companies and make sure that you find one that offers everything you need at a reasonable price. The most important asset is reliability. If your orders are not arriving safely into a particular destination, you can rule out expansion into that area of the market.

5. Make sure the expansion is cost effective

As with any business venture, you need to be sure that with the cost of currency exchange and shipping on top of your usual overheads, there is still a profit to be had. If your profit margin becomes too narrow, perhaps research another territory before embarking on expansion.