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Published On: Mon, Feb 27th, 2017

Expanding Your Ecommerce Business into Europe

Europe may be the second smallest continent in the world but it does boast the largest B2C e-commerce market in the world. It is constantly growing as European countries adopt online shopping and it is expected that this growth will continue. Because of this, companies from all over the world are looking to expand their e-commerce operations to the continent. However, this is not something to take lightly and companies need to ensure that they understand the following key areas to ensure a smooth entry.

Marketing Difficulties

The marketing strategies you use have to be developed based on a country-by-country approach. You basically start with the language and then you adapt everything you do to the culture in the country you want to sell to. You then need to focus on the best possible traffic sources. In some countries SEO is better while in others the Facebook advertising campaigns will bring in the best possible results.

photo/ screenshot YouTube

Market Regulations

There are many different country specific regulations that you have to consider. For instance, there can be many differences that appear when looking at product returns. The policies should be known so that you are going to be in complete compliance. Understanding and respecting the law is vital for the success of expanding to Europe.

Payments and Delivery

You will see that payment methods and delivery options are also likely to vary on a per country basis. There is often a payment method preference connected to the country so you want to be sure that you offer exactly that. As a very simple example, when you sell to the Netherlands your credibility will be a lot higher when you offer iDEAL for payments. Knowing such details is very important as it helps you generate more customers because trust becomes higher for the interested customer. The smartest way to deliver into Europe is undoubtedly partnering with a European eCommerce fulfilment company. Fulfilment from multiple locations in Europe offers cost benefits to online retailers and quicker delivery times for customers.

Taxes

We should add that VAT will be specific on a per country basis. It is important to be registered in every single country that you are going to ship to. Currently, such an application is made directly to tax authority specific to the country. Your business has to be compliant. Certain European fulfilment companies offer LVCR (Low Value Consignment Relief) solutions that provision the entry of lower value products into the EU without paying duties.

On December 1st 2016 The European Commission unveiled a series of measures to improve the Value Added Tax (VAT) environment for e-commerce businesses in the EU. You can read the official press release here.

Conclusions

Expanding to Europe is something that has to be done with due diligence and proper planning. You have to be sure that you are going to work with people that know how to do this if you have no in-house experience. Contacting a European fulfilment house is a great way to start.

Author: Lolita Di

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    […] new business, especially start-ups, Holland is making a great efforts to bring some of that business to the EU. Companies are looking for countries that offer ‘perks’ when bringing business in to their […]

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