In my last blog, I identified some of the barriers that non-European retailers have when breaking into the European market. I also used the Kano-analysis model to show how you can link “delighters” to your site for increased conversions and customer satisfaction.
Now that you’re armed with that information, are you ready to look at how to improve low conversion rates, leave your competition behind, and find out just how big your piece of the European market might be? Read on for nine steps you can take that will help figure out how to win in this valuable market.
- Clarify your focus
Make sure you are clear about what you do and what you want to achieve. What is your focus? Take this as a starting point for making the analysis. How many European visitors per day do you get on your website or in your web shop? Ask yourself: do I really want to sell into Europe, or do I just want to offer a shipping solution? There are a lot companies offering poor shipping rates and solutions (transit times) via DHL/UPS/FedEx. Offering a so-called DDU (Delivery Duties Unpaid) option with no duties and taxes included, then charging €25 for a 1-pound shipment into the Netherlands, is not a sales solution. GO EU Commerce will ship this for less than €10 within 3-4 days instead of 7-14 days. That’s why there’s a huge difference between a simple shipping solution or a real cost-effective and competitive shipping solution increasing your European sales and conversion ratio.
- Identify your competitors
Look critically by brand or product at who your competitors are. It may be that you have other competitors within a brand or product niche in different markets. If you find you have competitors in different markets, you may want to consider changing your approach. Try selling on a specially designed website or platform to stand out more and create a unique brand or product experience. If you find that you don’t have many competitors, it’s a good sign that you should emphasize your uniqueness by adding new or different products to the sales channel.
- Recognize your competitors’ “delighters”
Map the “delighters” from your competitors using the Kano analysis model (pictured above, detailed in my last blog) to identify what you are missing. If your competitors are offering lower shipping rates and faster transit times into Europe (via an all-inclusive duties and tax calculator), but you are not, it’s likely you are missing out on delighting your customers. If they are offering a similar shipping solution to yours, it may be an opportunity for you to offer a better solution — to stay ahead of the curve.
- Analyze those “delighters”
Once you’ve identified your competitors’ “delighters,” take note of those that are offered by multiple competitors. Make a note to consider these “basic needs” for your offerings. Then think: which of these can you do better than them? How can you be more compliant or cost-effective? These are your “performance needs,” and the more of these you can offer, the better! Also, think about which “delighters” you aren’t able to offer. It’s good to map these and keep track of them! Know your strengths and weaknesses, find out what new technologies are available to support you, and what the do’s and don’ts are in the European market.
- Spend some time thinking about your own “delighters”
After looking at your competitors’ delighters, look again at what you are offering. Ask yourself: Do I offer competitive shipping rates? Fast transit times? Do my European customers have to make an extra payment at time of final delivery? Brainstorm about all the possible ways you can use “delighters” to set you apart from competition and increase your conversion.
- What are your customers’ Unique Buying Reasons?
Use customer’s voice to determine why they choose to buy specifically from you — these are Unique Buying Reasons (UBRs). Talk to your customer service, marketing and logistics departments, browse your inbox, read reactions from your European customers and make sure you get in touch with them. Find out what makes your company unique in the eyes of your European customer, and why they are willing to buy your brand or product cross border. These UBRs are also your “delighters.”
- Communication makes all the difference
Look at how you intend to communicate each “delighter” to your customers. Is an all-inclusive shipping solution one of your “delighters”? Make sure you communicate that clearly during checkout based on the products in the shopping cart. This way you are able to avoid the dreaded “surprise at the door” by offering a complete breakdown of the product value, shipping costs, and any pre-calculated European import duties and VAT.
- Continue to innovate
“Performance needs” usually become “basic needs” when your competitors do the same things as you — or when it becomes the standard in the cross-border market. If you don’t have the basics taken care of, your customer will end up dissatisfied and will go to your competitor. If you are not fully aware of the new and upcoming European ecommerce laws, you might choose to use a solution which is already outdated before you even started. Be innovative with the market — it’s to your advantage to use continent-specific experts who know what’s happening so they tell you what current performance needs are in real time.
- Dare to say goodbye to old partners
You’ll end up working with any number of partners as you sell into Europe — ranging from DHL to brokers, consolidators, freight forwarders, customs agents, European warehouses, etc. — some of whom you’ll have the opportunity to choose. The challenge is that a brand or retailer can’t buy or partner with a company when they are not known to them, and a broker will only sell their own solution — never a solution where they can’t make any profit. Keep in mind: a “chosen” partner does not have to mean that you are always stuck with this partner. If your chosen partner is not up to date, is not competitive due to legacy systems, does not innovate, or has become a purveyor of “basic needs” rather than “delighters,” you can safely say goodbye to them. Stay ahead of the curve by partnering with industry experts who are ahead of you and your competition.
I hope this blog has inspired you to make your brand or company a stronger and more competitive in Europe, and that you are actively looking for “delighters” that you can offer to the 300+ million European e-shopper market. If you’re looking for a chosen partner to help you deliver in a faster, cheaper, and more compliant way, learn more about GO EU Commerce.