We are proud to announce our new European localisation services for Shopify Plus merchants selling into Europe. Just as Shopify Plus, our localisation services are created for large scale business to grow their business into Europe. Together with our European strategic Plus partner we develop and improve your current .com web shop on Shopify Plus. Via the GO EU Plugin for Shopify Plus merchants you are directly connected to the GO EU platform, dashboard and checkout calculator with integrated duty calculator.
By adding new localisation services to our platform we are able to create even more value for Shopify Plus merchants selling into Europe. In our previous deep dive ‘Expanding your retail presence into Europe’ we talked about the challenges you might face when considering an expansion to the European 300+million e-shoppers market. Expanding to European markets holds a big draw. Even if you are on Shopify Plus. It’s more complicated than putting something in Google translate and getting international shipping packaging. We make the daunting task of expanding to a whole new market even more easy with our new localisation services.
The European e-commerce market moves fast
European expansion in a cost-effective and compliant way is a critical strategy for non-European retail businesses. They are constantly being asked to do more for less trying to compete with European brands & retailers. Looking for the right partners, opportunities and making calculated risks is key to making it in the European e-commerce space. If you’re not thinking about a compliant all-inclusive shipping solution with all duties and taxes calculated in the checkout, it’s likely that you’re missing out. Here are few things to take into consideration as you craft your move into Europe.
You need to be localised in Europe
Localisation via country specific European url’s make the European e-shopper feel like home even when you fulfill from your home country. Build your brand, get customers to your .com website/shop and make sure your business doesn’t fall prey to the lure of Amazon monopoly (also known as the world’s biggest product search engine).
Social media creates a European customer base
Social media is a no-brainer for brands & retailers around the world. Not only does it give you an exclusive opportunity to have an authentic conversation with your market, it makes it easier to build a brand and reach shoppers around the world. Again, Europe isn’t like the US. Also, when we are talking about social media. If you don’t run country specific social media campaigns in Europe you’re “missing the boat.”
Know the European market
If you do decide to go into a new European market, be aware that critical mistakes happen when you don’t know what will work – and what won’t. Don’t spend too much money experimenting in all 26 European countries, make sure you know what will sell from country to country.
How do I ship my products in Europe?
Selling direct B-C into Europe looks easy. You either ship into Europe via integrators like DHL and UPS which is expensive and causing a second payment at the time of delivery. Using a mail service is a little bit cheaper but very, slow and incompliant creating a bad customer experience.
Do I need to register in Europe?
When you are shipping via the integrators or mail service you have to be aware that, when you reach the country specific threshold for distance sales, you need to register in each European country. Is this cost-effective when you are selling direct B-C into Europe? The answer? Probably not?
You don’t need a European warehouse
Possible and logical next step, when you don’t know Europe, would be a European warehouse using a fiscal representor. Is this cost-effective when you are selling direct B-C into Europe? Average estimate cost for the first year would be € 50.000 with you just selling in 6 European countries. The answer to this question? Probably not? Blog: Why you don’t need a European warehouse.
Don’t mistake Europe for the US
If you don’t have a remarkable or popular product to start, your product will get “lost at sea.” Therefore, it’s crucial to have a real strategy for Europe – more so than was needed five years ago. Even if you’ve been in the European market before, things have changed, and your company will need to adapt.
New European e-commerce regulations will impact your business
Soon all cross border commercial items shipped into Europe will be taxable from the first cent and will affect your cross-border e-commerce business into Europe. There will be no more privileged position of the national postal administrations and integrators and the existing tax exemptions. At the same time, the introduction of electronic advanced data systems will be compulsory.
Webshops, Ecommerce portals and platforms will need to transmit all the key data necessary to uniquely identify each individual commercial item, its content, value, recipient and import turnover tax identification number in a standardized format, in digital form, directly to the customs and tax authorities.
Understanding these challenges of shifting from domestic to European markets is key. After you’re done considering the market conditions that can impact your current retail strategies, you’ll also want to understand what challenges you’ll be facing as you turn from domestic to European markets.
Being proactive and innovative in your partner choices will impact your performance and business into Europe. For example: companies that have been using traditional online commerce systems for the past ten years are not going to perform at the same level as a company that adapts and makes the change to something newer and more flexible. A standard duty calculator in your checkout, providing you with just estimates on European VAT per country is not going to help you. So, keep up with current market technologies to ensure your product are sold in a compliant way. Not just for you to stay in control of your margin and sales price but also for your European customers.
How to beat the complex challenges
Carefully consider shipping, technology and partner platforms based on your products, market, and competitors in the market you’re tackling.
Find the right partner and market your product in Europe for affordable and fast shipping.
Use social media to sell as much directly to consumers from your “.com” to avoid partner revenue drain.
Focus on products that are unique to your brand to stand out in crowded markets and create demand.
Pay attention to small details such as changing from a “.com” to a “.co.uk” or “.de” make the European market more comfortable with your product’s website.
Partner with a localization expert help you ensure that your message is tightly aligned with a target customer’s need from country to country.
If you are on Shopify Plus we help you to beat these challenges through our new European localisation services.
Contact us via our website or send an email to email@example.com and we are more than happy to schedule a call how we can help you doing more business in Europe and how to increase your European sales in a compliant way.