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4 Tips for European Ecommerce Expansion

At Pattern, we often speak with brand executives about their fears, challenges, and goals for their ecommerce strategy. Top brand leaders have varying curiosities and struggles, but one thing we repeatedly see is an interest in international ecommerce expansion. The key to successfully launching your brand across the world is having insider support from knowledgeable and experienced partners.

Pattern, a global ecommerce accelerator, has 6 global offices with coverage, experience, and expert knowledge of all major ecommerce platforms. We’ve helped hundreds of brands succeed in achieving more profitable success worldwide. If you’re a leader whose brand is based in the U.S. and you’d like to increase your global reach, we highly recommend looking into opportunities in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region.

Europe, in particular, holds a lot of reward with relatively lower risk for expanding product brands. Learn four tips below for how to be your most successful when expanding to the EMEA region.

1. Acknowledge an Increasingly Smaller World

With the rise of social media and ecommerce penetration worldwide, it’s important to have a global presence. Influencers and social media are just one example of why brands should consider expanding to international marketplaces—if a big influencer finds and loves your product and decides to talk about it online, your brand can be subject to viral growth.

Influencers have followers from all over the world, and when those followers see your products and search for them on their local marketplaces and online retail channels, you need to be on the marketplace and optimized for the channel to capture sales. Brands that are becoming prepared for these kinds of possibilities, and especially those actively following ecommerce trends and chasing them, will soon be the ones far ahead of their ecommerce competition.

2. Understand European Ecommerce Opportunities

Expanding into European marketplaces is a great way for U.S. brands to begin tapping into international markets. It’s clear Asian marketplaces like Tmall and JD.com hold more opportunity overall, but the learning curve and investment needed to succeed in APAC is very steep. Brands have to consider that the APAC region has a completely different approach to ecommerce than the U.S., requiring intense customer service resources, having higher social media expectations, and needing more translation.

European marketplaces, on the other hand, are more similar to U.S. marketplaces. They tend to have more familiar warehousing and logistical processes and can generally help brand leaders become acquainted with common obstacles to international growth—like regulatory and distribution considerations.

3. Start with Amazon

For many brands, a smart first step to entering the EMEA region is to use Amazon's presence in Europe—it’s definitely the dominant ecommerce platform with 8 different markets to tap into. There are three ways you can get started with your EMEA expansion through Amazon:

  1. Turn on FBA export
  2. Sell on the Amazon Global Store
  3. Establish a local presence

Starting with these small steps can help you “dip your toe in,” so to speak, and start immersing yourself in the learnings and challenges you’ll need to face to succeed in the EMEA region.

4. Keep Smaller Channels Top of Mind

Though Amazon is the dominant marketplace throughout Europe and expanding through Amazon’s channels is relatively easy, it’s important to avoid falling into the common EMEA expansion misstep of ignoring other ecommerce channels such as Zalando and Cdiscount available in Europe. Amazon may have a strong hold already, but country-specific platforms are very important to European consumers.

When they feel like they’re getting local products through local channels, European customers find it easier to establish trust and loyalty with your brand, making them more likely to repeat purchases from you in the future. The more well-established you are across marketplaces, the better you can strengthen your brand presence and authority for more repeat purchases. Additionally, as consumers seek you out through branded or organic journeys, they’ll get to your product every time and you’ll have greater chances of capturing those sales.

Expand to European Marketplaces with Pattern

If you’re looking to expand to European marketplaces, Pattern can help. With local teams on the ground in EMEA, as well as proprietary, world-class technology and all the resources and expertise product brands need to succeed there, brands partnering with Pattern are gaining a larger global footprint and capturing more international market share. Contact us here to start your international expansion in EMEA.