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Post-Purchase Strategies For International Growth | UK Webinar Roundup

Post-Purchase Strategies For International Growth | UK Webinar Roundup

If you’re a United Kingdom-based merchant, you’ve probably thought a lot about the risks and rewards of expanding overseas – especially to the large and lucrative US market, where you’ll be able to reach more than 282 million new prospective customers.

The prospect of international expansion can be daunting, but in our recent Loop Returns webinar, Going Global: Post-Purchase Strategies for International Growth, we brought in two experts from companies specialising in supporting UK-based businesses with international expansion to share their insights on how to navigate this tricky terrain.

In the webinar, Loop Senior Product Marketing Manager Samir Kamnani chatted with Laetitia Arfi, Sales Director at Global-e, and Paul Rogers, Managing Director and Co-Founder at Vervaunt, about what UK ecommerce businesses should know before selling their products internationally.

Here are some of the key takeaways from our webinar:

Research your target markets carefully before expanding

Don’t focus your sights on the US just because it’s such a large market. 

“Last year, the US was a massive focus for maybe 80% of our clients,” says Rogers. “This was probably harder than a lot of people thought, particularly from a customer acquisition perspective and with everything else that’s happened in the market.”

When choosing your international markets, Rogers advises beginning by conducting market research so that you can understand the market, economy, and customer base. Pay attention to which countries have strong economies and low competition for your product. And make sure you know the downsides of each region, too: “Certain markets are a lot more complex around the logistics side and the payment side, like the Middle East,” Rogers adds.

“France and Germany, for the last five years, have been the obvious markets for UK brands to grow into where they’re good sized markets, there is a lot of crossover, and a lot of consumers think highly of UK brands. But I think those two have been a bit more challenging over the last couple of years,” says Rogers.

He’s found that the highest opportunities from growth in recent years have come from Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. His clients are also seeing traction in the Nordics and Scandanavian region, which have English-speaking consumer bases and a strong economy.

Your results may vary, based on your product category—but make sure that you put the effort into understanding which markets are the best fit for your business before taking the next steps.

Get to know international commerce regulations before exporting your products

Every country you’re considering shipping to has its own policies in terms of taxes, duties, and customs requirements, and failing to follow the rules could result in your products getting held at the border, or fines and penalties. 

“One thing to consider is when you sell to the EU, a lot of people think, “‘It’s the EU, it’s a country,’” says Arfi. “It’s not a country. It’s actually a multitude of different markets, different countries, different cultures, different specificities, different complexities in terms of tax and duties management. And that’s also something you need to take into account.”

Even commerce regulations within the US aren’t as simple as you might think. Each state has its own sales tax requirements, and “you need to register in each state to have the sales tax paid for each state, which can actually complexify the overall sales to a US shopper,” adds Arfi.

Wherever you plan on selling your products, make sure that you’ve consulted with business and tax experts to ensure that your policies are in line with the local government, and use an ecommerce platform that can help you stay in compliance for hassle-free cross-border shipping and delivery.

Be strategic when planning your cross-border logistics process

Making sure that your products arrive to their customers on time, and at a price that you can afford, is another important piece of your international expansion plan. That means it’s important to put a logistics strategy in place that optimises both time- and cost-efficiency.

“The first consideration [merchants] would probably look at is, ‘Where do they ship from?’” says Afti.  “Do I decide to have all my inventory from one shipping location, or do I regionalise by moving my fulfilment closer to my shoppers?”

If you choose to regionalise, she says, that can add a lot of cost and complexity to the process, though it may be worthwhile for large brands with huge volumes of inventory. For brands just starting out their international logistics journey, choosing a 3PL partner can help them streamline cross-border logistics without the increased overhead of managing inventory across multiple locations. 

Eliminate points of friction in the customer journey

If international customers have a negative experience with your brand, “in 50% of the cases, it comes with the logistics,” says Arfi. “When they have a bad delivery experience, a bad custom clearance experience, like when they are asked for taxes and duties to pay at the front, then that’s when the merchant loses the customer. So you need to really be focusing on all these friction points throughout the customer journey.”

That’s just important when it comes to the post-purchase journey, Arfi adds. “A lot of shoppers check the returns policy from an international merchant to see whether it’s going to be an easy process to return back or not.”

“I think it’s really important to set expectations upfront,” adds Rogers. He recommends serving a popup on the landing page, which would talk about duties, taxes, reference to carrier, whether you’ve got free returns, et cetera, to address some of those friction points upfront. “If it’s a net new customer, you want to make them realise that the experience will be as seamless as possible from the start.”

Make sure that you’ve put the pieces in place to set up a streamlined customer journey from start to finish, with clear policies and hassle-free logistics that will delight your international customers and keep them coming back. Choosing the right commerce operations platform will make it easy for you to scale your brand sustainably as you venture beyond borders. 

Want to get more insights from the webinar on how to scale your UK-based ecommerce brand sustainably?

The post Post-purchase strategies for international growth | UK webinar roundup appeared first on Loop Returns.

This article originally appeared on Loopreturns and is available here for further discovery.
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