From an end-customer perspective, it is also advisable to look at market segmentation and consider traditional marketing criteria when determining the relative attractiveness of a market. You are going to have to communicate with customers in new markets through a number of channels and therefore you will need to consider how you are going to effectively engage customers through both marketing messages and all other forms of communication, including customer service and content. If you aim to create local language content in order to drive an increase in customer engagement, you are going to need local marketing and customer service resources to help you with the development of relevant content.
Therefore, the supply of these services will also become important criteria when deciding upon market entry. Cultural variances of local markets can impact upon a number of considerations.
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European markets are hardly comparable with one another. A good example is design. In Sweden, functionality, simplicity and speed are the most important features of an online shop. This is in contrast with France, where the focus is on design. In Japan, shopping represents a social activity, an opportunity to meet friends and mingle.
Due to this social function and reluctance to use credit cards, online shopping has not really taken off in Japan. From a content perspective, model shots and lifestyle images that work well in the West do not go down well in the Middle East. Of course, each country will observe its own public holidays and festivals. You need to think through basic operational issues and requirements such as the fulfilment of customer orders and handling customer service at these important times of year.
But you also need to consider practical operational challenges such as the hours that your customer service team is available. You may end up taking a fair number of orders and after-sales enquiries from customers who are in a different time zone, and they still require the same levels of customer service as you would provide for your domestic market customers. If the purchase results in a poor experience when it comes to receiving their order, customers will remember that.
A number of international markets have fairly poor delivery options , which will hinder the online opportunity. You will definitely want to have a close look at the competitive landscape and your potential competitors, as you may end up getting competition from well-known, established competitors as well as from local market competitors with whom you may be unfamiliar. You will want to understand what their marketing mix, market share and positioning is in order to understand what you need to do to have a competitive advantage.
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Local market customers will require you to offer a variety of payment solutions and will normally prefer to pay in their local market currency. For example, Germans have a low adoption of credit cards and prefer to pay through ELV and direct debit.
A significant percentage of Scandinavians prefer to pay by cash on delivery. This obviously adds a degree of complexity to systems as you will require your payment service provider PSP to facilitate transactions in new currencies and payment methods, some of which they may not already cater for. While conversion rates always need to be put into context, some knowledge of KPIs in the local market, specifically within your own category will help to qualify the scope of opportunity you can expect to achieve.
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