Know your new market: What to remember when you’re expanding into a new country
American shoppers have the biggest choice of retail options in the world. According to Forbes, the USA has 11 times the commercial retail space of Germany, and a whopping 400 times that of India.
These masses of malls have created a very competitive retail environment – which, of course, Amazon and other online retailers have got to compete with too. So if you’re expanding into the USA, you need to prepare for cut-throat competitiveness.
And not just in price: small details, including quality of delivery and packaging, are important to Americans.
In Amazon’s second-biggest marketplace globally, customers want the best quality for the lowest price, say our German e-Comas experts. They spend a lot of time reading and writing reviews, and they love price-comparison websites.
However, be careful with your communication: if something sounds too good to be true, they’ll get suspicious. They are likely to read the negative reviews, too.
“An absolute must for us: quick-and-easy easy transactions, expert advice and fast troubleshooting across all channels,” says Jana, adding that one-day delivery and one-day reply from customer service is becoming the norm.
Germans respond well to shorter text and logic-orientated content.
Lastly, the quality of the German translations has to be spot-on. “If the German content has typos or sounds slightly non-native, they won’t buy the product.”
It’s a fairly small country but it’s Amazon’s third-biggest marketplace, and that’s because UK citizens are big online shoppers. It’s estimated that over 90% of the UK population have shopped on Amazon.
They’re price-conscious: they’ll look for the best deal and shop around among different sellers on Amazon. They’re not as review-hungry as the Germans – they tend to scan through the first few only.
They’re also less likely than other nations, such as India and the US, to respond to emotive advertising, preferring fact-based information.
Amazon’s fourth-largest global marketplace is Japan, where they care a lot about little details and perfect execution.
One of our clients had an end customer in Japan who sent them a lengthy email, with photos, about some extremely small stitches on their product that weren’t quite evenly-spaced.
Content localisation is the trickiest part of expanding into Japan. There are three alphabets, and many different words for the same object, which makes keyword research a bit more complex.
Product images often have a lot of text over the photo – although we hear that some Japanese consumers like the fact that these can be less common on Amazon.
Average product ratings in India are lower than elsewhere. That’s because the consumers there don’t hesitate to leave very bad reviews if things fall short of their standards.
The Indians have a saying: “Cheap and best”, which is used primarily in street shopping, but more and more they’re realising that’s not always true. However, lower prices and discounts are very attractive, especially online. “We also want the most use for money,” says Asha. “If a product warranty is one year, it should last way more.”
Irrespective of category, ads for most products are designed to touch people emotionally: mother-child relationships and other family and emotional bonds have always worked really well in Indian adverts.
Finally, brand value is extremely important in India: once your brand is firmly in a customer’s mind – especially Gen X – they will continue to use and recommend the product. They’re more inclined to go with what has always worked for them than to try new things.
France and Italy
The French and Italians tend to be methodical when buying online, and price-conscious.
Presentation is key, and they place high value on trustworthiness of the brand and product. Informative and reassuring product descriptions have the best effect.
Unlike in Germany, in France leaving reviews isn’t as common – and for those that do, they tend not to be very detailed.
The Spanish are a little more spontaneous on their buying approach – they don’t put lots of time into researching the product and reading reviews.
They place value on the brand, and the product’s social recognition, and appreciate simple, clear sales copy.
There are obviously many other nations and they all have their own quirks, which are worth investigating before you expand. You can talk to us about them – we’ve got a multinational team and a lot of expertise in all marketplaces globally.