The eCommerce sector is bigger than ever right now, and many US retailers have expanded or are thinking about expanding into the European market. There are clear benefits to doing so — increased opportunities for growth, access to a wealthy population and a less saturated market.
But EU expansion is not without its challenges, and US retailers could miss out if they don’t consider these challenges too.
In this article, we explore the process of expanding into the EU market, weighing up the opportunities and challenges to help you decide if it’s right for your eCommerce business.
Continued growth in the eCommerce sector
When the world went into lockdown in 2020, people found a wide variety of ways to cope. Some started baking, some took up jogging, but most of us started clicking.
People who had never shopped online before suddenly found themselves navigating an unfamiliar yet exciting world, where everything you could want or need was just a click away. The global eCommerce landscape was forever changed, which as a result offered new growth and expansion opportunities for online retailers.
To get a clearer idea of the current eCommerce landscape, let’s take a look at some growth statistics from the US, the EU, and around the world.
In the US, sales reached $870 billion in 2021. This represents an increase of 50% since before the pandemic.
According to the 2022 European eCommerce Report, European eCommerce grew by 13% in 2021, reaching a total of €718 billion.
By 2025, eCommerce revenue in Europe is expected to reach over €1.24 trillion.
In 2021, global eCommerce sales amounted to over $4.9 trillion worldwide.
This is expected to rise to $5.54 trillion in 2022, with a staggering two billion customers predicted to shop online.
Cross-border eCommerce opportunities in the European market
These figures tell us that, despite restrictions being lifted and physical stores reopening, the eCommerce sector is still booming in Europe and across the globe.
So what is so appealing about the EU market to foreign companies?
- In 2019 international sales grew twice as fast as overall eCommerce sales
- The European eCommerce market is far less saturated than the US market
- Entering the EU allows access to some of the wealthiest nations in the world and over 450 million potential customers
- European consumers can avoid customs fees as long as the daily value of approved US products remains under €150. This means that American brands can offer more attractive prices to EU customers and quickly establish a presence there
There is no doubt that EU expansion can be an incredible opportunity for growth and increased sales, but we must also consider the challenges that it poses.
Challenges of expanding into the European market
One of the major challenges is meeting the expectations and demands of international customers.
In order to do so, you must offer:
- Clearly stated fees (taxes, duty, shipping, etc.)
- Fast and on-time delivery
- Frequent updates on shipment status
- Flexibility to reschedule delivery time slots
- Uncomplicated returns process
- Excellent customer service
If your company can’t fulfil these expectations, then your business won’t be able to grow as quickly as you’d like it to.
Essentially, it is crucial to weigh up the pros and cons of EU expansion and do everything possible to avoid your eCommerce business falling into some common pitfalls.
To learn more about how to avoid these mistakes, read this recent article we published about the errors US eCommerce retailers often make when entering the EU market.
An all-in-one logistics solution for international eCommerce
For any eCommerce business to successfully expand into new markets, they need to create a seamless delivery experience for its customers.
This means finding a logistics solution that includes:
- A global transportation network
- Multiple local return options
- A fully integrated system that generates shipping labels, guarantees product tracking and validates customer addresses
- Customs and compliance services
- Specialised eCommerce expertise
An all-in-one solution allows eCommerce retailers to expand into the EU and deliver a top-class customer experience, all while outsourcing customs compliance and global logistics network management.
ParcelPlanet can help you expand into the European market
We offer fast and reliable delivery worldwide, with a choice of options to suit your needs, as well as late-cut-off times and discounted courier rates.
We are connected to every major courier service around the world, giving you access to lower delivery costs and exceptional delivery times.
We take care of everything from generating labels to providing tracking details for your customers, and our comprehensive software integration options allow you to track all of your orders across the entire process, from the warehouse to their final destination.
Your complete fulfilment service for eCommerce expansion
ParcelPlanet can provide your eCommerce business with the order fulfilment services it needs to smoothly and successfully expand into the European market. This includes storage, warehousing, delivery, tracking, returns and more.
You can depend on us to ensure your customer gets exactly what they ordered and that the product is delivered in perfect condition.
For further reference, we have published several articles on the topic of eCommerce expansion, so click on any of the links below for further information: