5 steps to enter new markets

Global ecommerce sales are breaking new records, reaching a staggering 3.53 trillion US dollars in 2019 and forecasted to nearly double to 6.54 trillion by 2022. Yet, in a world increasingly full of unknowns, cross-border shipping is more uncertain than ever before. How can you successfully launch in new markets, manage cross-border shipping and gain the market insight needed to thrive? Here are five possible steps to get you started.

1. Get to know your market

Before entering new markets, it’s essential to conduct market research. If you target consumers in a country where there is no demand for your product, you can end up wasting both time and money. Therefore - find out where you know there is demand so you can generate successful business from the offset.

One way you can do this is via Google Trends. This tool enables you to explore trending topics, products and searches via Google by country. By doing your research you can determine which countries to target and when, rather than flying blind and gambling valuable resources.

2. Produce your products locally

In an international climate with more uncertainty than ever before, it’s vital to secure a reliable and resilient supply chain that can enable you to win in new markets.

Fast shipping is also what can help you attract new customers and win among competitors. International shipping, however, can be long, expensive and include complex and enduring processes for both business owners and customers.

That’s where the power of local production comes in. When you produce products closer to the customers, delivery times are faster, shipping distances and carbon emissions are produced, and you avoid much of the hassle associated with cross-border shipping and logistics. You can also compete on par with local competitors, and offer your customers a better delivery experience that helps increase customer satisfaction and reviews.

3. Start small and test new markets

Alongside planning your expansion strategy, it can also be effective to start with only one or two new markets to begin with rather than going global all at once. This may not only impact your ability to fully capitalize on the local consumer market, but also risks wasting resources in markets where there is no demand. Start small, get your products out in the market, listen and obsess over customer feedback and the learnings you make along the way. Evaluate and expand where you see traction.

4. Automate and gain control over your supply chain

As you grow, it’s vital to maintain control and visibility over your supply chain. One way you can do this is through technology. By partnering with a production on-demand partner like Gelato, the entire order process from an order is placed until it is delivered to the end customer is taken care of, which allows you to focus on other aspects of your business like crafting those great designs, expanding your product range and perfecting your marketing.

It also eliminates the manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can reduce your productivity, simplifies cross-border commerce, reduces the risk of human error and helps you deliver a faster, better customer experience because orders are simply routed to local production partners.

5. Leverage social media to grow your customer base

Whilst reaching new markets is great, without a viable audience it can be difficult to succeed. Leveraging the power of social media can be an effective tool to gain customers in a country where your product and brand is not yet well-known.

There are various social channels you can use to acquire and engage international customers but it’s also important to adapt your content to match the local market. For instance, simple tactics such as using the local language can help you gain trust with local consumers.

Another route can be to utilise local social media networks where applicable, such as QQ in China, Vkontakte in Russia and Taringa in Latin America. There is lots of great content to help guide you on this, check out for example Shopify's guide to social media marketing.

Ready to get started? Gelato is the world’s largest platform for customized products, and we can support you on your growth journey with local production in 30 countries.

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