How to Expand Your E-Commerce Business Into New Markets and Make a Profit

How to Expand Your E-Commerce Business Into New Markets and Make a Profit

By Nick Bartlett on May 16, 2023
Looking to expand into a new market? Check out our tips for success.

After the pandemic pushed retailers to sell online or bust, global e-commerce grew at an astonishing rate, with global industry revenue 19% over the forecasted rate in 2020, and 22% over forecast in 2021.

The rise in demand for e-commerce products has been particularly impressive in places like Brazil, India, and Mexico. During 2021, online sales in Latin America grew by an astonishing 37%.

Along with demand and supply, growth of e-marketplaces and platforms also exploded post-pandemic. This allows new market entrants to begin selling from anywhere, to anywhere—with very little barrier to entry. 

Right now, international retailing is easier than ever before. Consumers have warmed to the idea of buying abroad, there are tons of options for sales platforms online, and there's no shortage of fulfillment centers and fourth-party logistics providers to help you get your overseas business going.

If you can make an informed decision and find the right entry into the right market, you can capitalize on growing markets. 

However, handling international fulfillment poses more of a challenge. Whether you choose cross-border or localized fulfillment, you will need to navigate the details of international logistics and figure out what licensing requirements and customs duties your products will be subject to.

As demand remains low this year, retailers have been using multimarket strategies to mitigate their risk as inflation continues to soar and demand remains low. However, keep in mind that going abroad isn’t as easy as buying a plane ticket for your brand strategy. 

Hopping into a new market can pay off big if you play your cards right, but you’ll need to do some homework before making the decision to sell your wares abroad.

Read about CBIP's Adaptable 4PL Logistics Services

How to form a market expansion strategy? Take a three-step approach

Before you begin mapping out your market expansion, it's important to establish why you want to get into a new market in the first place and what your goals are.

If you saw others have success with similar products in a region, that is a great start—but you need more than that to make it worthwhile.

Goals like expanding on already existing market share, dipping a toe into the market by dropshipping or selling a small number of items cross-border, or establishing a brand image specific to that region are all great. However, make sure that you have used real data and analysis to determine whether your efforts toward those goals are likely to be fruitful.

Let’s use the traditional framework of market research, market strategy development, and execution to show what your e-commerce market expansion strategy can look like.

Do your market research

Does your brand already have a multimarket presence?

Are you already selling to more than one market, or are you currently considering your first expansion as a business?

Factors like these can make a big difference in terms of the likelihood of success when entering a new market. For newer companies looking to sell abroad for the first time, we’d recommend teaming up with a trusted logistics partner who can take care of all the gritty details and help steer you in the right direction.

For retailers that are already selling in more than one market, you may choose to work with an in-house logistics management team, or with a trusted logistics partner to help you pull off a market expansion. 

No matter what kind of company you are, you will need to conduct in-depth research on both your company and the prospective market to determine if you’ll be able to turn a profit.

Is your drive to expand driven by data?

Before expanding, you need to have strong data supporting the idea that you will be profitable in that market. 

This is especially important for those looking to establish operations in-country, but also an important consideration for those who will be using time and resources to ship parcels cross-border fulfillment. 

Entering a region where there is interest in your product and a growing group of prospective clients is tempting— but you need to do your homework to make sure that you can turn a profit.

Some important data you’ll want to analyze include:

  • Your market share in the target market
  • The size of the market
  • The current level of saturation for your product in that market
  • Local market conditions

RELATED: E-Commerce Selling Abroad: Should You Choose Localized or Cross-Border Fulfillment?

Develop your strategy

Once you’ve done your research on the market and established your goals, you need to develop a plan of action. 

Marketing & rebranding for local consumers

This is where you get to put your market research to work. The ubiquity of social media platforms makes international marketing easy and inexpensive, with very little barrier to entry. 

However, the marketing campaigns and site content that works on your home turf may not be so effective abroad; be careful what gets lost in translation, as it could result in lost market share.

Building a network of supply chain providers

Depending on your current supply chain operation, you may or may not need to do a good amount of restructuring to accommodate the new market. 

Whether or not you choose to continue manufacturing with the same provider, you will definitely need to arrange new logistics providers to get your stuff where it needs to go. You will need to decide if you’d rather 

  1. Fulfill orders from your home base and pay the shipping costs to get parcels cross-border

OR

  1. Invest in fulfillment operations in-country for a localized fulfillment tactic

Depending on which fulfillment method you choose, you may also require any number of the following fulfillment and freight services:

  • Warehousing
  • Customs clearance and port services
  • Freight forwarding
  • Third-party ie fulfillment centers
  • Local carriers
  • Air & ground transportation

Execute your expansion

Getting everything rolling is a stressful yet exciting part of market expansion. 

Every e-commerce business owner hopes that there will be more excitement and less stress here. While there is no guarantee that you will turn a profit, the best way to make that happen is to come prepared and remain as agile as possible.

Agility in your business comes from having full visibility into your operations and data to show you whether your market expansion moves are paying off or holding you back. 

How can you gain that agility and visibility that you want to take your business international? Work with a trusted 4th party logistics provider.

Let CBIP guide your market expansion journey

Maybe you’ve heard that CBIP is a 4PL that chooses from our global network of logistics providers to design the ideal logistics operation for you.

What you may not know is that we pride ourselves on being attentive partners too. At CBIP, we’re committed to consulting you on where, how, and if you should expand to a new market 

We will help you analyze your company honestly, and investigate all the little details so that you don’t experience any surprised when moving operations abroad.

Whether you just want to fulfill cross-border or you’d rather go all-in and fulfill locally within the new market, we’ll handle all your logistics, all over the world. On top of that, we’ll provide you with crucial operational data on our centralized platform so you can make informed business decisions.

Curious about how to get started on your market expansion strategy? Contact CBIP today for a consultation call, completely free of charge.

About Author

Nick Bartlett

Nick Bartlett is CBIP’s director of sales and marketing. His expertise lies in marketing, supply chain management, and corporate retail experience. He honed his skills over 10+ years working across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Nick keeps a close eye on new markets and believes successful business operations come through value-based relationships.

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