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International trade is far from being new. History shows that more than 5,000 years ago, historical civilizations were already active in trading goods across continents. One such example is the eminent trade in spices, those luxurious and valuable ingredients that were valued and coveted by many cultures. In recent years, e-commerce has fundamentally changed the way business is conducted: every day, millions of purchases are made online and as many deliveries are made to consumers' homes. This trend is already undergoing a new revolution: Today, consumers are increasingly inclined to make purchases from manufacturers abroad. Today, 1 out of every 7 e-commerce purchases comes from cross-border e-commerce.


The fastest growing e-commerce segment in France is cross-border e-commerce with an annual growth of 25%! The value of this market amounted to 300 billion dollars in 2015. The European Union as a whole is our main trading partner, it alone capitalizes on nearly 60% of our trade. We also note that nearly half of French cybernauts regularly buy from merchants in another country. This phenomenon has notably enabled Zalando, our German neighbor, to quickly establish itself on the hyper-competitive shoe, accessory and fashion market. Also, 50% of French e-merchants receive orders from customers located abroad. The margins of progress therefore remain important for French sellers who wish to start in cross-border e-commerce.


One of the secrets of a good international development obviously lies in the choice of the right market and the right target in this market. In order to conquer the most buoyant markets, you will have to adopt a very offensive behaviour and actively target the right consumers. Conducting an Internet traffic analysis is an option that can be very important and gives you a better understanding of existing demand models and competitors to monitor and learn from first. It is also useful to examine general indicators of the attractiveness of the current market, such as the general state of e-commerce in the target country or region. However, these figures will only give you a statistical view of the current market and not a view on the evolution and emerging trends of the market. This is why it is important to take into account consumer tastes and trends on a broader scale. Strong cultural proximity, for example, has enabled online retailers in the UK to sell successfully in the markets of the former Commonwealth countries, and fashion designers in Scandinavia who have become aware of the modern charm of their lifestyle have conquered other European markets.


Once you have acquired a global vision of the market and the expectations of consumers, you will have to establish your offer in adequacy with the expectations of the market. In this step, two solutions are offered to you:


If you are on a competitive segment: In this case, the best solution available to you lies in the analysis of your competitors but also in the analysis of the "codes" of the market. For example, purple is considered a noble color in many cultures, yet in Brazil it is associated with mourning and it is therefore considered unlucky to wear this color on any occasion other than a funeral.

If you are in an uncompetitive segment : When a company is active in a less competitive market, it is inventiveness that counts. For example, A/B testing and Big Data analysis can allow companies to become familiar with their target audience and frequently customize the experience for that audience.


The third secret to successful international development lies in adapting your content and e-commerce. Indeed, consumers coming from abroad want to make their purchases easily, just like local customers. A truly global online store must be multilingual, multi-currency, etc... It is therefore necessary to offer multiple homepages adapted to local customs (presenting a personalized assortment and a welcome message highlighting the various international shipping options offered by the players), different payment methods accepted in the country concerned or different currencies in which users will find prices revised and rounded off in a way they know.

Having successfully completed the previous steps, the next step is to address the issue of supply chain optimization. There are still several options available to you:


Outsource : You can choose to decentralize your logistics hub to more easily manage shipments and orders to foreign markets. The main advantage of this solution is to be able to compete with your competitors in terms of price and delivery time. Indeed, by choosing to install your logistics hub closer to the market you will be able to deliver your customers faster. Nevertheless, you will need to make sure you work with trusted partners to avoid disputes as much as possible.

Centralize : A more centralized approach will often have cost advantages. But unlike the first solution, it can limit your ability to compete with your local or regional competitors in terms of speed and customer experience. The best solution is to partner with logistics service providers that offer guaranteed next-day delivery for intra-continental destinations and 2 to 3-day delivery for intercontinental destinations, with a proposal for fixed morning delivery times, if desired, in both cases.


After all the above points have been dealt with, you will still have to deal with one central point: delivery. From this can come your success as well as your failure. The delivery being the first factor of basket abandonment in e-commerce. You will therefore have to analyze the expectations of consumers in terms of delivery and propose solutions that will allow you to deliver your customers to the four corners of the world by ensuring their satisfaction. As you have seen, international deployment is not an easy thing. There are some important criteria to take into account to ensure your success.