The European market as a whole grew by 19%, reaching €312 Billion in 2012 (€96 Billion in the UK alone).
Stable ecommerce Growth
The UK and Germany have always been strides ahead with accepting ecommerce and they have rapidly built infrastructures to support it, including mobile internet, fast home broadband and logistical services. This has enabled smaller, and larger companies to grow into areas online that would otherwise not have existed.
Having more products and more choices available online, has driven more and more customers to use the Internet, even just as an initial research. Businesses have followed the market online in an effort to stay ahead of the curve, and have pushed boundaries of selling online, to keep up with competition.
Emerging ecommerce Markets
Countries in Southern and Eastern Europe have seen more development towards a successful ecommerce infrastructure. With more businesses starting up online, better technology providing Internet access and more consumers looking to purchase online.
The next big markets to take off in Europe are likely to be Spain, Italy, Poland and Turkey. With the latter having a huge 75% growth in ecommerce for 2012.
What this means for UK businesses
Most UK businesses’ primary focus is the UK market. Although a high percentage of companies offer shipping to European countries and show prices in Euros, their websites and business processes aren’t set up well to cope with international orders. There are some easy solutions to get your business ready for these emerging markets:
- Allow Euro as a currency.
- Separate (nice) pricing for Euros rather than using a converted price – €29.50 looks a lot more appealing than €28.86.
- Setup your merchant bank to allow Euro.
- Make sure your payment gateway accepts Euro.
- Multiple shipping options for international.
- Add international to your delivery and returns policy pages.
- Target one country at a time with a Google AdWords campaigns and measure the ROI, then expand.
All of these are the start of expanding into the emerging markets, but the same principles apply for starting to sell into established European markets like Germany and France.
Did you know that 40% of UK shoppers make purchases from “foreign” websites but only 21% of Germans, and 23% of French do? Different countries tend to have different design norms which can affect conversion. Compare your ecommerce design with your European competitors to see if you need to create a separate local designs. A non-local ecommerce site is one of many barriers that might prevent your visitors from placing an order.