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13 (unlucky) most common mistakes ECOM brands make when going international

Last week, I shared with you:

What can you do when E-Commerce performance drops?​ 📉

You learned all about:

🧠 Big struggles happening NOW

🧠 emotional attachment to performance

🧠 My best advice on how to fight it

🧠 What controllable thing you can work on

You can read the blog post HERE if you still need to check it out.

Now, let’s move to the topic of this week.

Biggest mistakes when going international 🕵️‍♂️

I have been doing international expansion for more than 10 years and helped 40+ businesses expand to new markets.

Some of them crushed it right away and started scaling high.

Most had struggles.


In fact, investing in a new market in 2024 might be more challenging than it has been in the last seven years.

Not from the research or logistic point of view but because of marketing investment.

☠️ Higher competition

☠️ Higher marketing prices

☠️ Lower organic reach

☠️ Facebook & Influencers not being as efficient as they were




There are still success stories that are scaling with international expansion, MANY OF THEM.

I am just actively involved with 3 clients that are expending to new markets in 2024…

And here are the results (so far):

  1. Client 1 (👱‍♀️ beauty): 2 months on new market 50K € monthly revenue, 5-10% profitability
  2. Client 2 (👖 apparel): 3 months on the market 150K € monthly revenue, 12% profitability
  3. Client 3 (💊 supplements): 1,5 months on the market, 60K € monthly revenue, breaking even


These are great first signals for the first months in the new market, all done in 2024.


We followed the proven roadmap of steps to enter and avoid mistakes my clients and I have made over the years.





Let’s dive in:

#1 Missing local payment methods

Ignoring how people are used to paying and losing a lot of customers because of it – it could be Klarna, cash on delivery, PayU, bank transfer, or something else. Make sure to play like a local.

*Also check logistics for local preferences of delivering the packages.


#2 Bad translations

One of the worst experiences as a customer is to find an ad and website that has 💩 translations. So make sure to recheck what you are using and communicate in the correct language – but don’t lose the marketing touch.


#3 Copypasting what works on developed market

I always tell my clients that opening a new market is like opening a new business. Take the learnings from the markets that work, but don’t forget to play like a startup and adjust your strategy how to find the product-market fit and find scalable approaches in the new market.

Don’t just copy-paste; most often, it won’t work.


#4 0 research

I’m still surprised how many e-commerce teams still don’t do any research. They just go to the market because they hear from others that it’s a good market. This leads to…


#5 Choosing the wrong market

Either underestimated the budget it will take to break even, what needs to be done on the marketing side, such as a website, social proof, customer support, or something else. Market size, industry competition, customer behavior, and objections will vary from time to purchase lag and the cost of acquiring a customer.

Check (also) the time lag on your existing markets to adopt the retargeting strategy accordingly.


#6 Focusing on the wrong products

There are acquisition, retention, and bundling products, so finding the right products and offers to push to acquire new customers in the new market will make or break your profitable growth.

#7 Poor (unlocalized) ads

Without great or at least good enough ads, you won’t be able to scale. Make sure to combine different angles, hooks, and styles of creatives to create a winning mix that will attract new customers.

Make sure to add local UGC and voiceovers to your mix.


#8 Bad funnel

As mentioned above, the time lag, combined with the combination of landing pages, funnels, listicles, categories, products, and checkout experience, will be a crucial area of your success. 


#9 Lack of social proof

The trust builders like 

  • review on your website, 
  • 3rd party – like Trustpilot, is a must in many markets, 
  • local testimonials on ads, 
  • YouTube videos when they search for brands, 
  • TikTok appearance in search,
  • Marketplaces – like Amazon in some markets + categories,
  • Online PR.


#10 Poor marketing mix

For me, I try to cover areas with this mix when opening the market:

🎯 Facebook – Acquisition

👍 Influencers x Content creators – Social proof

🎣 Google – Branded Search + Retargeting

📨 Email – Flows

The majority is Facebook, but it turns out that in most cases, you need to have other puzzles as well 🧩


#11 Not gathering feedback

Gathering feedback, listening to it, and acting on it can save a lot of money, time, and nerves.

Here, we are talking about your customer support, comments under ads, feedback from customers, surveys, Influencers, creators, and 1-on-1 interviews.

Mostly, it’s free; you just need to invest the time, learn, and take action.


#12 Forget about collecting leads and retention

If you don’t have the main flows set up and collecting leads, you are missing a ton of sales that could improve your results from red🔴 to green 🟢.


#13 Not doing the CRO 

The brands that fail with market expansion 

✖️ don’t use Clarity (or a similar tool), 

✖️ don’t analyze and adopt their checkout experience (add-to-cart,

✖️abandonment per step, conversion rate, upsell and cross-sell, AOV)

✖️ don’t upgrade their landing pages and offer

✖️ don’t do any AB testing


Here is a sum-up of all 13 so it would be easier for you to remember.

Let me know if you are missing some 😉

And that’s a wrap for today’s blog ECOM growth community! 

If you have any questions, DM me on LinkedIn

If you are interested in working together, submit this form.

Talk soon and as always …

Happy scaling! 🚀


Jure (JK) Knehtl

Founder @ JK GROWTH