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

 

🛑STOP WITH EXCUSES 🛑

 

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.

SO, I PUT THE LIST TOGETHER OF

13 (UNLUCKY) MOST COMMON MISTAKES 

ECOM BRANDS MAKE WHEN GOING INTERNATIONAL

 

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! 🚀

BESTS,

Jure (JK) Knehtl

Founder @ JK GROWTH

What can you do when E-commerce performance drops?

Last week, I shared with you the detailed walkthrough for 

International market expansion for the ECOM brand 🌍

 

You learned all about:

🧠 Fundamentals of localization

🧠 How to choose the market

🧠 4 stages of growth in a new market

🧠 Goals, key results, and tactics for each of these stages

🧠 Proven framework how to do it in practice

 

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.

 

What can you do when performance drops 💩?

 

The ugly truth is …

In performance marketing, everything can go to sh*t.

 

At the beginning of my career I:

– Took things too much to heart.

– Let fluctuation of the results affect me.

– Put a ton of pressure on myself because of it.

 

When the results are good, you feel confident and on top of the world; when the results are bad, you feel lost.

Sounds familiar?

 

Now is that period of downs for many brands.

I see ECOM brands struggling with Meta because of changes, big spenders, and competitors.

 

Temu entering the markets, increasing the spending, funny changes to the algorithm, the economy slowing down, overcrowded competition, and many, many more.

Facts, excuses, or just something we have to deal with? 🤔

 

I have faced:

🫡 Platform crashes.

🫡 Layoffs.

🫡 Marketing inefficiencies overnight.

🫡 Bans.

🫡 Legal issues & more.

 

Do you know what I learned from all of the above?

 

Here it is …

My best piece of advice:

 

Step back and think about how you are going to respond.

 

How are you going to tackle the challenge and thrive because of it?

 

👉 Control what you can control.

 

This doesn’t mean waiting until it passes but focusing on things you can improve and letting go of the rest.

Find controllable things:

– Offers.

– Messaging.

– Marketing mix.

– Landing pages.

– Cost management.

– Creative breakthroughs. 

– Internal vs. external team.

– Your funneling approaches.

– Angles of creatives and copy.

– The amount invested in ads and where the spending is going. 

 

Then, improve on these every day.

Whenever I see someone struggling, I like to say: 

 

Control what you can control and execute relentlessly.

 

This always worked for me.

Don’t be emotionally attached to the external factors.

Focus on things under your control. 🤘

If you want to learn more about the ECOM growth tactics and my practical lessons, make sure to VISIT MY BLOG >>>

+ Be the first to to receive the latest JK knowledge in your inbox SUBSCRIBE >>>

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! 🚀

 

BESTS,

Jure (JK) Knehtl

Founder @ JK GROWTH

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