How to Quickly Expand e-Commerce to New Markets

» 6 min read

Paul Espino Perspective

By Paul Espino

Director, Commerce

You have a robust, effective e-commerce website for consumers in the country where your company’s based. Now you want to replicate those features in an experience targeted to customers in other countries.

How do you go about providing global consumers with the same hassle-free shopping experience your flagship website offers? Ideally, you’d establish a quick, cost-effective process for expanding to additional markets and do it in such a way that you set yourself up for rapid success in the future.

Here’s how.

Plan & Research

Planning is key when you’re looking to do business in new markets, and part of that includes researching the culture, trends, competition, and consumer behavior in the countries on your list. Your research should also include a dive deep into your target consumer to help you decide who would be most interested in your products or services and how best to apply personalization when you launch.

You also need to look into any payment methods that are specific to your new markets and document and analyze any unique security regulations.

Configure & Customize

Platform configuration is the next step. An enterprise-level e-commerce platform should allow you to configure it to support various countries, languages, shipping costs, taxes, and payment methods, but not all platforms are the same.

If the features that are critical to cross-border commerce don’t exist on your current platform, you’ll need to do some customization to support the expansion. That might be simple enough, but keep in mind that geo-expansion initiatives can get complex and expensive, depending on the level of effort involved in the development work.

Logistics & Fulfillment

Fulfillment sources need to be established to support fast and affordable shipping and returns. Work with your 3PL (3rd-party logistics) services provider to make sure your international shipping processes are in place and ready to go as soon as the orders start coming in. This also includes developing a marketing/e-commerce strategy to manage international returns without jeopardizing your profit margin.

One important element to consider when contracting 3PL services is the duration of the contract and the cost associated with breaking large shipments into packs or grouped orders. Scaling 3PL can be challenging and costly if order volume doesn’t exceed inventory turnover.

If your company is just getting into the world of cross-border e-commerce, a new market that’s geographically close is probably a wise choice. For example, American brands frequently choose Canada as their first international market because of its proximity and well-developed logistics system. Similarly, in Europe, where several countries are close to one another, it can make sense to expand to neighboring areas first.

Content & Data

Personalized experiences drive conversions. When it comes to expanding to other countries, you’ll need to understand how local regulations may impact the collection of data and the way it can be used to create unique content. These types of laws are constantly evolving, and businesses have to find creative ways to continue to engage the customer while adhering to them.

It's also good to keep in mind that 40% of online consumers won’t make a purchase if the website's information is in a language they don’t understand. Localizing your site language will help you engage with your customers more effectively. The main areas where customers most frequently want content in their native language include the checkout process, product description pages, and customer reviews. Your website also may rank higher on search engines if you localize it.

Bottom Line

Regardless of what stage of geo-expansion your business is in, TA Digital is ready to guide you in reaching new customers in new parts of the world. We have years of experience helping consumer brands and retailers in expanding their ecommerce operations locally and abroad, and we can assess your platform capabilities and help you better understand the level of effort involved in selling to new markets.

About TA Digital

TA Digital is the only global boutique agency that delivers the “best of both worlds” to clients seeking to achieve organizational success through digital transformation. Unlike smaller, regional agencies that lack the ability to scale or large organizations that succumb to a quantity-over-quality approach, we offer resource diversity while also providing meticulous attention to the details that enable strategic success.

Over the past 20 years, TA Digital has positioned clients to achieve digital maturity by focusing on data, customer-centricity, and exponential return on investment; by melding exceptional user experience and data-driven methodologies with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we enable digital transformations that intelligently build upon the strategies we set into motion. We are known as a global leader that assists marketing and technology executives in understanding the digital ecosystem while identifying cultural and operational gaps within their business – ultimately ushering organizations toward a more mature model and profitable digital landscape.

Recognized in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, TA Digital is pleased also to share high-level strategic partnerships with world class digital experience platform companies like Adobe, SAP, AcquiacommercetoolsSitecore, and Elastic Path.

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