What you need to know for e-commerce export

Just one click away from the product - that's cross-border e-commerce! Around the clock, worldwide. "The sky is the limit", so to speak. This also applies to your online shop. Here we show you what you need to bear in mind when exporting your goods abroad.
Christian Kautzsch  |  10.07.2024  |  Time to read 8 Min

Exporting your goods abroad: what makes sense?

That sounds like a lot of money.  But does it really make sense to supply the whole world from day one?

There is neither a clear yes nor a clear no to this question. There are various factors that are important for this decision. For example, whether you want to export your goods abroad depends on the range of products you offer online. In order for your products to reach foreign markets, it’s worth investing in the localization of your online business. Find out more in the blog.

For niche products, it’s definitely worthwhile selling worldwide. Our home market is limited and there is often less competition abroad.

But if you offer a mass product with which you stand out little from the competition, the whole scenario looks different again. Cross-border e-commerce export makes less sense because your competitors are already active in the target markets and have a strong position.

Entering the foreign market is only lucrative if you can offer a unique selling proposition to your customers or offer the product at a much lower price than your competitors. In our e-book you can learn how to enter new markets. Our export checklist tells you everything you need to know to export abroad successfully.

Check the laws abroad

Apart from the product range, it’s important that you check what the laws are in the target market and whether the sale of your product is allowed at all. Then check whether the product can be transported or flown at all. Shipping service providers exclude some goods from transport.

Otherwise, you may receive orders from the other side of the world, but they cannot be delivered to your customers or they cannot return them if they are not satisfied. Seamless logistics are key for success.

Start exporting to Germany, France, Italy and Austria

As shipping professionals , we advise Swiss online retailers who want to export abroad to first gain experience in their domestic market and only start slowly with countries close to the border once they have gained a certain amount of experience, customer feedback and adaptations. Swiss Post can support you in exporting so that you can tap into new market potential without borders.

If you export to Germany, France, Italy and Austria, you can already serve a large part of the clientele in the euro zone. 

These countries are geographically and linguistically closest to Switzerland and have a single currency. They are therefore ideal as initial cross-border e-commerce target markets. 

Of course, they are legally different from Switzerland, but the differences are surmountable.

Do you want more information on e-commerce in these cross-border markets?  Click on the flag and read more about the respective country:





Export your goods to English-speaking markets

Once you have successfully gained a foothold in these markets, you can conquer others.

However, since the other European countries are very different in terms of language and also often have different currencies, it doesn’t make sense to focus on these in a second phase.

It’s better to tackle the English-speaking markets and countries afterwards.   

People are extremely online-savvy in these countries. In order to capture this huge market of potential customers, you must take the following points into account in your web shop:

  • Translate texts into English
  • Adapt currency and payment options
  • Adapt the GTC
  • Know the rights of consumers in each country (right of cancellation, consumer protection laws, etc.)
  • Know the legal requirements as a retailer (packaging law, etc.)

Shipping your goods to the other countries

Only in a third phase should you consider the other EU countries and other markets.

To save costs, it’s best to serve them in English as well. It’s pointless to translate your web shop into dozens of other languages but then not be able to answer customer enquiries in these languages.

Note, however, that very online-savvy customers are used to using English on the web. Customers with little online experience, however, would prefer to be addressed in their mother tongue.

Pro tip:

A viable middle course would be to select individual markets with large potential and to work on them in a very focused way with a local presence.

Pro tip:

A viable middle course would be to select individual markets with large potential and to work on them in a very focused way with a local presence.

How big is your e-commerce marketing budget?

There is generally no clear right or wrong way to make e-commerce export work. You have to find an individual export strategy for your company. 

Of course, the available money or the marketing budget also determines the direction here. If you want to establish yourself successfully in an export market in the long term, you need money, know-how – and lots of patience. Therefore, it’s better to start with a few export markets and work on them intensively.

Google Marketfinder is a tool that we find very good and helpful. It allows you to evaluate the potential and marketing costs for a specific export market.

What options you have for exporting with Swiss Post and much more useful information can be found in our Export Guide for e-commerce start-ups.

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