Expanding an ecommerce subscription business internationally can be an exciting opportunity for growth, but choosing the right location to expand to is crucial for success. The selection process can be overwhelming, considering the vast cultural and economic differences among countries. However, by considering factors such as language barriers, local regulations, logistics, and market demand, you can identify promising regions and prioritise your expansion efforts accordingly.
We’ve complied a few factors that influence the process of selecting a location and our recommendations when it comes to selecting one.
Factors to consider when selecting a location
- Language spoken in the target location
- Demand or market readiness
1. Language spoken in the target market
Select a country whose local language is known to you or can be supported with your existing resources.
Why is it important - localising the website is important but not the most difficult aspect of an online ecommerce business. However all customer facing operations such as customer support will prove to be a big bottle neck if you do not have the required personal who speak the local language and relying on online translators is not very scalable in the long run.
Therefore when selecting a market to expand to, it is recommended to select a country whose language you are familiar with and can be supported with your existing or planned resources.
Our recommendation: Countries where English is either the native language or a major spoken language are great for initial expansion. If you're expanding your subscription business from your native market into a new market, it is recommended to focus on one market instead of multiple so that you have more control over the operations.
2. Demand and market readiness
Some countries make more sense to expand to than others majorly due to the market readiness and existing demand. While it may seem tempting to enter a market and have the first mover advantage, some markets simply do not have competitors majorly because the service may not generate sufficient traction and may not be appealing yet.
Here's how you can check the market readiness
- Check out Google trends and search for relevant keywords on Google Keyword Planner
- Check out exiting competitors in the target market
- Analyse reports from research publishers
Google trends and Google Keyword Planner
To check the demand or the market readiness, you can search on Google Keyword planner, Google trends or any other keyword planner you use to investigate the search volume and trends related to the service in the target location.
- Use Google trends for identifying markets - You can use Google trends to identify the countries where you brand has been searched for.
Go to Google trends > Type your brand name (or a competitors brand name) in the search term field > Change the time period from days to years > Scroll down to interest by region > Note the countries that show up in the list.
- Avoid generic root terms - We recommend avoiding the use of generic keywords like “subscriptions”, “rental” and “lease” as they include results such for digital subscriptions or apartment rental etc.
Instead search for the product itself in combination with the root keyword. For example: Bike rental/subscription/lease.
Here are the results from Google Keyword Planner for the target location: Germany with default browser language: English.
As you can see the avg. monthly searchers for the keywords “bike rental” and “bike lease” are more than the keyword “bike subscription”. This indicates that your target customer still use rental and lease as search terms when searching online. Additionally you can deduce from the number that their is ample demand for services related to these search terms.
- Get specific - For example people who are interest in ebikes may specifically search for that instead of keywords like “bike subscription” or “bike lease”.
- Search in the local language - if you are targeting a location that has a different local language then look for keyword translation in that language.
How this helps - first it gives you an idea about the interest of the people in target market. Second it helps you identify interesting keywords to target in order to capture demand.
Are there any existing players in the market? Existence of competitors is usually a good sign.
The presence of existing competitors in a market can indicate that there is plenty of opportunity for new companies to enter and succeed. This is because established players in a market typically indicate that there is demand for the products or services they offer.
Existing competitors also provide valuable insights into market dynamics and consumer behaviour, allowing new companies to learn from their successes and failures. By analysing existing competitors' strategies, market positioning, and customer feedback, new companies can identify gaps in the market and develop innovative solutions to meet the needs of customers.
Reports from research publishers
There are several research publishers that provide reports on market projections and market trends.
Market research reports provide insights into the competitive landscape, including information on existing players, market share, and market trends. These reports can be purchased from market research firms or found online.
Use ChatGPT to get report titles by using prompts like "List down x reports from leading publishers on Bike rental/subscription market projections".