Expanding a brand into new markets can be rewarding, but it also comes with challenges. For brands eyeing the ~750m consumers in Europe including the lucrative markets of the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU), understanding the intricacies involved and choosing the right channels are vital. Here, Exertis explores some of the complexities of bringing a brand into the UK and EU market.
Before diving into channel options, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of entering these markets. One of the key factors to address is the region’s diverse cultures and languages. Europe is a melting pot of different nations with unique consumer preferences and regulations. Understanding local tastes and legal requirements is crucial in crafting successful product, sales, and marketing strategies.
Experienced companies will help you navigate regulatory compliance and understand the EU’s strict consumer protection laws and product standards. As market entry enablement experts, Exertis can assist you in ensuring all products meet necessary safety and quality certifications and conform to European labelling requirements.
The Role of Amazon
Amazon, as the dominant e-commerce platform in the UK and EU, presents an attractive entry point for brands. One important point for brands to note is that successes on Amazon platforms elsewhere in the world do not automatically mean success in Europe. Clear strategies around launch, ASIN and content management, Brand Registry and review/rating generation are key to opening the European channel and starting down the road to establishment.
When considering how to get your product to the consumer there are several options available for brands when using Amazon:
- Amazon Vendor Central: In this model, brands sell their products either directly to Amazon or via companies like Exertis to Amazon. Amazon then becomes the seller to end consumer. While this offers more predictability over trade pricing and branding, it requires negotiating deals with Amazon and managing inventory efficiently.
- Amazon Seller Central: This option allows brands to sell to consumers directly, or via 3rd party experts, on Amazon’s marketplace via two fulfilment routes:
- Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon): This program allows brands (directly or via companies like Exertis) to store their products in Amazon’s fulfilment centres across different EU countries. Amazon handles storage, packaging, and shipping, making it easier for brands to reach customers in multiple markets with streamlined logistics.
- Amazon FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant): Exertis or the brand keeps the stock in their own premises and dispatches directly to the consumer upon receiving an order from Amazon, making stock management potentially more efficient.
Whatever choice the brand makes, some invest the time and money in building their own teams, compliance, tax, and legal infrastructure in Europe whereas others allow experts in Europe to do the heavy lifting for them.
Other Potential Channels
While Amazon is a powerful platform, relying solely on it may limit the brand’s reach and potential in Europe. Exploring other channels can enhance market penetration and diversify the customer base.
- E-commerce Website: Creating a dedicated e-commerce website allows brands to have control over their online presence, customer experience, and branding. Implementing a localized website with support for multiple languages and currencies can cater to diverse audiences. It is important to choose partners who are expert in the management of not just the creation and operation of the website, but also the management of personal data. Companies like Exertis ensure compliance with EU GDPR and that web stores are appropriately secured from attack.
- Brick-and-Mortar Retailers: Partnering with established retailers in the UK and EU can introduce the brand to a wider audience and build credibility. However, negotiating with retailers and managing supply chain logistics can be complex, and many brands will instead select a local distributor in region. Exertis has large distribution businesses across Europe, delivering daily to all the major outlets for hundreds of leading brands.
- Online Marketplaces: Beyond Amazon, other online marketplaces like eBay, BOL, Zalando and Allegro also have a significant presence in the UK and EU. Depending on the target audience and product category, these platforms can offer valuable opportunities for brand exposure.
And don’t forget….
A strong marketing strategy before entry into the market is key. All brands should engage a local expert in advance to best prepare for the complexity of language, culture and buying habits across Europe. Incorrect translations, inappropriate lifestyle images and even the way products are titled can have a significant impact on how they are received by the customer base and can impact a brand’s ability to sell as much as a poorly executed advertising campaign.
Launching a brand in the UK and EU market requires careful planning, adaptability, and a very deep understanding of the region’s diverse cultures and regulations. While Amazon is an important channel for many brands, it should not be the sole focus. Combining various channels, such as Amazon’s programs, e-commerce websites, and partnerships with retailers, can lead to a well-rounded market entry strategy. By navigating the complexities and embracing a multi-channel approach, brands can position themselves for success in these highly promising markets.