International expansion in e-commerce: client feedback



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E-commerce is growing on a global scale, offering companies an opportunity to expand their international presence. However, this expansion is not without its challenges.
What are the main challenges and stakes involved in international e-commerce expansion? In this article, Brahim Drihem, Information Systems Manager at Blancheporte, shares his experience and best practices. 


International expansion in e-commerce can involve selling products or services in different countries, and often requires strategic, logistical and technical adjustments involving the modernization of companies' information systems to adapt to the specific features of each market. 


In France, cross-border e-commerce represents 36% of e-merchant traffic and almost a quarter (23%) of their sales (Source: Shopify study, 2022). On a global scale, it represents 17% of e-commerce volume, or $736 billion in 2022, with a forecast of $6,000 billion by 2030 (Source: Forrester Online Cross-Border Retail Forecast, 2018 To 2023 - Global).


International e-commerce offers many advantages, such as access to new markets and customer segments, diversification of revenue sources, and reduced dependence on a single market. It also makes it possible to benefit from economies of scale and take advantage of greater growth opportunities on a global scale.


1. Access to new markets

International expansion gives companies access to previously unexplored markets, offering new opportunities for growth and revenue diversification. By identifying and penetrating emerging or less saturated markets, companies can benefit from increased demand for their products or services, which can boost sales and profitability.


2. Income diversification

By expanding their activities internationally, companies can reduce their dependence on a single market and diversify their sources of revenue. This can make them less vulnerable to economic fluctuations and risks specific to a given market, while providing them with a more solid base from which to sustain long-term growth.



3. Economies of scale and cost optimization

International expansion enables companies to achieve economies of scale by consolidating operations and optimizing processes. By consolidating purchasing, production and logistics on a global scale, companies can reduce unit costs and improve operational efficiency, resulting in higher margins and greater competitiveness on the international market.



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Brahim Drihem - IS Manager at Blancheporte, shares his experience of working with Focustribes on an IT modernization project for Blancheporte's international e-commerce expansion.


Rather than using marketplaces, Blancheporte's management decided to set up Business Units by country, starting with Belgium, as they were already present in this country. Their challenge is to migrate this market to a single, cross-border e-commerce activity, abandoning traditional order-taking by telephone and paper order forms. This should enable them to reach a wider audience and simplify their processes.



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However, international expansion also brings significant challenges, including understanding local regulations, cultural differences and consumer preferences, as well as managing cross-border logistics and international payments. What's more, it can lead to increased complexity in managing operations and resources.


When a company decides to launch an international e-commerce venture, it faces a series of challenges and issues. These include :


1. Cultural and linguistic adaptation

Understanding cultural and linguistic differences is essential for success in international markets. This means adapting marketing strategy, website content and even the products themselves to meet the needs and preferences of local consumers. Communicating with customers, partners and suppliers in different languages and cultures can lead to misunderstandings and translation errors, which can damage a company's reputation and jeopardize its success in the international marketplace.


2. Logistics and distribution

Effective supply chain and logistics management is crucial to ensuring fast, reliable delivery across borders. Problems with delivery times, shipping costs and returns can compromise the customer experience and brand reputation.


3. Regulatory compliance

Each country has its own e-commerce, data protection and tax regulations. Ensuring compliance with these regulations is essential to avoid legal disputes and fines.


For successful international expansion in e-commerce, it's crucial to draw up a solid strategic plan, taking into account the specific features of each target market. This involves in-depth research, competitor analysis, and adaptation of marketing, logistics and customer service strategies. It's also essential to put in place a dedicated, skilled team, as well as a monitoring and evaluation system to measure performance and adjust strategies as necessary.


1. Defining the Operating Model

To enter a new market, it's crucial to conduct in-depth research to understand market demand, consumer behavior and competition. With these specific elements in mind, the next step is to define a clear operating procedure.


Brahim D. " The business model, the operating model must be defined. To carry out this type of project successfully, by entering the important inputs somewhere, these are the elements that will define the business processes that will be set up as part of the project."


2. Ensuring buy-in from all stakeholders

Brahim D. " It's important to provide a vision, to communicate internally and to communicate the challenges to all stakeholders. So get as many people on board as possible, and get the business departments on board as well".


3. The IT team must take a back seat. It's a support for business teams, not the other way around.

Brahim D. " We can never say it enough, but (...) it's the business teams who have to decide on their future processes, their business processes, the way they want to work, and we implement, we set all that to music, to effectively bring them on board as decision-makers. And it's a co-construction model. This makes it much easier to stick with the project and also, above all, helps with what's going to happen during the project phase, i.e. change management."


Focustribes offers diversified expertise and the ability to adapt to the specific needs of each project. Our approach, based on quality, listening and experience, cautions tailor-made solutions and tangible results. Whether for strategy, technical implementation or change management, Focustribes will support your international expansion with professionalism, efficiency and excellence.


International expansion in e-commerce presents both growth opportunities and challenges. By following best practices, selecting the right tools, defining the right processes for each business and drawing on the expertise of partners like Focustribes, companies can maximize their chances of success on the global stage.


Would you like FocusTribes to help you find the best talent?


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For further information :

Transformation program: where to start ?

What do we mean by digital transformation, and what are the challenges?

Leading a successful change with the ADKAR methodology