Export market research


It can be daunting to choose a new market to export to. A marketeer can be of great assistance in the research if he thinks of the following: size and traffic.


Size. Size matters. Depending on the size of the markets you already dominate, one should consider the size of the target market. Bigger is not always better. If one’s home market is small it can be a mistake to enter a market that is too big. An example. A company from Denmark: Holger AS. Suppose Holger AS dominates the Danish market for little reclosable bags. Is it a good idea to enter the bordering German market? Or should they rather go to neighbouring Sweden or Norway?

Comparing population bases

The German competitors of are going to be huge. Danmark has less than 6 million inhabitants. Germany 80 million. Even if the German competitors do not have a strong online presence, once the Holger AS makes big inroads selling reclosable bags Online winning 10 percent of the market, the Germans will have deep pockets to fight back. Simply by imitating the Holger AS webshop and moving a big budget to Google Adwords, they will be well positioned to push up the prices for relevant keywords in the Google Adwords auction and smother Holger AS’ marketing campaigns. It is a better idea, to capture the Scandinavian markets first. Norway with a 5 million population and Sweden with a 10 million population are relatively easy to capture from a Denmark’s 6 million population base. Suppose they can be dominated in 3 years, then Holger AS has a 21 million populations base. That is a much better base to dominate the German market than the hopeless 6 million base.


Looking at the size of the population is a very rough indicator of the potential of a give market. A quick way to estimate a market’s potential is by looking at the traffic for the essential keywords. In this case “packaging”. Entering “packaging in Google’s export tool gives the following results:

Country Traffic

Germany 6.800
Danmark 2.900
Norway 880
Sweden 3.100

Measured by traffic Sweden and Norway add 4.000 keyword searches to Denmark’s 2.900 adding up to a total of 6.900. That is the equal to Germany’s 6.800. This quick and dirty analysis indicates that capturing the other Scandinavian countries is the key to online parity in Germany for Holger AS.

After Sales and Trust

In International Online Sales it is essential to maintain trust after it has been established. This article raises two questions:

1.What can be done to maintain trust and stay in customers’ confidence?

2.Does trust work the same in different countries?


Three step trust program

The first step is to always ask for feedback. New customers must be asked how their experience was with our company. Soon after the product has arrived with the customer he should receive a quick simple survey email to ask him how was the buying experience. The message should only contain 3-5 questions and focus on whether the experience was: 1. bad. 2. as expected 3. recommendable to friends and partners. The customer should be able to finish the survey in less than a minute.

At the time of the making of the sale, customer service should ask for an email address where the survey can be sent, to ensure high rates of participation.

Stay in contact. Get in touch with the client when you ship his goods. Once the goods have arrived, check with the cusomer again to check if everything is okay. Make sure customer service is not too busy to keep in touch with customers. If customers are forgotten the moment his goods are shipped, the custoemer will feel this and shall not be loyal. If you take care of any potential shortcomings before they are felt we will gain the customer’s confidence and win his confidence.

Act like a virgin. This means you should treat each customer like he is the first. Do not be afraid to be honest about the size of the company. A small company needs its customers and should not be afraid to show eagerness. Clients will feel loyal to a supplier who needs their business and treats them accordingly.

Comparing trust internationally 

Online marketing is very much a North American invention and the main unspoken assumption is that Online Marketing is similar accross the globe. However, just within Europe there is a big difference between one country and the next with regards to trust. In southern European countries there is less trust as has been established in the work of the Political Scientist Francis Fukuyama. E.g.in his book “Trust“.


In “Trust” Fukuyama establishes that levels of public trust differ from nation to nation. He shows that there are political consequences but more relevantly economic consequences too. In low-trust societies it is more difficult to make transactions happen. The USA is a high-trust society and so are northern European countries. But in the Latin, Southern European countries trust is generally lower and buyers need more assurance to buy than a website can give them. So they will use a web shop as a catalogue, but will only purchase after personal contact through a phone call with a customer service. They need to establish whether a businesws is legit by interacting with a real human being as a representative of that business.

Exporting southwards is a bigger investment

As a result it takes much more customer service to establish a viable business in Southern Europe than in Northern Europe or North America, something an export strategy must take into account.