How European affiliates can be the launchpad for your international expansion

How European affiliates can be the launchpad for your international expansion

Discover five reasons why promoting your brand in Europe via Awin Access can take your SME business to the next level.

America and Europe have long had a healthy trading relationship, and it’s one that has continued to improve over the years. During the last decade alone, US exports of goods and services to Europe have increased by over 80%, amounting to more than $273bn in 2019.

For micro-businesses and SMEs seeking to grow, Europe represents a huge opportunity; a continent packed with wealthy shoppers that are familiar with US brands and eager to try new products online.

Affiliate partners in European markets provide a ready-made launchpad from which you can extend your digital footprint and connect with these international audiences. On top of that, they’re all available to promote you to these shoppers on a performance basis, meaning you’re only paying for the sales they generate.

If you need more convincing as to why using affiliates to promote your brand in Europe is a savvy business move right now, consider these five points:

1. Europe offers a huge audience of online shoppers, many of whom speak English

Around 60% of Europe’s population (about 750m people) currently shop online, but there can be big disparities between individual markets; the UK is the most advanced with almost 90% of the population familiar with e-commerce, while other nations such as those in Eastern Europe are still growing from a relatively smaller percentage.

However, the pandemic has, as in many regions around the world, rapidly increased that penetration rate. Local lockdowns across Europe during the last few months have been a massive e-commerce accelerant, improving adoption rates across the continent and bringing millions of new customers online for the first time.

While the thought of marketing to this diverse audience which features some 24 different official languages (and 200 unofficial ones) might seem a bewildering prospect, the fact is around 40% of Europe’s population speaks English to a conversational level, making it hugely accessible to US businesses.  

2. European consumers are well versed in buying from non-domestic brands

Cross-border shopping is commonplace throughout Europe, with almost a quarter of online sales occurring across international borders according to recent research. That’s a trend that is expected to continue to grow as more of Europe’s shoppers come online and become familiar with buying from non-domestic brands.

Again, as with e-commerce penetration, there are big variations in how popular cross-border shopping is with different markets, and it’s an angle worth considering before targeting specific markets.

All of this cross-border activity is great news for international businesses marketing to Europe, though. Knowing that shoppers are already receptive to buying from non-domestic brands opens up the playing field substantially and means that local consumers are more likely to be interested in buying from your website.

3. Sales events like Black Friday are a great opportunity to get in front of new customers

Of all the American exports to Europe, Black Friday has to be one of the biggest and most successful. Q4 in Europe is dominated by the big sales event in much the same way as it is back home, with retailers and shoppers all seeking to capitalize on the increased activity that makes its way online.

For smaller US businesses seeking to get a foothold into a new international market, Black Friday provides the perfect window of opportunity.

Last year, Awin tracked over $400m in sales over the Cyber Weekend in Europe as millions of shoppers flocked online to buy a wide range of products and goods.

While Black Friday’s legacy as an in-store event in the US means that retailers here have only more recently adapted to it online, for Europeans Black Friday has been considered primarily as an e-commerce phenomenon ever since its introduction there.

As shoppers are due to shun locked down high streets and malls across Europe for this year’s event, we can expect the online opportunity over Black Friday to be bigger than ever in 2020.

If ever there was a moment to attempt to break into Europe, Black Friday is it.

4. Affiliates offer a great way of targeting niche audiences in Europe

One of the great strength of affiliates is their natural diversity. Regardless of how niche your product or service is, you’ll be able find an authoritative local expert publisher whose advice and guidance shoppers will seek before making their big purchase.

These partners can be found in every local market and across a range of different media.

From YouTube product reviewers to influential Instagram personalities, from big national news publishers to small, independent bloggers. These partners come in every shape and size, and they can play a pivotal role in the fortunes of advertisers entering a new market.

Matching up and collaborating with such affiliates can give you immediate access to the most relevant local shoppers in a market for your business and boost your profile in online spaces where it really counts.   

The variety of different media they cover will mean that you’re also able to feature in every phase of the purchase cycle, from inspiration and awareness for brand-building, to comparison and incentive spaces where you can confidently close sales and drive leads.

5. It’s never been simpler for SMEs to set up an affiliate program and start working with European partners

The launch of Awin Access’s entry-level solution makes tapping into the European consumer market with affiliate partnerships simpler than ever for SMEs. With zero setup costs and a slick, simple integration process, Awin Access makes starting an affiliate program as quick and easy as setting up a Google Adwords campaign.

The availability of Awin Access plugins across a wide variety of the most popular e-commerce platforms (including Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop and Shopware) means you can be up and running in just a few clicks.

As the biggest network in Europe with access to thousands of affiliate partners across the continent, Awin offers a user-friendly interface that allows you to find the most relevant ones for your niche, so you can quickly choose the right partners for promoting your brand internationally.

In the current climate, with most big retailers stalling international expansion, nimbler online competitors can make the most of and capitalize on e-commerce’s natural lack of borders. Online shoppers across Europe can buy from brands operating anywhere in the world.

All it takes is the right set of partnerships to connect you with those new customers.

Take advantage today and let Awin Access take your SME business to the next level.

Or, if you’re interested in more specialized support for your international expansion,  please contact our team.