If You Are An E-commerce Start-Up This Is How You Can Enter New Markets

Preventative measures to help e-commerce start-ups reduce risk while exploring new markets.


Entering new markets in e-commerce means to get multiple revenue sources and to list your products/services on different avenues allowing you to expand across geographical regions. The number of online shoppers is multiplying rapidly and since people are physically moving less frequently, their attention is turned to the internet for all kinds of purchases.

As an e-commerce start-up, whenever you see it fit to explore new markets, the key is to take baby steps forward. It is always wise to start off small, try and test out how your products are received. Once you’ve toed the line, it may be safe to pump in more investments.

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Going beyond the local market is always daunting for an e-commerce start-up. Mainly because while the potential of taking your online store beyond your comfort zone is high, the impending risks can threaten to disrupt what you have already established.

How Indian beauty start-up ‘Purplle’ is going global:

Let’s take the example of ‘Purplle’, an Indian beauty e-commerce start-up who planned on expanding their presence online. Purplle verily understood the massive demand for beauty products online. In its latest Series D funding round, Purplle managed to raise $45 M backed by Sequoia Capital, Verlinvest, Blume, and JSW Venture. This latest funding round has taken the valuation of Purplle to a new high of $300 M. 

Purplle’s business model for start-ups:

Purplle’s Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is relatively low which allows them more room to strategize on retaining their existing customers. Start-ups have an excellent lesson here about focusing on trust building and retention strategies. 

The next aspect of Purplle’s business model for expansion is their product portfolio which is a mix of both in-house label products as well as the top brands popular with the consumers.

Minimizing risk for e-commerce start-ups in new markets:

Going beyond the local market is always daunting for an e-commerce start-up. Mainly because while the potential of taking your online store beyond your comfort zone is high, the impending risks can threaten to disrupt what you have already established.

While you may not know how to enter new markets, what you really need to know is ensuring that your entry is efficient, successful, and at low risk. 

Start-ups in e-commerce need to thoroughly research the ins and outs of new markets before leaping right into them. Whether you want to expand on a global scale or venture into different categories of selling online, perform business research to predict in advance whether your e-commerce start-up can succeed in new territory.

While taking your business to another country, there are several ground rules you need to be aware of. Although the growth trajectory can be tempting for a local e-commerce start-up, careful research and analysis on the new, unfamiliar market is essential if you don’t want your existing business to run the risk of disruption.

What’s in it for me?

For Indian e-commerce start-ups trying to enter new markets, here is a set of preventative measures for you to reduce the risk.

Kick-start your market research from the perspective of whether it is financially viable for your start-up in the new setting.

You also need specific answers to several questions before venturing into a new market. Things like, identifying who your new competitors will be, whether your existing products need tweaks before getting launched in a new market, whether your pricing needs tweaking to be more appropriate for a new market, the changes required in business processes or additional duties and costs you will incur in a new market. 

With all these preventative measures in place, your start-up will be able to minimize risk and successfully explore new markets in e-commerce.

Anju Nambiar
Anju Nambiar
Anju has 5 years of experience covering business. She writes on startups, business life cycle and startup ecosystem. Her stints include Amazon and Adjetter Media Network.

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