Yep. It's not like it's goldrush anymore. But still the market is pretty unregulated and in many areas underdeveloped, meaning lots of opportunities even for entrepreneurs.
Internet access is rising faster than in the more saturated markets in Canada, USA and UK.
Interestimgly this is especially true for the large european mainlands like Germany, France, Italy and Spain, whereas some smaller countries like Holland and the Scandinavian countries are on par with US figures.
And yes, the Euro is slowly showing effect.
If now acceptance of cc online payment grows further, or another widely accepted payment method comes up, then I see a substantial growth of ecommerce for a couple of years to come.
BTW: what has helped Amazon, ebay and expedia, the three companies cited in the article, is the demise of their respective european competitors. Looks like in their class only one company can make it.
I've been pondering this for a while, and wanting to get into the European market. However, I haven't been able to come up with a concrete idea.
Any thought on what a US based company can do to begin establishing a presence in the European market? Are there any opportunitites for Affiliate-style marketing?
Basically the European market is wide open to US companies.
Depending on the nature of a business, retail, services, intangible goods, customer care dependent or not, different ways of targeting Europe should be chosen.
Looking for affiliates definitely is a good way to start out for US based and other foreign companies.
It minimizes the risk while providing invaluable experiences.
For the SME sector a perfect entry to the European market could be to set up a relationship with a trustworthy partner, who acts as a reseller. Starting from there a local affiliate network or even a local representation could be built.
Either way, I would recommend to look at each case individually.
The times where it would be mandatory just to *be there* are definitely over.
Each plan should be considered carefully, evaluating risks, possible wins, local factors, which are totally different between the european countries etc.
It's interesting to me that these three companies - Amazon, eBay and Expedia - have achieved these results on the back of heavy investment in offline marketing. With all the focus that these forums put on SEO, could it be that traditional press advertising, offline brand building and public relations play a larger role in marketing success than search engines?
There are lessons to be learned for us all by looking at the strategies of these successful companies. But I don't think its feasible for someone to look at these results and think 'hey, US companies doing well in Europe, I think I'll take a piece of that too' unless you have a substantial budget to burn on brand building and offline marketing.