Our new guide to cross-border ecommerce and international expansion, Discovering Your Global Commerce Opportunity, includes an assessment tool for retailers designed to help them prioritize and determine market eligibility and potential as they attempt to grow their business outside their home borders. It’s a tool our Retail Practice team has used with considerable success with retailers and brands of all sizes.

Why is something like this useful? While it may be tempting to look at a large market and decide to start selling to its consumers, the reality is that there are many factors that will determine whether the effort and resources required to be successful is actually worth the investment. What is the per capita GDP? How stable is the country’s technology infrastructure? Mobile commerce penetration? How onerous (or not) are the government regulations? What about tax, payment, fulfillment, and language issues? Or demographics? For example, if your business is baby gear and and children’s clothing, you’d want to know about the age, birth rates, even fertility rates, etc., of that country’s citizens.

The tool includes three pre-populated categories: “people and society,” “market potential,” and “localization effort,” for 15 countries, as well as a “your brand” category to plug in your own data on your physical stores, brand awareness and partners in your countries of interest. Here are some guidelines in using the tool:

Assess your brand awareness in each target market
Check your analytics on how many visitors and conversions you already get from respective countries. Consult Google Trends to get insights into how frequent your brand name is searched around the globe.

Consider the physical footprint that already exists in new countries
Think of wholesalers that carry your product, distribution partners, marketplaces and, of course, your own store network.

Review your partner landscape 
Do you have key partners with strong expertise in a certain region? If so, mark those cells as high.

There might be more to consider
Is your company planning a big market launch or is it involved in an acquisition? Are there strategic guidelines to execute? Add your thoughts in this last column and color-code the cells based on significance.

As soon as you decide there is a business opportunity in a certain country, you need to consider the challenges before you put feet on the ground. It is relatively easy for a European brand to sell to other EU-countries, given the union between them. But the same is not true on other continents. This and much more, including the assessment tool, is covered in our guide to global ecommerce. Download it today.