10 questions to ask yourself before entering the Belgian market

When you have passed your goal turnover of let’s say €1 million, what would be the next step? Once your revenue is stable, it might be time to have a look at your neighbouring countries to expand your business internationally. For Dutch companies, Belgium is the easiest next step, but be sure not to underestimate the market! 

Belgium has a thriving economy and a high standard of living, making it an attractive market for e-commerce businesses. However, before entering the Belgian market, there are several questions you should ask yourself to ensure that you are well-prepared and positioned for success. 

In this article, we will list ten key questions to consider before entering the Belgian market as an e-commerce business.

1. What is the demand for your product or service in the Belgian market?

One of the first questions to consider is whether there is demand for your product or service in Belgium. Do your research to understand the local market and the needs and preferences of Belgian consumers. 
Belgium is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, with a high GDP per capita. Consider conducting market research or surveys to gain insights into consumer behaviour and preferences. 
An alternative way to check the demand is by setting up a smoke test. You create a website where people can leave their email addresses behind if they are interested in your product or service. You create some ads and see how much traffic they generate and how many email addresses you can collect. 

2. Who is your target audience?

To succeed in the Belgian market, you need to understand your target audience. Identify the demographic profile of your ideal customer and tailor your marketing and sales strategies to those profiles. You can’t address Belgian customers in the same way that you address your current Dutch customers.

3. Will you target the Flemish part, the Walloon part or both?

Based on the first two questions, you should be able to decide whether you’re targeting only the Flemish part, the Walloon part or both. This decision will determine your further strategy, especially in marketing.

4. What are the local regulations and legal requirements?

Before entering the Belgian market, you must be aware of the local regulations and legal requirements. Research the relevant laws and regulations, such as consumer protection, data privacy, and e-commerce regulations. Ensure that your business is compliant with these regulations to avoid legal issues.

5. What are the logistics and shipping requirements?

Shipping and logistics are critical components of e-commerce businesses. Consider the logistics and shipping requirements in Belgium, such as delivery times, shipping costs, and customs requirements. Partnering up with a local distribution centre will provide a seamless customer experience.

6. How will you handle customer service and support?

Customer service and support are essential for any e-commerce business. Develop a plan for handling customer inquiries, complaints, and support requests. Ensure that you have a dedicated team or local partner to provide timely and effective customer service.

7. How will you market your business in Belgium?

Marketing is a critical component of any business, and e-commerce is no exception. Develop a marketing plan that targets the part of the Belgian market you want to conquer (see question 3). 
Not only does Belgium have three national languages (Dutch, French and German), but the Dutch language also differs from the Dutch language that is used in the Netherlands. You will have to adapt your Dutch website to suit the Flemish language and will have to add a French version as well. All of your other marketing materials will need the same adjustments. 
We recommend finding a trustworthy local partner, like dear digital, that can help you adapt your marketing strategy to the Belgian market.

8. How will you price your products or services?

Pricing is an essential component of any e-commerce business. Determine a new pricing strategy for the Belgian market. Consider the local competition, the cost of doing business in Belgium, and the preferences and purchasing power of Belgian consumers.

9. What payment options will you offer?

Payment options are critical for e-commerce businesses. Ensure that you offer payment options that are popular and trusted in Belgium like KBC/CBC. Consider partnering with local payment providers to provide a seamless payment experience for your customers.

10. What are your long-term goals for the Belgian market?

Finally, consider your long-term goals for the Belgian market. Determine your growth strategy and objectives. Consider how you will measure your success and track your progress towards your goals.
Entering the Belgian market as an e-commerce business requires careful planning and preparation. By asking yourself these ten key questions, you can develop a comprehensive strategy that will help you succeed in the Belgian market. 
Need any help with expanding your business internationally? Feel free to send us a message!