Europe Bound: Expand Prospecting in the EU
Measurements comprise another great divide. Metric measurements have been used on mainland Europe for decades and are the norm, so straightforward conversions can be used.
But in the United Kingdom, the situation is more complex. Until recently, the country used feet, inches, pounds and ounces, but now, it uses the metric system. The problem is that relatively few people age 50 or older fully understand the metric system, so if you’re targeting the U.K.’s mature market, include both forms of measurement.
Product sizes also differ. The U.K. uses a sizing system for women’s clothing that appears so similar to U.S. sizes you could be fooled into thinking they’re the same. Not so. A U.K. size 8, for example, is equivalent to a U.S. size 2. And U.K. shoe sizes are about one size larger than those in the United States.
To make matters even more confounding, mainland Europe has a totally different sizing system, but luckily, it’s consistent across the rest of the continent.
Electrical products also differ between the EU and the United States—Europe uses 220v, while U.S. products use 110v. And just about every EU nation has its own plug style, some of which are fused.
Furthermore, a product’s UL listing will cut no ice in the EU. Most product lines sold in Europe have their own standards and should carry a “CE” mark to reassure the consumer it satisfies relevant regulations.
Luckily, a standard set of EU laws covers the safety and performance of each product type. A good product-testing lab can examine your merchandise for EU compliance. Far East companies, in particular, are familiar with European standards and can test your products in the country of manufacture.
In Germany, data-protection laws allow only certain selections to be made on mailing lists. And all 15 EU member nations have data-protection laws governing the export of customer data outside Europe.