Nir Debbi, co-founder and CMO at Global-e, the cross-border e-commerce specialists, offers advice to online retailers on how to capitalise upon the fast-growing cross-border e-commerce market.
The market for cross-border e-commerce is predicted to reach $1 trillion (£666bn) by 2020, as more and more shoppers worldwide choose to make purchases from online retailers in other countries. For UK retailers, big and small, this presents a massive business opportunity.
As Christmas approaches, a growing number of retailers are putting energy into targeting shoppers overseas to maximise their revenues. However, retailers embarking on cross-border commerce are unlikely to match impressive homeland sales in international markets unless they take the time to localise their ecommerce platforms effectively.
To optimise the shopping experience and increase conversions, retailers must deliver a high level of customer service to all shoppers – not just those in the UK. This is expected all year round, but particularly at Christmas. Unexpected delays to delivery and surprise fees for tax or shipping, can quickly sour a great online experience, while failing to support local currencies and payment methods can make shoppers nervous.
To make the most out of cross-border e-commerce opportunities this Christmas, retailers should:
• Never treat cross-border customers as second class. The first rule of international trade is that, in order to be successful, customers must enjoy the same experience regardless of where they are in the world
• Offer multiple shipping options at reasonable rates. Linked to this, have a simple and transparent returns process to give every customer the confidence to buy online with you
• Display prices in the local currency; there are few things more off-putting than exchange rate uncertainty when buying from a retailer in another country
• Try to put the customer’s mind at ease. Avoid any potential nasty surprises for customers, such as customs charges or handling fees, by being upfront about these costs.
With the cross-border e-commerce market set to increase in size in 2016, retailers cannot afford to ignore shoppers outside the UK. If they do, they risk falling behind the competition and losing out on international revenue. Therefore, internet performance must be regarded across mobile and the web so that retailers stand out amongst the competition and succeed in new markets.
The right preparation needs to be made upfront, but many retailers find it difficult to justify in-house investment in localising their platforms for international markets. However, they can find a global partner to better service their needs and meet international sales expectations. Technology partners like Global-e can provide this seamless, international experience by offering merchants a simple and cost effective solution to service their customers, which is essential for success in the competitive retail market.
Commitment to delivering a seamless shopping experience through features such as localised pricing, currencies and payment methods, effective shipping and guaranteed landed cost will be the driving force for cross-border expansion, while helping both retailers and shoppers to have a happy Christmas.
By Nir Debbi
Co-founder and CMO