Shopping habits have been shifting away from physical retail and toward ecommerce for some time, but the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated this movement. Consumers are becoming aware of how simple and convenient online shopping is, so much so that according to eMarketer there were 170 million more online shoppers in 2020 than the previous year, totaling 2.28 billion digital buyers worldwide.
The popularity of online shopping also extends to purchasing from online stores in other countries, or cross-border ecommerce, driven by consumers seeking brands or products unavailable in their home country and more competitive pricing. The growth of cross-border and direct-to-consumer ecommerce creates a huge market opportunity expected to reach more than $700 billion in 2023 and growing twice as fast as domestic ecommerce.
International ecommerce enables retailers and brands to increase their revenues and customer base, rather than focusing solely on their domestic market or a limited number of key international markets. However, in order to successfully grow cross-border sales, it is crucial to provide international shoppers with the same seamless online shopping experience as on domestic sites. There are many barriers preventing international shoppers from placing an order including not being able to pay in their local currency and with their preferred local payment method, duties and taxes owed when importing goods, slow and expensive shipping and complicated returns processes, all of which have a negative impact on international conversion rates. Online shoppers who experience difficulties when trying to purchase cross-border will more than likely abandon their cart and search for a more user-friendly website to take their custom.
So, what can ecommerce retailers do to ensure that their international customers are well served?
Offer localized pricing and payment options
Global-e’s data has shown that over 95% of international online shoppers choose to pay in their local currency when given the option. Furthermore, in many markets worldwide local and alternative payment methods are commonly used and preferred over international credit cards. In China, for example, the majority of online payments are made through AliPay, WeChatPay, and UnionPay card scheme. In other countries, payment options such as Cash-On-Delivery are popular.
Avoid unexpected fees for customers upon delivery
Duties and taxes are an additional barrier to buying cross-border. Being faced with unexpected duties and taxes charges upon delivery negatively impacts the shopping experience and can hamper the customer retention rate. Retailers and brands that present a final calculation of the duties and taxes owed on an order and enable shoppers to prepay them at checkout, give the shopper the full picture of the costs involved which increases conversion rates. In fact, over 80% of online shoppers from developed markets opt to prepay duties and taxes during checkout when offered..
Know the markets you are selling to
Markets differ in many aspects – currencies, import regulations and taxes, payment methods and shopper behaviors and preferences. Therefore, merchants aiming to penetrate international markets should ensure that their prices are not only displayed in the local currency, but are also rounded according to market conventions. They should also adjust their shipping propositions according to common prices in international markets and offer easy return processes tailored to local shoppers’ preferences.
Understanding the differences between markets and providing shoppers in each individual market with a seamless, localized shopping experience tailored to their preferences and behaviors is the key to successful cross-border selling. Global-e’s data shows that by localizing the customer journey on their current web store, retailers and brands see an average uplift of over 60% in international traffic conversion rates.
Choose a trusted partner with a proven track record
Mastering all aspect of localization, tailoring the international offering to each and every market while keeping it up to date with the constant changes to market regulations and consumer demand, is extremely complex and almost impossible for merchants to achieve in-house.
Partnering with a reputable cross-border ecommerce provider with a winning end-to-end cross-border ecommerce solution is an essential part of this effort, which will also prove to be both cost effective and more efficient, enabling you to go to market faster.
The cross-border ecommerce market is growing every year and the opportunities are boundless. It’s time to start your journey to expanding your online cross-border footprint and maximizing your international sales and revenues.
Global-e is the world’s leading platform to enable and accelerate global, direct-to-consumer cross-border ecommerce growth. With Global-e, retailers and brands increase international traffic conversion and grow sales by offering customers in over 200 destinations worldwide a seamless localized shopping experience.
Global-e makes selling internationally as simple as selling domestically. Our end-to-end ecommerce solutions combine best-in-class localization capabilities, big-data best-practice business intelligence models, streamlined international logistics and vast cross-border experience, enabling online retailers to sell to and from anywhere in the world and seamlessly expand their brand worldwide.
Global-e operates from seven offices worldwide and is the chosen partner of hundreds of global retailers and brands across the United States, Europe and Asia.
To learn more about how you can integrate our solution to your PrestaShop webstore, visit: https://www.global-e.com/prestashop-partnership/
 Global-e company data
 Global-e company information as of Jan-2021