In Europe, cross-border ecommerce is growing by 30% a year, and by 2020 it will amount to 130 billion euros(1). For customers, shopping on overseas sites allows them to access items that are hard to find domestically for competitive prices. So it follows that cross-border trade represents a significant business opportunity for sellers. The work needed to optimize businesses for overseas sales, however, can seem a little daunting.
In this article we’ll take you through a simple plan for developing your international expansion strategy as well as looking at some of the key drivers and barriers that you might come across.
Get global-ready in 4 steps.
4 steps to get global-ready
- Run a safety check
- Meet the locals
Planning to sell outside the eurozone? Check local taxes, hidden fees and any local legal peculiarities that could potentially slow you down and affect your revenue.
A quick audit of the competitors in your target market is always a smart idea. You’ll be able to see how crowded the market is and better assess what makes your business different.
3. Run a safety check
Take a look at your target market’s credit card fraud rates through local authorities or in available reports. There are measures you can take, such as using the services of companies that specialize in internet security and fraud protection. For instance, when you receive payments with PayPal, they can protect your transactions against the most common types of online fraud. Check out PayPal’s Seller Protection for more information about its benefits and terms.
4. Meet the locals
Find out more about your potential customers: where they’re shopping, what they’re looking for and how they pay – so you can maximize your potential.
Maximize your cross-border conversion
How to maximize cross-border conversion
Speaking their language
Cross-border expansion doesn’t mean that you have to pay out for multilingual localization of your site straight away. To begin with, an English translation of your site is advisable, given that 64% of Europeans feel comfortable enough shopping in the language. (2)
TIP: Think about eventually offering customer support in local languages. Not being able to resolve a problem is the third-largest barrier to cross-border sales for shoppers. (3)
Overcoming currency hurdles
For 14% of international shoppers, dealing with foreign currencies is grounds enough to abandon their shopping cart.(4) Using internationally recognized payment solutions like PayPal can help prevent this. On top of offering reassurance to your buyers, PayPal allows you to accept payments in 25 currencies and to manage how and when to do the conversion.
TIP: Include a small margin on cross-border prices to act as padding in case of a sudden change in currency rates.
Establishing a strong shipping strategy
High delivery and high return-shipping costs crop up across the globe as major concerns for shoppers buying overseas.(5) Offering free shipping by factoring it into the displayed price of your product is a good solution to this problem.
TIP: PayPal can reimburse return shipping costs. Websites that have clearly promoted this feature have shown a 30% increase in cross-border sales on average.(6)
Why choose PayPal?
With 237 million users from more than 200 countries and markets, PayPal is one of the world’s preferred payment methods for online foreign purchases and can help customers abroad convert more easily. Ready to get started? Take a look at PrestaShop’s PayPal module.
(1) Gala Global – Can’t Read, Won’t Buy, 2015
(2) GfK Belgium, 2015
(3) GfK Belgium, 2015
(4) Ipsos CBT Study for PayPal, 2016
(5) GfK Belgium, 2015
(6) PayPal Analysis performed in France, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Customers who opted in to receiving our surveys and those who did not opt in but took them voluntarily had similar transactional behaviour before launch.