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3 Tips to Optimize Your Cross-Border Commerce Strategy

Brent Peterson Brent Peterson April 2, 2020

Between 2014 and 2018, the total number of online shoppers around the world jumped by 36%, meaning that 1.79 billion people have become regular users of the internet. This is great news for merchants, as BI Intelligence predicts that global eCommerce will bring in over $1 trillion in sales by 2021.

However, selling products internationally isn’t always smooth sailing. Customers want to have familiar localized experiences, no matter where the seller is based. If merchants don’t take the time and effort to cater to a diverse, global market, their businesses will suffer as a result. To make sure that your eCommerce store will thrive as a cross-border business, here are 3 tips to keep in mind.

1. Do Your Research

There are far too many horror stories of failed product launches and marketing campaigns in other countries simply because they didn’t take the time to do any research before moving abroad. For instance, the Parker Pen brand got a bit lost in translation when they attempted to expand into Mexico years ago. Their slogan for their pen was, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you,” but it was accidentally translated to “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

Don’t end up like Parker Pen. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your customers, no matter where they are. If you can travel to the country you’d like to expand into, that’s the best-case scenario. You can meet the locals, gain an understanding of the local culture, and even identify some potential competitors. If you are unable to travel, you can still thoroughly prepare yourself by researching:

  • Where your target markets are located.
  • Customs restrictions and taxes.
  • Local holidays.
  • Preferred payment options.
  • Differences in sales platforms.

2. Streamline Your Checkout Process

Your checkout process should be smooth and simple for customers around the globe. Nobody should be surprised by additional fees or changes to the prices in their cart, or have to convert different types of currency on their own. If a new customer reaches your checkout and can’t pay with the currency they’re familiar with, or the taxes suddenly increase due to international shipping, you’ll likely lose this customer to a competitor. Transparency and simplicity are key for successful cross-border commerce.

Opting for a multi-currency checkout can easily entice international customers, and selecting a few of the most popular online payment options (Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, etc.) can instantly boost conversions. Further, streamline the process more by eliminating the need for users to create an account, and then optimize your site for mobile shoppers.

3. Choose a Global Delivery Partner

90% of online shoppers have reported abandoning their carts due to high shipping expenses. To avoid sticker shock, selecting a delivery provider capable of shipping your items across multiple borders can reduce costs for you and your customers. These reputable companies are a few great options if you’re looking to expand your business this year:

  • UPS. For over 100 years, UPS has been a trusted shipping partner for thousands of businesses. Today, they’re capable of delivering packages within the states and overseas while giving buyers the ability to track their orders the entire time.
  • FedEx Cross Border. This leader in global eCommerce technology connects merchants and customers in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
  • DHL. This international shipping company can deliver to 220 countries and territories worldwide, and they also have additional services like express shipping and multimodal transportation.

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