In his recent article, “Cross-Border Merchants Win with Added Functionality, More Languages,” author James Gagliardi shares research efforts being used to track the state of global ecommerce across national borders. The following summary of his piece highlights key points for cross-border companies hoping to grow their business in the international market.
With international business-to-consumer digital commerce expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020, retailers must learn to master cross-border transactions to succeed. There are several areas that an enterprising merchant should focus on to stand out from the competition.
Today’s most successful retailers are using increasingly simplified checkout functionality and allowing users to choose from a variety of languages.
Successful cross-border merchants have expanded their language selections so users can choose the language they’re most comfortable using. Half of the top 10 merchants surveyed offered at least 20 language options, significantly more languages than the previous quarter's report.
Don’t Demand Too Much Too Soon
Digital merchants should be cautious in demanding too much information too soon from would-be customers. To make subsequent purchases easier, some sites require users to create a full profile to complete a purchase. Although well-intentioned, this requires first-time customers to trust an unfamiliar out-of-country merchant with their information, creating the potential for abandoned shopping carts. Retailers should be extremely cautious when making these demands on consumers too early in the buying process.
Know Your Audience
When selling across borders it is vital to know your target audience. For example, Europe is a desired destination for many digital retailers in North America. Savvy merchants know that the continent is very diverse in language, culture, currency and payment preference – and adjust their strategies and priorities accordingly.
For example, European consumers’ preferred payment methods vary by country — some Europeans strongly favor direct debit options and retailers should make sure their ecommerce platform can process these and other choices.
Where to Go?
The article includes the X-Border Payments Optimization Index that ranks 195 merchant sites around the world. In addition to helping prioritize receptive markets, it also lists industries more receptive to cross-border transactions.
There are many opportunities for cross-border merchants to profit from global opportunities. Optimizing website functionality, offering multiple languages, and adapting to cultural preferences are important steps cross-border retailers can take to stand out from their competition.