Can your eCommerce strategy also take advantage of cross-border opportunities
Amidst a pandemic, cross-border eCommerce has seen a gigantic jump in the past two years. This has been a mixed blessing for traditional retailers, who have been losing out to digital commerce. The loss of brick-and-mortar stores has been the gain of eCommerce. With new customers sprouting up in stagnant markets, digital commerce has been embraced on a scale never seen before.
It seems that due to the recent wave of digital transformation initiatives, there has been an increase in cross-border trade among merchants and customers. The UK experienced a 57% boost in outbound trade, with one-month sales in November 2020 up 42%.according to data from UK online retail industry association IMRG and leading cross-border eCommerce solutions provider Global-e.
With the rise of online shopping (especially cross-border), consumers stress the importance of customer service. And with competition from both international players and homegrown companies, it is more important than ever for retailers to provide a stellar customer service experience. Consumers are more willing than ever to purchase online. But with this new rise in opportunities comes more intense competition from other sellers, both international players and local startups who have greatly expanded their digital presence in the past year.
The global marketplace is booming with cross-border sellers as consumer expectations have changed. Customers now weigh the digital factors, such as speed and convenience of delivery, for any purchases.eCommerce merchants must study the data and analytics of cross-border transactions to ensure that their customers are thrilled with their online experience and turn into repeat customers.
It’s true that e-commerce expectations are different in different countries. For example, if you’re an EU retailer, your customers might speak different languages. But if you want to take advantage of cross-border shopping, you’ll need to accommodate them. If the eCommerce platform is only available in English, cross-border shoppers might not be compelled to purchase from a site they cannot fully understand.
In a similar way, different regions have different online payment preferences. In the Netherlands, for example, 59% of e-commerce transactions take place with iDEAL. But in Italy, PayPal is the most popular payment option, followed by Postepay.
Cross-border eCommerce regulatory requirements
It is nearly impossible to prevent fraud in today’s borderless, digitized payment system. Regulations are purposely difficult to follow to protect all parties, with two-factor authentication always required.
In Europe, online merchants need to understand the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements. This mandate requires any transaction over €30 (US$35.60) in the European Economic Area to use two-factor authentication. You may be a cross-border merchant, but as such, you’ll need to know the SCA guidelines as well as those for your country of operation.
The revolution is here—and it’s on your phone. Digital transformation efforts are here to stay, but this revolution will be different from the previous one. This time around, the largest gateway to digital connectivity for much of the developing world is a mobile device. In many parts of the world, people who don’t own laptops outnumber those who do. Mobile phone usage is far more common than desktop browsing, making it the largest gateway to digital connectivity for much of the developing world.
In some parts of the world, mobile devices have the highest eCommerce usage, but they also have the highest rates of cart abandonment (86.65%). Mobile-optimized platforms are important for any company with cross-border traffic. It’s not enough to just target buyers on a mobile device; the entire payments journey must be optimized for this platform.
Poorly optimized pages can lead to dropouts at the crucial payments page. After all, you wouldn’t want your customers to be turned off by an improperly sized payment form or receipt slip.
To avoid dropouts, many retailers are making sure their pages are optimized for mobile screens. If not, the results can be startling. For instance, on a traditional desktop screen, a completed payment form might be the right size, but on a smaller mobile, the form could be clipped or scaled down to an illegible size.
It’s important to have a wide array of payment options when expanding your business internationally. Working with an established payments partner, including counsel on which markets to explore based on payment ease, informing your business’s strategic planning, and helping maximize customer retention and conversion rates are all benefits.