Cross-border e-commerce is on the rise

The holiday season is just around the corner and, as we all prepare for the virtual festivities, the pandemic has, in a sense, set up some boundaries between people and broken down others.

This is particularly true in the area of e-commerce, where friction points have crystallized around exchange rates, accepted payment methods and, of course, fraud.

It should be noted that the headwinds have been persistent. As the latest results show, cross-border spending has fallen by more than 10%. But with the reopening of some economies and the announcement of the development of vaccines, international e-commerce has held up well, especially for those countries that (as far as we can see) have managed to control the virus.

One of the most visible evidence of this resilience is provided by the statistics from Alibaba’s Singles Day, which earlier this month showed that Chinese consumers have decided to embrace online sales internationally.

Alibaba said that Singles Day sales (which actually lasted just over a week) exceeded $74 billion, a level above the $38.4 billion mark for 2019. American brands such as Apple and Nike were reportedly in strong demand, as were brands with a decidedly international presence such as Estee Lauder and Marriott International.

Moreover, even before “Singles Day” and the holiday season officially began, as estimated by Global-E and cited by Digital Commerce 360, global e-commerce sales increased by 21% between January and July.

Transactions with merchants abroad often require extensive translation, both for languages and currencies. All payments must also comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policy requirements, according to the index.

The best performing sites demonstrate a holistic approach that includes consideration (and deployment) of preferred local payment options, a range of languages to serve consumers and strong refund policies are the ingredients of a successful cross-border trading venture.