4 ways to welcome international customers

Four tips for making international customers feel right at home when they visit your ecommerce website.

Thu Feb 18 12:54:00 EST 2016
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It’s no secret that when consumers feel loyal to a brand, they’re more likely to buy the brand’s products. This principle is especially true when it comes to international ecommerce. When international customers visit online retailers’ sites, they want it to feel familiar – language, currency, accepted payment methods all need to make sense. Just like domestic consumers, they want to arrive and believe that your site is designed especially for them.

So how can you roll out a welcome mat for international visitors that drives conversion to become loyal customers? Think locally.

1. Capture country pride. Make sure you’re aware of where visitors are coming from and use country-specific images to greet them on your home page and throughout the site. Graphics and verbiage that champion country pride will help users feel at home with your brand and products.

2. Optimize offers and content. Make sure your site speaks your visitors’ languages. Use as much language-specific content as possible and serve up offers that resonate based on the consumer’s country of origin and their customs. Be mindful of seasons and holidays. You don’t want to push a down coat offer in November to customers in South Africa or conduct a flash sale in China during the Qingming Festival.

3. Overcome international pain points. Typically the three most painful blockers to international ecommerce conversions are shipping, currency and customs. In fact studies have shown that the number-one reason customers abandon their shopping carts is high shipping fees. Overcome these barriers by providing fully-landed costs up front in checkout so there are no surprises at delivery. Mention when prices include duties and VAT, and consider converting customers close to checkout with free two-day shipping.

4. Don’t make them hunt. International customers will have questions so address them proactively. The homepage may be too early to discuss shipping but you can begin the dialogue there about currency exchanges and customs. Product pages are the best place to offer customers location-based shipping benefits that make them more likely to put items in their shopping cart. Include fine print that clearly communicates promotion qualifications, returns, duties and taxes and make it easy to find.

The longer customers have to look the more likely they’ll be to move on.

It’s not just about what you sell. When customers feel comfortable with you as a trusted shopping partner, they hang around, browse, shop and convert. By taking steps to make your international users feel at home, you can keep them coming back for more. 

To learn more about the buying preferences and habits of ecommerce consumers around the world, download the  Pitney Bowes 2016 Global Online Shopping Study.