Three qualities missing from your cross-border ecommerce strategy
By Jon Kapplow, SVP Consumer & Merchant Solutions, Pitney Bowes
How do you find and sell to cross-border consumers?
Expert tips from Pitney Bowes.
A good cross-border consumer journey involves one where a consumer is drawn to a retailer’s site and is greeted in a localised fashion, from language to currency. The site is compliant with local laws and regulations and consumers can transact with any local payment option. In the background, a complex sequence of logistical events takes place to ensure that an order is shipped accurately and swiftly. Moreover, if issues arise, global consumers expect customer service in their local time, and local language.
To put it another way, there are six key steps to the customer journey: Consumer awareness. Website localisation. Compliance and taxation. Payments and fraud. Logistics. Customer service. To succeed in cross-border ecommerce, you need to be good at all of these steps. For many retailers, that’s just not the case.
There are solutions that retailers can find to plug technology gaps like logistics, compliance or payments but not many vendors solve for building global consumer awareness and funnel optimisation that ultimately leads to a sale.
As a result, retailers need to think about the top of the funnel, globally.
How do you fill the gap and improve your demand gen approach? You have to address three key qualities missing from most cross-border retail strategies.
Cross-border success starts with simply knowing your new market, something many retailers struggle with. Though cross-border shopping is a growing phenomenon, most shoppers still buy domestically. The 2016 Pitney Bowes Online Shopping survey found 94 percent of shoppers made a domestic online purchase within the last year, compared to 66 percent for cross-border purchases.
As a result, most retailers remain hyper-focused on domestic sales, spending less time and effort learning about international markets. That will need to change if retailers want to take advantage of a prime opportunity to attract global buyers. Carrier DHL predicts cross-border shopping will grow from 15 percent of the overall ecommerce market in 2015 to 22 percent by 2020.
How do you acquire that knowledge in a hurry? The right cross-border partner can help, by giving you access to knowledge gleaned from billions of dollars of cross-border transactions. With that insight, you can find out which of your products will sell best in each market, and why.
To attract customers, you have to reach them. However, to reach them, you have to know who they are, where they are, and what they want to hear. That’s a daunting barrier for any retailer that’s never sold in a new target market before.
Often times, it’s a slow march to brand awareness for many cross-border retailers. It could mean opening an online shop in a trusted marketplace, or, launching localised marketing that speaks to the reasons why a foreign shopper would want to buy from you; factors like quality, selection, or authenticity.
It also helps, again, if you’re working with a cross-border retail partner that already plays in that market and has access to these customers. With the right partner and platform, you could start immediately marketing to millions of consumers building awareness and generating demand.
Cross-border challenges often come down to a lack of resources. That could mean a lack of in-market data to know how to go-to-market. On the other hand, it might mean a lack of IT manpower to build fully localised websites, or to make use of shoppers’ preferred channels and payment platforms.
It’s an obstacle, but not an impassable one. The right ecommerce partner can provide support at every stage of the journey, from delivering impactful global consumer insights, to building your new cross-border website to handling shipping and delivery, and enhancing the customer experience through shopping tools, like express checkout.
Remember that it’s one thing to enable a cross-border transaction. It’s another thing to actually attract and convince a shopper to buy. The right partner can help you manage that complete journey, from start to finish.
Learn about Complete™ Cross-Border from Pitney Bowes, the scalable end-to-end global ecommerce solution that can handle all facets of enterprise retail cross-border expansion.
You can also download the full 2016 Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study report to learn more about the buying preferences of global buyers.
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