If your brand is struggling with a low conversion rate on your cross-border ecommerce site, you aren’t alone. Many of the world’s leading brands have issues with converting global online shoppers and are looking for ways to improve their conversation rate.
In our experience, improving international ecommerce conversion is a matter of identifying the underlying cause. To overcome a low ecommerce conversion rate, we have devised three simple tactics for brands to consider.
1. Think about pricing
Online shoppers are typically well-aware that there are additional fees when they shop with international brands, so it is important they can see the total cost straight away – including shipping, insurance (if required), customs duties and any taxes. However, implementing and displaying a fully landed cost is not simple. In fact, import duties, taxes and compliance are some of the most common issues brands cite as significantly challenging aspects of implementing a global ecommerce strategy.
Some countries are more open to cross-border trade and offer flat fees or rules for calculating customs and duties, while others have much more complex sets of rules. When cross-border shoppers pay duties and taxes before delivery [“deliver duty unpaid” (DDU)], brands have less visibility over the shopping experience. Not only is this an extra step in a shopper’s purchase process, but a DDU model can lead to unpredictable costs and delays that are out of a brand’s control. A shopper that experiences this inferior service is less likely to make a repeat purchase, or even checkout in the first place – 60% of shoppers will abandon the checkout because of extra unexpected costs such as taxes and other fees.
How prices are displayed can also affect conversion or make shoppers leave the site early in the shopping journey. Prices should be clearly denominated, i.e., $USD, $CAD, or $AUD. Shoppers who see a $ sign on a US retailer’s website will automatically assume it is $USD unless told otherwise, and may leave the site as a result. They don’t want to bother with conversions, so it’s important they know it’s not necessary because the currency is already converted. Additionally, in some countries, shoppers prefer to see a single, all-inclusive price, whereas in others they prefer to see charges and fees as line items in the checkout.
2. Streamline the checkout
International online shoppers want a fast, seamless checkout experience with as few steps as possible; the less information they need to enter, the better, and the fewer abandoned carts the brand will have. A report published by Forrester found that 11% of U.S. adults abandoned an online purchase because they either didn’t want to register or the site was asking for too much information.
A great checkout should use the shopper’s language, and display the full cost of the purchase in the shopper’s currency – all duties and taxes included. The shopper must then be able to complete their purchase with the payment method of their choice. A frictionless checkout must eliminate anything that isn’t relevant or makes the process difficult, thus negatively impacting the shopper’s experience and affecting conversion.
3. Localize payment methods
Payments are an especially crucial part of a great cross-border shopping experience because the main goal is for shoppers to complete the final step in the checkout. But for many brands, this is where they notice a drop off in shoppers – and payment methods could be to blame.
On a domestic site, shoppers are used to seeing familiar payment methods they trust, so they expect the same convenience on an international site. If their favorite payment method is not offered in the checkout, 50% of online shoppers said they would cancel their purchase and 40% said they would feel more comfortable purchasing from an online merchant who offers multiple payment gateways.
Offering credit card, debit card and PayPal as payments options will secure significant coverage in many (particularly Western) countries, but to really maximize conversion across many markets, other payment methods need to be added to the mix. In Germany, for instance, most consumers prefer to pay by bank transfer or direct debit. In Russia, cash on demand is still very common, whereas in China, online consumers primarily use AliPay. In the Netherlands, if you are not offering iDeal, you are missing out on 70% of the market. But offering multiple additional payment methods is not always the best solution. Many shoppers have access to multiple payment options, so offering one can be detrimental to another. Offering more methods leads to an increase in market coverage, but often at the expense of market gain (more sales) – not to mention the additional cost and complexity. Not only that, but a specific method might be good for conversion, but terrible for managing refunds.
Therefore having the correct blend of payment methods, based on the target market, shopper profile and what a retailer sells (along with returns and refunds) will prove the most effective approach to local payments. Another element of payments infrastructure that is often overlooked is local acquiring, yet it is vital for retailers who wish to reduce the number of “do not honor” instructions issued by an international acquirer. Working with local acquirers will lead to less foreign payments being flagged due to the international acquirer being unfamiliar with a local card, and can boost ‘conversion’ by up to 60%.