Selling internationally is not always easy, even for some of the world’s biggest brands.
There are several global brands who are not optimizing their cross-border experience for each shopper, regardless of country, and are instead providing a one-size-fits-all approach. This is likely leading to lost sales and frustrated shoppers who have high expectations of shopping with international retailers. Brands need to carefully craft a cross-border ecommerce strategy that allows shoppers to buy seamlessly no matter where they are, and as easily as shopping domestically.
So what are the mistakes brands are making when they sell cross-border? And how can they ensure they are providing a great cross-border experience?
1. Lack of localization on landing page
Shoppers should feel right at home when they land on a brand’s website, therefore a lack of localization from the outset may cause them to bounce off the page. Instead, retailers should show shoppers their country flag on a welcome mat, auto display local currencies, display fully landed costs and promotions, plus provide language options.
The landing page (whether it’s the home page or another entry point such as a sale page) is a prime location to introduce a welcome mat that builds shopper trust by showing them how their experience will be tailored.
2. No free delivery option
International shoppers demand parcels from foreign retailers almost as quickly as domestic deliveries. Therefore, fast shipping with door to door tracking is an important conversion driver for international shoppers – however many retailers are only offering this, and no free, albeit slower, option. The argument that it is unfeasible to offer free international shipping is unfortunately no longer a valid excuse, as the market continues to become more and more competitive, and retailers must do whatever it takes to engage shoppers.
There are some cost-effective ways to offer free standard shipping without affecting a brand’s bottom line. Firstly, free shipping can be embedded into the product price. For example, £110 for merchandise with free shipping will convert better than £100 for merchandise with £10 shipping. Alternatively, free standard shipping can be offered over a nominated basket threshold, with an additional cost for express.
3. Poor returns policy
Returns are a sore point for many retailers, however that should not equate to a poor returns policy for international shoppers. However, there are still some retailers who are charging for international returns or making shoppers wait an excessive amount of time to receive a refund.
For a really great experience, shoppers should be able to return items to a local returns center using a prepaid label, and ideally should be able to receive a full refund including any duties and taxes they have paid. A great returns policy should also be easy to find and understand.
With more than 40% of cross-border shoppers citing returns as a reason to abandon their purchase, providing an easy, transparent returns policy will massively influence a shopper’s decision to ‘buy now’.