The Fate of Your Cross-Border Customer Could Hinge on Shipping

Shipping matters. A lot.

Across the world, the high cost of shipping is one of the top reasons for cart abandonment. In a recent global study by UPS, three of the top four reasons for leaving a site without clicking “pay” had to do with shipping. (The only reason that didn’t was “not ready to purchase.”) “Shipping costs made the total purchase cost more than expected” was the top reason for leaving a shopping cart in the U.S., Europe, and Brazil, according to more than 57% of those surveyed. (See chart.)

And the number one reason for repeat purchases? Lowest shipping costs or free shipping, says a study by Forrester Research.

In the Forrester study, 57% or more of online consumers surveyed in France (59%), Germany (57%), and the UK (57%) listed “lowest cost or free shipping” as the main reason to buy again from a retailer. The study also concluded that customer satisfaction in shipping and delivery—including satisfaction with speed, cost, number of options, and convenience—has a direct impact on sales revenue, repeat purchases, order size, and customer lifetime value.

So let me say it again: shipping matters big time to online consumers. And it matters even more to cross-border customers, because, most likely, shipping cost is a higher percentage of product cost for them than for domestic shoppers.

No surprises – DDP and fully landed cost visibility enhances the customer experience

As the Forrester study points out, the key metric is customer satisfaction. The first step to satisfying your international customer is to eliminate nasty surprises. Shipping your goods delivery duty unpaid (DDU), in which cross-border shoppers pay duties and taxes after ordering but before the shipment can be delivered, gives you less control over their shopping experience. Not only do your consumers have an extra step in their purchase process, they could easily face unpredictable costs and delays that are out of your control.

Cross-border shoppers want to see the fully landed cost of their order—including any shipping and handling, customs duties and taxes, or other fees—as soon as possible in the product selection process, and definitely before they click “pay” at checkout. So shipping delivery duty paid (DDP) is key. DDP terms allow retailers to control the customer experience and give customers upfront transparency as to what they will ultimately be charged.

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