3 Tips to Delight Cross-Border Shoppers This Holiday Season
A recent study reveals that consumers are more willing than ever to shop internationally. Flow Commerce’s research of the top eight global markets (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, U.K., and the U.S.) found that three out of four online consumers (76 percent) have shopped on websites outside their home countries, up from 69 percent in 2019. Interest in cross-border shopping continues to grow, making it an excellent time for companies to initiate or expand their global e-commerce strategies.
The 2021 holiday season will break e-commerce records at an estimated $215.45 billion in sales. Post-pandemic reopenings mean brick-and-mortar visits are now possible, yet Flow’s research reveals that more than one-third of consumers expect to increase their online shopping in the future. Global retailers hoping to attract and retain new customers this holiday season must provide frictionless shopping experiences to consumers in all markets and geographies.
Overcome Barriers to Cross-Border Commerce
More than half of consumers (51 percent) report expensive shipping costs or slow delivery as the top barrier to shopping cross-border. Cost is especially significant because 67 percent of global consumers who shop abroad do so because prices are lower than in their home country. In addition to expensive shipping costs, international customers weigh the value of delivery time, especially during the holidays. Mega e-tailers have conditioned shoppers to expect fast, free shipping. Tax and duty combined with shipping and handling fees can create sticker shock and derail sales, especially if the items take more than a few days to arrive. Address these pain points and watch your cross-border holiday sales grow.
Tip 1: Optimize shipping times.
Worldwide supply chain issues promise delays this holiday season, making it crucial to communicate shipping windows for desired delivery dates. Avoid customer disappointment and negative reviews with precise cut-off dates to guarantee timely arrival. Business interruptions like shortages often occur without warning, so invest in an e-commerce platform that supports fast, cost-effective shipping methods. Hub-dependent shipping can increase costs and cause additional delays. Look for a solution that offers hub-less shipping and has a diverse network of carriers. Optimize shipping by region for the fastest times and delight your customers with on-time holiday delivery.
Tip 2: Localize pricing and payments.
Offer a seamless experience for shoppers regardless of location. For example, be sure to configure and display pricing in the local currency and round the prices to meet local consumer preferences. Flow’s research shows that cross-border customers want to see clear, accurate tax and duty displayed even when the price includes these fees. Be sure to offer local and alternative payment methods so shoppers can complete their purchases using their preferred payment method. Customizing your shopper’s experience in these ways will reduce abandonment rates and increase sales.
Tip 3: Always optimize.
More than just configuring the customer experience, retailers should leverage A/B testing to optimize campaigns on the fly according to consumer feedback. This can provide immediate improved results and increased holiday sales. Be sure to test variables across the entire customer journey, from price rounding and duty and tax display to available payments and shipping options.
Addressing the challenges facing cross-border shoppers this holiday season is the path to creating customer loyalty in the global market. Paying attention to the behind-the-scenes details and implementing customer-facing features like sitewide localization, clear taxes and duties, local payments, direct international shipping, and simple returns will significantly increase your cross-border sales year-round. Give shoppers what they want this season with low shipping costs and fast delivery, and you’ll all have a memorable holiday.
Rob Keve is the co-founder and CEO of Flow Commerce, a global cross-border e-commerce platform that enables brands and retailers to sell their products to customers internationally by creating a localized shopping experience.
Related story: 5 Ways Technology Can Solve Cross-Border E-Commerce Barriers for Retailers
Rob Keve is the co-founder and CEO of Flow Commerce, a global cross-border e-commerce platform that enables brands and retailers to sell their products to customers internationally by creating a localized shopping experience. For more information, visit www.flow.io/.