How were your holidays? If you’re a retailer, you are probably recovering from one of the busiest periods of the year. Shoppers reached to their laptops or, increasingly, to their smartphones and (hopefully) found that perfect gift from your business -- something unique, exclusive or exotic perhaps, or maybe just an irresistible bargain.
For consumers, buying abroad is a great way to find an ideal present, and online shoppers are doing this more and more. Last year, according to Ecommerce Europe, 1 in 7 online EU purchases came from sellers in other countries, and that figure is growing rapidly.
For sellers, the holiday season is a great time to build cross-border sales, but there are plenty of other opportunities too. In fact, tapping into other countries’ celebrations can help you with increased sales all year round-- attracting new customers and enjoying incremental revenue. Here are three ways to develop your cross-border business.
1. Research local holidays and celebrations
Christmas is huge, but there are other national or cultural celebrations that make great retail opportunities: Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, or Singles Day.
There are also many events that drive sales in different countries but are not so well known outside their borders. For example, China’s Golden Week holiday in October is actually a bigger gift-giving occasion than New Year. Back to School is a big event in the US that drives sales of educational supplies from pens and pencils to big-ticket technology.
Also worth remembering: as the summer vacation season is ending in Europe, it’s just beginning in the southern hemisphere. Many retailers successfully sell beachwear, hiking gear, and other goods in Australia and New Zealand during Europe’s “off season.”
Our parent company, PayPal, lists key dates and gift-giving customs on their PassPort site. It’s a great resource for identifying overseas opportunities that align with your business.
2. Give a great user experience
A great user experience is always important in ecommerce, but it’s even more vital for cross-border sales where shoppers are more cautious and cart abandonment rates are higher. Make the buying and checkout experience as smooth as possible.
For example, a recent study by IPSOS for PayPal found that 73% of shoppers prefer to pay in their home currency. Offering PayPal in your checkout flow is another way to make the payment process smoother. We’ve often seen that the familiar logo on an unfamiliar site can increase customer confidence and merchant sales.
Braintree offers merchants the ability to accept over 130 currencies as well as PayPal with just the single integration of our v.zero payment SDK.
3. Be clear, open, and helpful
Shipping mistakes and unexpected charges top shoppers’ concerns about cross-border purchases. Help them out with clear guidance on shipping costs (the top blocker for nearly half of shoppers), customs duties, or other fees.
Here are some other important questions to answer for potential customers: How easily can they track the shipping of their purchases? How will you handle returns? Where can they call if there’s a problem? Make these things easy to find and simple to understand and it will build the trust and credibility that’s essential for international sales.
Celebrate sales all year long
Cross-border selling is growing fast, and, with a little research, you should be able to take advantage of global retail opportunities, improved user experience, and clarity around costs. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes; imagine what will attract them and eliminate the blockers.
And, of course, if you have any questions, comment below, give us a call (+44-207-1220917), or send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).