The widespread deployment of internet infrastructure has enabled more consumers to shop from online merchants in other countries. As more international consumers gain access to the internet and mobile devices, the opportunity for cross border e-commerce will continue to grow. Case in point: according to our recent research report, 67% of online apparel shoppers in the 11 top markets have made a purchase cross border.
At the same time, technology is making it easier for direct-to-consumer brands and retailers to expand internationally. By using software that enables brands to build a cross-border e-commerce presence, they can access new markets at their own pace. Because each e-commerce market has its own unique characteristics such as currency display, payment options, tax and duty implications, logistics and returns, brands often rely on technology partners to help manage it all.
Still, there are numerous steps a retailer must take to prepare for new market entry. What kind of product mix is optimal? What types of alternative payments are popular in this market? How will returns be handled?
Entering global markets requires careful planning and relentless attention to detail. It also demands that brands and retailers bring their “A” game to the international customer experience. The ultimate goal in creating a localized presence in a target market should be simplicity from the customer’s point of view. A brand’s e-commerce store should never require customers to jump through additional hoops when trying to make a purchase. Clunky checkout interfaces, the wrong or incomplete mix of payment options, or unclear display of accurately-calculated taxes and duties will stop a transaction in its tracks. Today’s global consumers have too many alternatives where they can make a purchase and build brand loyalty. They won’t settle for a poor or confusing online shipping experience. And that includes any post-sale surprises such as unexpected taxes and duties the customer must pay upon delivery.
Flow’s technology is revolutionizing how cross-border merchants go global. Because our e-commerce platform’s components are available as stand-alone modules, our customers have the power to choose solutions based on where they need the most support in a given market. Brands and retailers with the power to launch hyper-localized e-commerce sites can provide a unified shopping experience, with local pricing displays, tax and duty calculation formats, preferred payments, country-specific product catalogs, and more.