A sneak preview of the TechTalk presentation Flow CEO Rob Keve will give at ShopTalk

With global e-commerce growing at a faster rate than in the U.S, it’s no wonder that domestic brands and retailers look to international expansion as a way to increase revenue and acquire new customers. But this level of opportunity for brands and retailers can’t be fully realized by simply waiting for international consumers to discover your online store. It takes up-front understanding of the needs of customers in each global market and doing everything possible to create a frictionless online experience – on their terms.

Most e-commerce businesses struggle with the complexities of selling their products internationally. They often lack the tools and flexibility they need to sell cross border, and most existing solutions miss the mark. Launching a localized e-commerce store in a target country is anything but a “one size fits all” endeavor. Inventory that sells well in one market may fizzle in another. Even your pricing strategy may need to change depending on which country you’re selling to. And in more mature e-commerce markets, shoppers expect things like standard free shipping, hassle-free returns and the ability to pick up items where they want, when they want.

Here are some of the areas of cross border e-commerce where retailers struggle the most:

    1. Localization. Online shoppers in different global markets have widely varying needs and expectations. For example, in China, the brand name is more important to cross border shoppers than product features, price, or online reviews, according to EcommerceWiki. But in Western European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East, price is the top influencer when making an online purchase. Even within different countries in the EU, motivation for cross border shopping can vary. For example, shoppers in Germany visit cross border e-commerce stores because they’re looking for products that they can’t find in domestic stores. But in Belgium, cross border shoppers are looking for lower prices.
    2. Shipping and delivery. Delivery preferences and expectations will change depending on the  region where you do business. In some markets, such as Brazil, customers are used to waiting longer for their goods to be delivered. Swedish consumers as an example prefer to receive their cross border goods at specified delivery pick-up points as opposed to home delivery. But in the Netherlands, consumers prefer to receive their deliveries to their homes.
    3. Payment preferences. Domestic retailers who simply offer credit and debit card options and only PayPal as a digital payment alternative will be in for a rude awakening when they see global customers walk away from virtual shopping carts. Payment preferences differ strongly by region and in many cases are a deal breaker for cross border sales. Offering the local alternative payment option, such as AliPay in China or bank transfers in Latin America, reduces friction at checkout and shows that your brand is tuned into the local consumer.
    4. Landed cost. It’s all too easy for cross border brands and retailers to become overwhelmed when it comes to calculating country-specific costs such as Value Added Tax (VAT), customs fees or import taxes. Landed cost describes the total cost of getting a physical shipment of products from the seller’s facility in one country to the buyer’s door in another country. Brands and retailers need a reliable way to understand the real-time duty and taxes associated with a purchase to make sure the unit economics work for the business while ensuring they don’t create any unpleasant surprises for the customer later.

Flow’s founders are more aware than many retail tech vendors of the pains of expanding into new markets, because they’ve done it themselves. Their struggles with these four aspects of globalizing an e-commerce brand served as the inspiration to found Flow. Their goal was to build a next-generation engine that removes friction for international customers and powers global growth for ambitious e-commerce businesses.

It’s this approach that attracted global brands like MVMT Watches, MZ Wallace, and Carbon38. The Flow solution automates and simplifies every aspect of the international e-commerce process, at each step of the e-commerce shopping process.

Global innovation and expansion will be the topic of Flow CEO Rob Keve’s upcoming presentation at ShopTalk 2019 on Monday, March 4th at 2:15 p.m. Brands and retailers attending ShopTalk are welcome to attend. Flow would like to hear about your struggles and successes entering new global markets. We’d like to show you how our platform has helped e-commerce customers increase their cross border conversion rates and grow international revenues, quickly and seamlessly.

To schedule a one-on-one demo of Flow’s platform live at ShopTalk, get in touch with us today.