Flow recently conducted a research study surveying global consumers regarding their cross-border shopping expectations and behaviors. Sixty-seven percent of global consumers surveyed said they have made a purchase from a retailer outside their home country. This percentage rate is higher in certain locales such as Brazil (86%), Australia (85%), Canada (83%), and France (79%).  

While cross border e-commerce is on the rise globally, there are still areas of the world where consumers are extremely skeptical about buying from foreign retailers. For example, among respondents who have never made a cross-border purchase, when asked why they never shopped cross-border 28% stated they prefer to shop from a local retailer. This may be a cultural preference among consumers in certain markets, however, when we dig a bit deeper into the responses, we find more concrete reasons for the reluctance to shop cross border.

Poor international check out

Poor international check out

Many of the responses are directly tied to a poor online checkout user experience. For example, 52% of all consumers surveyed said they were somewhat or very unlikely to make a cross border purchase if an e-commerce site wasn’t translated into a language they could understand; 11% cited the lack of preferred payment options as a barrier keeping them from shopping cross border, and 19% said that not understanding what the final tax and duty amount would be when shopping was a major deterrent. Given all of this, it’s no surprise that 21% of respondents surveyed who have never shopped cross border said that they don’t trust cross border retailers enough to make a purchase from them.

Language translation as part of the localized checkout experience is particularly important in regions such as France. Lack of translated language is also a top barrier in countries like Japan, where almost three-fourths of total shoppers surveyed said they were somewhat or very unlikely to make a purchase if the website is not in their local language.

User experience can make or break an online retailer. It’s even more crucial for cross border e-commerce retailers, who must overcome additional hurdles when selling overseas, such as currency conversion, country-specific taxes and duties, and shipping and logistics. On top of this, international retailers are competing with known and trusted domestic brands in each market. To convince shoppers in global markets to take a chance on an unknown brand, it’s important to remove any potential friction points along the way by offering shoppers localized currency display, rounded pricing, cost efficient and timely delivery options, local payment methods, well-defined taxes and duties, and simple returns. The goal is to offer a user experience that rivals and even exceeds that of established retailers in the markets where you compete. Anything less will drive customers away.

When a cross border e-commerce retailer’s checkout experience isn’t properly localized, it sends the wrong impression to potential customers. It tells them, “I haven’t put in the effort to understand your needs.” In such a competitive industry, it’s far too easy for dissatisfied customers to abandon their shopping carts and move on to a competitor that has taken the time to understand them and provide a seamless online user experience.

Find out how you can win more international customers in key global markets. Contact a Flow expert today.