Understanding Consumer Shopping Behaviors Ensures Smooth Market Entry for Cross-Border E-commerce Merchants

May 20, 2020

Creating a localized experience for customers in each global market where you sell is important. Equally important is understanding how consumers shop for products online and what factors matter most to them in their buying decision. Flow's new research breaks it down by market.

The state of e-commerce changes quickly and has become more challenging for retailers in the midst of the current global crisis. Global supply chains have been upended. Consumers around the globe are turning to the internet to buy their goods. Before the world economy was disrupted, cross-border e-commerce merchants already faced difficulties in keeping pace with technological innovation and consumer expectations. Now, that challenge is even greater.

In a time filled with uncertainty about when and how we will return to normal, there is one thing that remains the same for cross-border e-commerce retailers. Understanding the needs and preferences of your global customers must drive every decision you make for your e-commerce business. Consumer preferences for merchandise presentation, pricing, local currency and payment options, and the cost and lead times for shipping can all vary around the world. And it's up to you, the retailer, to know what your customers expect from their online experience.

To help educate online retailers, Flow has just released a comprehensive report that examines both the supply and demand side of e-commerce in the Top 11 global markets. "E-commerce Shopping Behaviors: Key Factors Impacting Conversion" examines all aspects of the cross-border e-commerce experience to establish “best practices” in each market.

How did we conduct this research? First, we assessed the current landscape of the most popular e-commerce websites from both the supply-side and demand-side perspective for the Top 11 markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, U.K., and the U.S. Then, we conducted an in-depth survey of 44 questions related to consumer attitudes and behaviors toward e-commerce sites. The sample group was defined as ages 18-54 who had shopped for apparel online in the past year. Each of the 11 global markets we surveyed had a total of 385 respondents. Survey questions covered 4 major areas:

  • Cross-border shopping behavior (e.g. categories, barriers, expectations, etc .)
  • General shopping behavior (e.g. apparel shopping, promotions used, etc .)
  • Customer service and shipping (e.g. delivery windows, free shipping, out-of-stock handling, etc.)
  • Retail website user experience and checkout preferences (e.g. product description page, currency display, payment, navigation, etc.)

While the data in this report was gathered and compiled just prior to the escalating health crisis, we at Flow believe that there are valuable insights to share with our customers. Many of the learnings from the report can still be applied to your cross-border e-commerce retail operations.

We believe that the information contained in this report is not only still relevant but also more critical than ever for retailers investing in their e-commerce presence. The findings of our new report can also provide a strong benchmark on which to measure and assess future shifts in online shopping behaviors after we emerge from this current pandemic period.

Some of the things we learned throughout this research project include:

  • The importance for consumers to be able to filter searches of an online store by brand, color, and price range
  • Which global markets care the most about price, product ratings, and 360-degree product views
  • Which channels drive the most traffic to retail sites
  • Which global markets prefer more detailed product information before they buy
  • Which markets respond best to special promotional deals

We hope you find this data helpful, understanding that it represents a snapshot of the online landscape before the current market disruptions that we will continue to monitor as the retail and e-commerce landscape evolves.

Download your free copy of our latest report today. For more information about how to prepare your online store for global expansion, get in touch with a Flow expert.