Brick and mortar businesses can only serve their immediate community. An ecommerce store is open to people all over the world. Naturally, this is great but it can also have some unexpected pitfalls. How do you identify and avoid these issues? What happens when something goes wrong? While you can’t predict everything, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you win at cross-border ecommerce.
Dealing with different countries means dealing with different currencies. Even between Canada and the United States, there needs to be a currency conversion. In areas such as Europe and Asia, there are lots of different countries with their own way of doing things. Managed poorly, this factor can cost you significantly.
The best way to avoid complications in this regard is – first and foremost – make it clear which currency you’re dealing with. Telling shoppers whether your prices are calculated in USD, British pound, Indian Rupees or whatever is vital. Price listings on your site should always carry a currency notation to make this plain and simple for customers. Similarly, your checkout process should note the unit of money in which you require payment as further reinforcement of this factor. Lots of sites have convertors to help customers figure out what their total will be in the currency they’re used to.
Shipping Issues & Quarantines
Some countries are wary of packages coming from the far ends of the earth. This can even vary from state to state within the US. Plants, seeds, and certain food products can sometimes be subjected to quarantine to protect the destination’s ecosystem. There is really no way to avoid this so the best thing to do is advise international customers to check their local laws.
On the other hand, if you’re not selling biological items you probably won’t encounter this particular problem. That being said, there can be other similar issues when shipping internationally. High costs, or packages not making it to their buyers can put a damper on cross-border ecommerce.
Purchasing insurance and double checking information with international customers can help things run smoothly.
Let’s be honest: this can be an issue even in your own country. People may use different words to describe things, or be confused about what they’re looking for. When it comes to selling internationally, language can really muck things up! If you find a specific area of the world is buying your wares in high volumes, hiring a translator can be a good idea. If you’re selling stuff all over the world in equal quantities, simplify the language on your site to make things clearer for the broadest number of people.
Employing more pictures instead of relying upon wordy descriptions can help you reduce the confusion.
A cloud ecommerce platform doing a lot of business internationally will need to make adjustments regardless. You may find yourself offering new items with appeal to a different culture or listing some items in different languages. Make every effort to embrace whatever country has decided to embrace you.
Cross-border ecommerce won’t always be easy. Dealing with different types of currency, new languages, and unfamiliar cultures present a lot of ways for things to go wrong. But it also provides a lot of opportunities for growth and the development of a wider customer base. If you start seeing a preponderance of shoppers from a specific country, do your research and make some moves calculated to help them feel more at home. Look up that country’s quarantine laws and figure out the money conversion. Even the most basic information will make you look like a worldly professional who’s ready for their business.
And, that’s how you win at cross-border ecommerce.