DHL helps retailers understand the international e-commerce journey
If you are looking to scale your e-commerce business then you need to be thinking about selling internationally, and it has never been easier for online businesses to open their (digital) store doors to the world. Recent research found that 57% of online shoppers made at least one purchase from a company based in another country, and this year cross-border e-commerce is set to take a 22% share of total e-commerce sales worldwide. Before you place a big ‘We ship internationally’ banner on your website, it’s important to understand some common pitfalls and how to overcome them.
Selling on the wrong platform
Just as choosing the right location is critical for a bricks and mortar store, so is selecting the best international e-commerce platform for your developing business. An older legacy system may struggle to cope with multiple currencies, require more and more thirdparty apps to provide basic functions, or be incapable of working with advanced technologies like chatbots or artificial intelligence. What can you do? The e-commerce platform market is a crowded one, and Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce and WooCommerce are just some of the players. Write a list of the ‘must-have’ features for your e-commerce platform – such as customization, flexibility, scalability and price – to help you filter the ones most suitable for your needs. It may also make sense to consider an online marketplace, though be wary of the fees these platforms charge.
Choosing the wrong markets
There are over 220 countries to choose from, but not all will be right for your business. Rushing ahead and expanding too quickly could be a costly mistake. What can you do? Research, research, research. Find out the leading e-commerce product categories in the country you’d like to sell to (not hard with Google). Look at some of the biggest online retailers in the country too. What are they selling, and at what price point, and how do they market themselves on social media. You should also check out some of your competitors and what countries they sell to. After all, if they’re selling there, it’s because there is demand.
Not offering the right payment methods
Online shoppers are 70% more likely to finalise a purchase if their preferred payment method is displayed as an option at checkout. That preferred method will vary from country to country, and there are ‘buy now, pay later’ options, digital wallets, and even payment via messenger apps to consider. What can you do? Find out which international payment methods are the most popular in your target countries. Look into partnering with a secure international payment gateway that supports multiple-currency transactions. Display all your prices on your website in the local currency and allow customers to pay in their currency too.
Not shipping quickly enough
According to Statista, two-thirds of global consumers believe that when buying from a cross-border business, their purchases will arrive later than promised. What you can do? As global logistics experts, DHL Express can help you get your goods where they need to be – and fast. Our international shipment services include a time-critical option which guarantees delivery before 9:00/10:30/12:00 on the next business day (available in selected markets). And, with us, you can offer your customers full tracking and notifications so they can see the status of their shipment, right up to the moment a friendly DHL courier delivers it to their door. Peace of mind for them, extra brownie points for your business.
As an extra tip, ensure you are transparent and upfront about international shipping costs throughout your e-commerce website. Customers don’t like being surprised with extra fees at checkout. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons for cart abandonment.