International e-commerce is a fast-growing business venture for companies based in the United States and beyond. Online U.S. retailers made $455 billion in 2017, growing at an annual rate of 15.2%. These trends are similar throughout the world:
- By 2019, Canadians will spend $50 billion on e-commerce transactions per year.
- Over 87% of British residents made e-commerce purchases online.
- The e-commerce industry in Australia is projected to grow 29% per year through 2020.
- In 2017, consumers from China spent over $1 trillion online.
If you want your business to grow in this digital world, you need to invest in global e-commerce. However, selling and shipping products internationally can be a major challenge – from tariffs and duties to localized pricing and local payment methods, there are several aspects of global selling you need to keep track of and consider carefully.
Many brands battle with the operations and logistics of cross-border selling, which can have an adverse effect on the customer experience for global shoppers. If not correctly put in place, cross-border execution can quickly result in a poor customer experience and lower conversion rates at the risk of spiraling costs. Displaying localized pricing, correctly calculating taxes and duties, and executing a solid global shipping and logistics plan alongside a strategic investment in technology to automate and simplify the operation can help your business cash in on this lucrative and fast-growing activity.
Understanding local pricing and pricing display
We know that shoppers in many markets are price sensitive and often they compare prices across websites. Most importantly, they want to be able to see product prices displayed in their local currency. This allows them to understand how much they are paying and saves them the time and burden of having to calculate with exchange rates. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that displaying the local currency to a customer in a foreign market will instill trust in your brand and increase their comfort for transacting with your brand.
Sometimes the currency exchange presents a price that might not be attractive to the customer. It’s important to think about rounding the ends of the prices to a number that the customer in that market is used to, such as .99 or .95 or another number.
Also, should currency value fluctuate during the time when the they place the order and when they are actually charged, customers will want to know that the amount they agreed to at the point of sale will be honored. Keep these factors in mind as you plan out your pricing strategy for each of the markets you are looking to enter.
Get a firm grasp on international shipping and logistics
There are multiple shipping couriers and scheduling options you can choose from for your international shipments. These couriers range in price and shipping time. Each shipping option has different size and weight regulations as well as pick-up times. Make sure to research these options in the source country as well as the delivery country to make sure you’re able to offer your customers shipping options that fit their needs. Keep in mind that the right partner can help streamline the shipping process and make it easier to offer all the options your international customers would expect.
Although international shipping costs can sometimes be higher, you may have customers who will want cheaper or a free shipping options. Provide your buyers with multiple shipping options so they can pay a higher price for faster shipment, or include a more cost-effective tier with a slower delivery. Letting your consumers know how long each option will take will allow you to avoid customer complaints and other customer service headaches. The key component is to offer multiple shipping options that can allow customers to option to maximize speed and minimize cost.
Handling Duties and Taxes
International taxes and tariffs can cause surprise charges for customers and is often a challenge for e-commerce companies, especially since taxes and duties vary based on the ship-to country. For shoppers, they don’t want to get bogged down looking up import codes or trying to guess the amount they will have to pay for taxes and duties on their order. More often than not, because of the difficulty in calculating and managing these taxes across multiple markets, many retailers don’t provide the information on duty and tax for each locale. Some retailers may only offer an estimate, which is also not very helpful for the customer since it still puts the burden on them to make those tariff calculations. Offering the information upfront to the customer is critical for boosting conversion. There are several ways to go about this.
For some markets, you may prefer to display duties and taxes on the product detail page next to the product price. In other locales, the customer preference may be to have duties and taxes included in the product price or to have those costs broken out as separate line items in the shopping cart. Researching and testing how customers respond to the display of duties and taxes is important for increasing conversion on your site and maximizing sales in your global markets. Make sure to find a technology solution that can provide the flexibility to a/b test displays of duties and taxes so you can optimize your global experiences for customers.
Power Your Global Growth With The Right Software
Global e-commerce can be tricky to navigate without the right tools and resources. Instead of constantly searching for updated duty costs or conversion rates, choose an international e-commerce software to do it for you.
The right global e-commerce software will enable businesses to:
- Hyper-localize the shopping experience for online consumers throughout your website, updating displays, payments, catalogs, and more based on user location.
- Calculate duties, taxes, and restrictions in real-time.
- Find low-cost shipping options with policy management and full pricing control.
- Integrate customer service management into your site, allowing you to keep control over your data.
- Automatically calculate conversion rates and list payment options by region.