eCommerce Worldwide hosted the eCommerce Worldwide Cross-Border Summit at the ILEC in West London.
This event featured a packed schedule of expert speakers debating and providing best practice on making successful overseas market entries.
Topics covered included considerations around localisation, existing infrastructure, differences in customer behaviour across regions, commonly used payment methods, reducing exposure to risk and management of supply chain operations.
Here are 9 things we learnt about cross-border:
- UK cross-border strategies have been largely EU-focused to date – this is perhaps to be expected due to the shorter distances involved, though it does mean that the rest-of-world potential is yet to be realised
- Zonal pricing needs to be rounded up appropriately – performing straightforward foreign exchange price conversions can produce the kind of figure (ie $43.26) that looks odd to shoppers and can put them off completing a purchase
- Uncertainty around returns is biggest barrier to cross-border – this is common across all regions; if the returns process is not simple and clear it represents a major issue for potential customers
- Cross-border opportunities need to be rationalised – entering single or multiple markets can provide clear short- and medium-term boosts to sales, but things can change quickly; if local competition suddenly becomes stronger for example it can be very disruptive to your strategy
- Localisation has its limits – while some elements of your offer, such as providing popular payment methods, need to be localised for each specific country it is possible to over-localise; some cultures like to shop with British retailers so maintaining a feel of Britishness can be a good thing
- Test, test and test again – launching in a cross-border market can require significant investment so trialling on a small scale in advance can produce useful learnings; there are 200,000 Chinese in the UK for example, so targeting them before officially entering the actual Chinese market itself could prove a valuable exercise
- Delivery expectation varies by country – while shoppers in the UK are happy to use a mix of delivery options, in Sweden home delivery is very rare; 98% choose to collect from a pick-up / drop-off PUDO point
- Fraud risks aren’t the same everywhere – some countries have weaker authentication and verification services, and may have different attitudes to online security
- Content may be repurposed for global use – though in order to have maximum effect it will need to be adjusted in line with what shoppers respond to in that specific country, and keep local iterations in mind; seasons vary in different regions and retail events (such as Father’s Day) can fall on different days