When your company expands its offerings across borders, it’s an undeniably exciting moment – filled with new opportunities and new audiences to win over. Unless you equip yourself with the right tools and practices, this process may hit some snags. Conducting eCommerce between different countries is no longer a rarity; many businesses offer these services, and unless you can deliver a positive customer experience, people may not come back.
We’ve assembled a few cross-border eCommerce best practices to serve as a roadmap for your new adventure. They should help give your efforts direction, allowing you to impress today’s audiences, despite their increasing expectations. Becoming acquainted with these methods can prove helpful as you compete with other outlets in your industry – domestic and overseas.
Crossing national borders means encountering a whole new pool of potential shoppers. Companies should approach these fresh audiences with the same competencies that have made them a hit back home. Considering today’s competitive and fast-moving eCommerce environment, that probably includes the use of accumulated data for targeted marketing (or at least it should).
Customer Think pointed out that companies can harness unified customer data for a host of valuable functions. From creating accurate audience segments to keeping an updated picture of engagement, data is at the root of a lot of modern marketing and outreach programs. The source also pointed out that granular data makes the customer funnel clear – you’ll see which parts of the purchase process are most likely to drive shoppers away.
But what happens when you venture into a new cross-border market? Can you keep up this high standard of analysis? If at all possible, you should ensure you still have control over your data, as well as the messaging programs that go along with the content. When you go international via a third-party site that directs customers away from your page, that data goes to someone else, not you. Information is your friend, and you should hold onto it.
One of the cornerstones of successful marketing and outreach is the customer experience. Today’s shopper is tomorrow’s brand advocate – as long as you deliver a top-notch shopping environment. This applies whether you’re dealing with a customer next door or on the other side of the globe. Of course, impressing overseas eCommerce shoppers may require a few extra steps. When trying to keep satisfaction high, you shouldn’t overlook the power of localization.
A Multichannel Merchant contributor urged leaders to localize every possible element of their websites. This means ensuring that currency converters are in place, the site is compliant with local laws and all the relevant information is available in the dominant language of the region. Selling to the world doesn’t just mean that individuals from a particular country can click through your site; you should make the process easy and welcoming for them.
When your eCommerce site is capable of identifying a buyer’s location automatically based on an IP address and delivering an ideal experience based on that data, you’re one step ahead of the game when it comes to delivering a positive experience. Just think about the process of recommending a business to a friend or family member – are you likely to pass on information about a site that was confusing to use, or mostly in a language you don’t speak? Localizing your site is a way to become inviting to international clientele, a vital step in breaking into new markets.
Your choice of eCommerce platform will likely play a large role in determining your readiness for cross-border commerce, along with all the outreach that comes along with it. Does your tool of choice integrate seamlessly with your existing applications? Can it deliver localization features your audience will appreciate? Can you use it to create a customer experience you’ll be proud of? These are the questions you should ask before inking an agreement.
The world of online commerce is wide open, but the competition is fierce. With the right technology under the hood, your company will be ready to take on a region’s local sellers as well as your cross-border rivals.