Consumers are the real king in the world of cross-border commerce. They possess the power of choice. They have the freedom to choose whether to shop online directly from a retail website or from the online marketplace. They have the right to choose their preference over the multiple online channels. As per latest research, the phenomenon of “Online Local. In-store Global” is one of the driving elements of cross-border commerce. Many shoppers while traveling abroad often discover the brands and visit their offline stores. Later, they continue to purchase products from the brand store online.
Let us understand why it is essential to implement the omnichannel strategy for cross-border commerce.
Getting the payment options right
The payment options for online shopping vary from country to country. There is no widely accepted payment option used by a majority of the cross-border shoppers. It is very crucial to choose the payment options. This increases the chances of increasing significant number of online consumers. There are important factors the online shoppers and merchants should consider while selecting the payment options. Some factors are
Value of purchase
The total cost of purchase
Purchase protection plan
As per a survey, credit cards were the most preferred mode of payment. Second to the list were the E-wallets that allow the consumers to store and access multiple payment options at one go.
Direct sales vs online marketplaces
Nearly, half of the consumers trust shopping through online marketplaces. They do most of their online shopping through marketplaces – be it local or cross-border. In top countries like Japan, China, Germany, and India, the shoppers make their most of the purchases with the cross-border marketplaces. As per reports, 75% of the global shoppers purchase their favorite brands and products from the retailer’s direct site.
While in some countries like Australia and Canada, the trend is direct-to-retail sales. Thus, the online retailers need to consider a broader approach to increasing their online market presence. For this, they have to accept multiple channels to reach a large number of global shoppers and increase their sales.
Huge Interest in cross-border commerce
The research suggests that cross-border commerce prevails to be the first choice among the consumers globally. Consumers often make about 95% of their domestic purchases online. However, more than 66% of the consumers have also contributed to the cross-border purchases. Countries that have the highest number of cross-border shoppers are Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. While there are still some countries like Japan and U.S. which are evolving and making their online presence stronger in the cross-border commerce.
Shipping and returns
Online shipping and returns are a major concern for both merchants and the consumers. There are certain elements that merchants always face challenges. They are
Shipping the right products
Order tracking and delivery
Transparent return policy
Proper custom duty and taxes
This issue becomes a more challenging task during the holiday season as most of the consumers opt for online and cross-border shopping. As per reports, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and China are among those countries with a large number of consumers opting for cross-border purchases. During holiday seasons, the consumer rush is more and thus the merchants and retailers experience a lot of challenges. There are constant efforts to bring improvements in giving the consumers a seamless shopping experience.
In order to grow the online presence in the cross-border market and strategize the omnichannel approach, consider the following steps:
Integrate your findings
Segment your audience
Know your customers
Prioritize the online channels and the devices
Focus on customer support
Measure your efforts.
Create a premium customer experience
Every cross-border marketer should engage the audience in a value-driven way to empower the cross-channel integrations. Thus, to provide a seamless and better customer experience, it is necessary to give your customers the first priority. Additionally, it is essential to analyze the sales in the marketplace and choose the right payment options. This increases your brand awareness and loyalty in the omnichannel cross-border market.
Never in the history of the international commerce, trade has taken such a commendable leap in the sales and profits. This boosts the job opportunities, enhances the company’s prestige and offers a beneficial way for the businesses to expand. This also provides the businesses tonnes of opportunities and global exposure on a global platform. Whether it is a large scale business or an emerging startup aiming to go global, there is always a constant challenge to survive in this evolving market. However, there are certain factors that the businesses going international should take into consideration.
Prior to kicking off these factors, always consider key points:
Consumers: How can brands connect with intended consumer’s life?
Product: What value will the product add to their lifestyle?
Technology: Are you making the right choices in terms of technology?
Location: Are you making the right selection in the countries with the right set of investment?
So, before you embark on the journey of entering the cross-border trades, always consider these factors.
Conduct proper market research
Market research is an effective tool for identifying and exploring the best market that fits your product. Look at investing maximum time into a market evaluation. This gives you sufficient data and market insights while strategizing your go-to-market plans.
Define your business plan for entering the global markets.
Discussing, strategizing and planning is essential in order to define the business status, commitments and goals. This helps to enter the competitive global market and understand the strategies of your rivals. Determine which localized marketplaces you want to enter in. For instance, B2C, C2C or O2O fashion.
Choose the best product to hit the international markets
This is the most crucial factor in your company’s future depends on it. Choose your product or service diligently and wisely. Consider all the pros and cons of the product and its market analysis. Once done, plan and go for it.
Find cross-border customers.
First thing first. Without targeting your base customers you cannot proceed further. You should know who your customers will be. To start a business overseas, it is crucial to know them and where they reside.
Understand the consumer’s behaviour
A consumer rules the market. It is quite necessary to keep a track on their moves. If your target audience is youth, understand the trends and make investments accordingly. For instance, if the target is a 20-year old crowd, then in the U.S., merchants prefer more of Amazon than other eCommerce plans. But in China, it would not be the same. You might have to invest in a WeChat store or TMall.
Determine the investments for international expansion
Determine how much investment could you make? Strategize upon the ROI and the profit margins. Leverage all your market and data insights and analytics to make the right business investments in various international markets.
Do data analysis to predict how your product sale
Perform precise analysis of product sales as per specific geographic location. Understand the product rates and demands in the local markets of the countries. Decide how many units you would want to sell in a particular geographic location.
Build a website for a global purpose
Develop a website that has multilingual support. This helps to attract international customers and traders and communicate with them. Preferably, you can decide to choose English as the prime language and later on as you expand in the other geographical markets, you can add support for other languages.
Establish a method of export
Establishing a direct or indirect method of export matters a lot in the international business.
Businesses have to exercise over their ventures. Additionally, it is very important to seize an opportunity and plan a whole strategy.
Focus on pricing and determine the landing costs
Get customer reactions by testing out the product quality and price on them. Determine the landing costs, analyse later and negotiate if necessary.
Set up terms, conditions, policies and other financing options.
Set up terms of payment prior to product selling. Great businesses recommend not to sell an open account to a brand new customer. It is better to focus on the market policies for both local and global markets. And it is essential to check the financial options on the basis of the geographical areas.
Once you have a proper knowledge of these factors, the next step is syncing with the digital and physical experiences. This helps the merchants and consumers to get familiar with the brand and engage new buyers in the international market.
Regardless of the business size, cross-border commerce requires a significant investment of money or time and sometimes both. It is quintessential to focus on the landscape of where you are going to set up your business and what factors you will take into consideration. Together, these will aid to the critical components of success.
Cross-border commerce does not only rely on successful product delivery. Businesses also need to equally focus on the consumer returns management especially if local geography needs to be addressed. A well-oiled return management process has the power to exceed the customer’s expectations and fuels the business expansion process. This also ensures the brand loyalty. Hence, easy returns policy is the chief concern for any online shopper or consumer before taking a step into the online experience of shopping.
Let us understand why Consumer Returns Management plays a vital role in cross-border commerce.
The challenging part for any eCommerce business is providing a seamless shopping experience. There is also a constant challenge to improve the shopping experience keeping a focus on the consumers. This engages and retains the consumers in the chain. One such process in the chain is offering “hassle-free” returns to the consumers. eCommerce businesses should have the ability to offer lenient and flexible returns. This engages more consumers and retains the customer base with a thrust to expand the business. This also helps the businesses to function minimizing the risk of fraud and abuse.
Customer value and satisfaction
Any business whether offline or online should aim at clarifying the return policies to promote strong sales. According to the UPS survey, about 88% of the online shoppers check the return policies first and then proceed to shop. The rest will forgo purchases if they are unable to locate or understand the policies. Thus, it becomes essential to value the customer’s preferences and satisfy their needs.
eCommerce businesses have a variety of products to offer to the millions of customers online. They offer products and services for everything, right from fashion to electronics. Customers have the freedom to purchase from a wide range of the products. These companies can create opportunities in the competitive market with their accessible and easy return policies. This attracts the customers and they can leverage the online stores with the same old traditional touch.
Online shoppers should get the same offline shopping experience with the qualifying purchases. They have the leisure to check the product details before they add the items to the cart. Consumers and buyers can get the chance to check the minutest product details just like the traditional stores. Every product detail should include the product color, material texture, size, pictures and much more. Thus, eCommerce businesses have maintained the decorum that the offline businesses offer. They do offer exciting return policies that encourage the consumers to take a plunge into the wide shopping experience.
Fraud detection and prevention is the widest challenge in the eCommerce world. Businesses should keep a watch on the illegal activities if any. Those with the lax return policies might turn out to be great money for the hackers and criminals. To play on a safer side, eCommerce businesses should build definitive eCommerce return processes and policies. Also, they should maintain high-level security to avoid any such risks. Otherwise, they might become indelible marks on the names of reputable brands.
Efficiency in returns management
While returns will always be a crucial part of the business, they do not need to be a liability. To increase the efficiency and foster growth for your business, develop effective reverse logistics processes. This aids as a competitive advantage and can prove beneficial.
Hence, for effective returns policy, make sure you:
Create meaningful content about the returns process and policy.
Make the returns policy and process more understanding as per local demographics.
Offer flexible, convenient and easy options – such as in-store returns.
For businesses to redefine their returns management, here are some important points to focus on.
Focus on the global picture: Easy and flexible returns solutions should be available to everyone and everywhere. Businesses ought to focus on their current return logistics to manage the cross-border trade. They should be able to turn the local legends into international successes.
Make the returns process simple for online shoppers: Simplify the returns process and policies. This helps the customers to easily initiate the returns through calls or an online returns management portal. Businesses should provide 24/7 access to the customers through a customer service hotline.
Track your returns smartly: Know where your returns go when the customers send them. Businesses should aim at establishing cost-effective ways of determining the stocks and maintaining them.
Cross-border commerce is one of the most challenging ways for the online merchants to develop their presence in the market. The e-commerce merchants have started focusing more on the cross-border markets to grow their business. Today every merchant aims at expanding their business or market employing regional sensibilities and local market flavor for their success. They focus on building strategies that promote their growth in the online market and create a place in the heart of the consumers. To grow faster, they have to build strategies taking into consideration the market trends and key elements. Here are some of the best strategies:
Trust first: Pay locally; offer at a global level
A global offering can never be enough. Consumers demand secure transactions while shopping online. For this, online merchants have to focus on offering the commonly used, trusted and secured payment methods in the local markets. They have to ensure their customer’s safety, confidence along with the market’s conversion rates. Apart from this, the online merchants have to keep up with the pace of technology. The power of technology is undeniable in the expansion of markets in the global and local market. It binds the consumers and the online merchants across all the geographies and various channels giving a great experience to both in all terms.
Merchants need an overview of the market dynamics and the consumer’s behavior for the successful expansion of their online businesses. This way, it helps them to localize the experience. Moreover, businesses have to study the local payment cultures. For instance, in some countries, consumers trust payment modes as credit and debit cards while in some they trust e-Wallets.
Omni-Channel and Social eCommerce – The future
Omni-channel retail and the social eCommerce is the future already. This gives fully-integrated and seamless customer experience. This also helps to understand how the customers interact with the online brands across all the channels. The eCommerce merchants can gather the comprehensive data from various geographies, brands, and stores. This collectively helps to analyze the customers’ behaviors and preferences in a better way. Furthermore, this can help to create great customer offerings and provide loyalty solutions.
In the digital space, millennials prove to be great influencers. They play a vital role in voicing their opinions and sharing information. For instance, 50-60% of the consumers follow brands and products on social media. They browse a plethora of products on the social media. As per online surveys, 33% of the online shoppers utilize social media for potential purchases. Thus, the online and social recommendation of brands and products encourage the significance of cross-border trades and transactions. In future, social eCommerce and omnichannel strategies will become a major source of payment drivers too.
Go cashless and seek new opportunities
The eCommerce field is flourishing at a more accelerated rate. By 2019, it is expected to hit $3.6 trillion. This is the right time for the eCommerce enthusiasts and merchants to invest and expand internationally. To strategize a good expansion, merchants must understand the landscape and seek out new opportunities. They need to seek out effective ways of electronic payments as the global market is turning cashless. Most countries like North America, Europe carry out cashless payments.
In comparison to the domestic eCommerce market, cross-border eCommerce is skyrocketing at an unprecedented rate. Consumers have started trusting international sources to buy products that are unavailable locally. Online merchants can turn these higher demands into high-profit margins. They can grow their businesses effectively. That said, new opportunities arise with the growth of cross-border eCommerce market.
Key points to remember
While choosing the right step with the payment modes, here are some key points every merchant should consider. So, choose the payment partner smartly to grow your online presence and a strong global network.
Focus on the regional trends that meet the customers’ demands and expectations
Know the online market value of your products in terms of local and global market
Follow the customer shopping habits across various geographies, devices, and media
Integrate the trusted payment methods to ensure secure customer online shopping experiences
Focus on the fast delivery of the products and best return policies
Exciting payment cashback offers and coupons
Keep a check on the local regulations, exchange rates and policies
To summarise, developing a successful cross-border strategy is not just about best products and services. It is equally necessary to maintain trust, security and provide a great shopping experience for all the customers. Along with this, they also need to retain the customer base, product quality, brand awareness and customer satisfaction values. Thus, for a seamless experience, the online merchants have to focus on developing expansion strategies that are easy and trustworthy.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin
When your business grows you need to find something scalable and stable platform which could handle this growth of yours.
You may find yourself being stretched in new and unknown ways as your online business grows. All growth comes with growing pains; the expansion of a web store is not any exception.
Perhaps your e-commerce platform may get affected by this growth as well, and to be honest, if the platform breaks down you go down with it. So, when the growing pain becomes overwhelming, it’s time to consider a switch.
More than 3,600 businesses trust Shopify Plus to grow bigger and faster in this competitive environment. According to the Shopify’s analysis, Shopify Plus merchants grows at an average of 126 % year-over-year.
However, Shopify’s offer is for small and medium-sized businesses and Shopify Plus is for prime volume stores. Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level platform. It handles all the technical legwork of running a large online store for you.
Now let’s discuss some advantages which you will enjoy as Plus client.
1) Extended Validation SSL Certificate
-You must have seen this many a times
-“Your connection to this site is not secure”.
-After viewing that alert warning what you do?
‘You instantly leave that website.’
The same thing applies to almost all the people across the internet. They would immediately leave the webpage which pops-up that warning.
EV SSL certificates were invented by one of the most prominent certificate vendors to enhance e-commerce security, fight phishing attacks and to create the most trusted SSL Certificate. Visual assurance of security helps e-commerce merchants increase trust, reduce shopping cart abandonment, and build long-term relationships.
Comparision between Simple SSL vs EV SSL
The padlock icon in address bar.
Padlock icon and Name of the organization in the address bar.
Doesn’t help users cross-check the website’s identity.
Verified legal Identity is displayed to the users.
No identity check by a human being.
Meticulous Documentation checks to confirm their authenticity and ownership.
Features of EV SSL:
“Green lock” symbol with your Company/Brand name beside the green lock in the address bar which builds the immediate trust of your customers and helps with conversion.
What are the advantages you will get as EV SSL certificate holder
As a Shopify Plus client, you will get certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, a site-wide EV SSL certificate to redirect traffic from HTTP to encrypted HTTPS, data protection, and risk assessment for each and every order. Setting up your EV SSL takes minutes to complete, one or two weeks at most to confirm, and can make a surprising impact on your bottom line.
2) Automate your Business
The human mind is the most powerful tool. Even high-quality machines can’t replicate them. The mind is capable of solving complex problems, which modern technology can just dream of it for now.
That’s why it is important to free and relax your business team from being delayed in repetitive, labor-intensive processes, and to keep them on the stimulating important, and increasingly complex challenges that your business faces.
2 Automation Tools available exclusively to Shopify Plus customers
People are expensive, even when it comes to just pushing buttons, which makes it harder to save money. Therefore Shopify introduced the most effective way to automate real-time alerts and business operating process. Let’s see some examples how Shopify flow can improve your organization’s processes.
Tasks that customers do:
-Customers place an order.
– Customer place an order whose value is over £500.
-Then checkouts to the payment.
How does it work?
Flow combines business processes into 3 simple steps:
The Trigger: When an order is placed.
The Condition: Customer whose order value is over £500.
The Action: It automatically tag customer as VIP and Email customer services to include a thank you note or greetings.
Workflow initializes when an order is created. It makes sure that your VIP’s (> £500/monthly spending on your store) customers are being properly rewarded.
Rewards high Average Order Value (AOV= Revenue/Number of orders) and longtime customers, track and apply the tag to customers those who convert through targeted marketing campaigns.
Order risk management:
It sends the email to customer service or finance team when a high risk (fraud) order is placed. Or automatically cancel the order from countries deemed high risk or you simply do not deliver to.
Afterward, another email can be generated for the customer service team to contact the customer and explain why their order was canceled.
Manage your inventory:
You would never run out of popular products in your store again. Flow sends email to your supplier to restock when inventory levels drop below a chosen number. It also advises marketing team via slack to pause any product based advertising campaigns until the stock is back.
Whenever you add a product with a tag, flow will automatically include them in the collection having that tag name. For example, if an item has “t-shirt” in the product description, you can create an automation to include them in ‘t-shirts’ and new collection.
In the eye of E-commerce, these holidays are like the Super Bowl of shopping. It’s one of those days in which retailers prepare for weeks in advance to make sure they are inclined to compete with millions of other vendors and brands selling their products.
It is really difficult and painful for the merchants managing a growing e-commerce business while waiting around until a specific time (often even after midnight), just to push a button to start a sale or promotion.
With Launchpad you can preplan everything. Launchpad offers a simple way to automate sales campaigns, product releases, and flash sales. It is an outstanding tool for high-energy holiday sales like Black Friday/Cyber Monday and more.
It allows you to manage complex events such as:
Save your time by scheduling a sale by automatically launching your event checklist.
Auto publish selected product at a selected time and date.
Lock your store to create a hype and anticipation, before the start of the sale
Track the events performance in real-time to understand the consumer behavior.
Add a discount offer (BOGO) on the specific collection during the sale.
Control every step of the customized sales campaign.
So, as you know how Launchpad can save time and give you peace of mind. You can now go to bed without worrying about anything, and start selling even when you are asleep.
3) Customize with Shopify Script
As a Shopify Plus client, you can make a significant impact on your bottom line by few customizations with Shopify Script.
Whether it is utilizing balance exchange, to fire a coupon, an exit offer, or customizing the look and feel of the checkout, everything is just a few clicks away so it matches your brand style.
To do this Shopify Plus provides you the facility to
Customize your checkout directly- both in its look and feel as well as in your customer’s field like shipping methods, and payment option.
Customize your checkout dynamically through with Shopify Scripts and the Shopify Script Editor.
What Merchology did was they customized their Shopify Scripts implementation which looks inside the user’s (customer) shopping cart, identifies if any changes have been made by the customer (for example, if they adjust an item’s size or increase/decrease their order quantity) Shopify Script will automatically adjust the checkout price in real-time.
4) Build for Growth
As your business grows big, the more time you spend on maintaining and managing your staff and tech infrastructure. When you spend more time on these things, the harder it is to focus on the strategies that made you and your online store successful in the first place.
Then you realize how overwhelming and exhausting managing this type of growth can be. Even if the potential is there it can all be wiped out by an unknowingly wrong significant decision.
Being a merchant on Shopify Plus what you will surely appreciate is the platform’s capabilities for the growth. It is designed and built to accommodate this type of growth.
5) Unrivaled Support
In order to make your Shopify Plus experience outstanding, you’ll work closely with various merchant success team. This includes Solutions Engineer and Gurus for the 24/7 support.
Merchant success team not only make you concentrate on features and opportunities applicable to you but also they make sure that you get ahead of the knowledge curve with special access to new feature betas.
Other than this they also offer platform training, assist with third-party integrations, and help find approved Partners to work on a design that you prefer and development projects specific to your business.
Well-known brands names like Budweiser, Bulova, The Economist, Nestle, and RedBull use Shopify Plus to run their e-commerce business.
With this multi-functional platform, you get free apps that automate tasks, notifications, campaigns and many more, which gives you more time to focus on product development, marketing optimization, and other strategies to further your brand expansion.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to upgrade yourself and your e-commerce business to the most reliable and scalable e-commerce platform Shopify Plus to accelerate your growth at its best.