The Omnichannel Strategy Fuelling Cross-border Commerce

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
  • Service fee
  • 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:

  1. Integrate your findings
  2. Segment your audience
  3. Know your customers
  4. Prioritize the online channels and the devices
  5. Focus on customer support
  6. Measure your efforts.
  7. Create a premium customer experience

Conclusion:

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.

Top mid-market considerations for cross-border commerce

For mid-market brands, it is tough to prevail in many global markets since they are saturated with similar products. In this case, a full market evaluation before launch of cross-border is required, to identify competitors, take note of their activities, take note of what they fail to do and even understand the direction of the market and its perfect fit.

Winning globally for most companies is to acquire market share and retain customer interest consistently. Here are the top mid-market considerations for cross-border commerce that will ensure its success:

  • Make Technology an Enabler of Success

Automation is the key to be lean in international selling, with enough team time and space for promoting innovation.

Here are a few workflows for automation:

  1. Email Marketing – Create audience segments, and revisit them seasonally to ensure the pitch is aligned with brand messaging and as per the regional sensibilities.
  2. Product Information Management – Invest in a streamlined product information management (PIM) system to manage local content that will increase as you scale your operations. Be sure to include a repository for product information, content and media. Keep each country’s product catalog and content separated from each other.
  3. Order Processing – Do not let countries and markets get disintegrated into silos. Invest in connecting channels with strategic planning across the organization. One can even invest in ERP solutions or Shopify to get the order processing streamlined.

  • Defining Key Domains – Product Delivery, Logistics and Shipping

The core foundation of cross-border commerce is ensuring product delivery in-country. Logistics should be a vital function that needs to be addressed right from the first day. Mid-market merchants do it themselves, using warehouses or ship from a warehouse. Some use an affiliate, for the same.

Shipping shouldn’t affect profit margins. Hence it is important to localize management efforts with a dedicated resource on the ground within the region. When evaluating hiring personnel, do check how professionals understand building global teams. A key stakeholder in the place with global experience is useful in this regard.

Managing global resources from long distances means that there should be constant communication between stakeholders about the product, the brand’s tone, marketing message, vision, and the like so that specialists can mitigate any issues with localization with brand experience.

The in-country team needs to be conveyed about company’s top-level goals and how the market can help meet the goals.

Conclusion

Adequate localization, key stakeholders in-country, a local logistics provider with affordable shipping, and other regional factors need to be in place for mid-market organizations who are looking for success in cross-border commerce.