Top 3 Retailers who are Mastering Cross-border Commerce

The advent of cross-border commerce has turned a game changer for the small and the medium-sized businesses. The online marketplaces have become a great investment for the online retailers. They have turned out big players and developed strategic partnerships amongst other foreign countries. This has helped them engage in both offline and online relations with various brands and customers.

While in the process, the customers also have evolved and involved a lot. They now focus on the brand shopping rather than the channel shopping. Moreover, they are more inclined towards the web rooms than the showrooms. This has completely blurred the line between the online and the offline shopping. To be specific, this has blurred the lines amongst different geographic locations.

The changing diaspora

  • With the on-growing demand for the global products and brands, there has been a constant rise in their presence in both online and offline catalogs.
  • E-commerce is gradually shaping up the world into a one-unified market. The strategy behind is to make the products and brands available locally and globally in the markets.
  • Cross-border commerce has been growing to make its presence crossing every geographical border.
  • By 2021, the Global B2C E-commerce might reach over $424 billion. This market share targets the E-commerce bloomers like Asia, North America, and Europe.

Here are 3 top brands and retailers who have scored high in the “International Retail Index” and have managed to master the cross-border commerce game with engaging customer experience over the years.

  • ASOS

ASOS, the great fashion hub and global retailer, is ranked number 3 in the International Retail Index. It has surpassed the likes of the leading brands like Aldi, Apple, and John Lewis. ASOS offers great fashion at even great prices. This brand has expanded globally over the countries like France, the US, Germany, and Spain over the last few years. David Green, the MD at ASOS, discussed how the brand leveraged the technology for an engaging customer experience.

For a frictionless experience to its customers, they integrated type-ahead address verification that enables the customers to quickly fill in their address. The team at ASOS easily captures the data and insights for a cleaner and more accurate checkout for its customers. The global retailer also has laid more emphasis over the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). This ensures the data capture happens in a compliant manner. Moreover, it sets the right balance between the customer experience and the compliance.

  • Sephora

The other Global Retailer that ranked 8th in the International Retail Index is Sephora. Ian McGarrigle’s, the chairman of the World Retail Congress selected this French brand for the World Retailer of the Year. He also stated that this French brand has leveraged every international opportunity for over 4 decades. It potentially monitors the customers’ behavior and the brand offerings. Today it globally operates in 30+ countries which include the US, China, and Italy.

Setting a benchmark with its global presence, this leading Global Retailer has seized the opportunity what Digitalization offers. It also analyzes the customer demands and the insights of their businesses. With such a strong customer base and digital platform engagement, this has been driving the youth fashion and continues to grow globally. Along with the digital approach, it has adopted the local intelligence. This helps the brand to understand the demands of its shoppers. It also betters the customized offerings to its customers for both local and online stores.

The most powerful feature is the social media engagement of the brand for its valuable shoppers. The Sephora Assistant feature available with the Facebook Messenger app allows the shoppers to easily book their items in the nearby stores.

  • Walmart

Robert Gregory, the Global Research Director for the Planet Retail RNG selected the Global brand Walmart. The brand ranks 9th in the International Retail Index. This brand has been a consistent player in the E-commerce world and the Retailer’s Market. Walmart has a strong physical presence in markets at over 30 places. Over the past few years, to make a digital presence over the global platforms, it has been continuously reinventing itself.

Walmart has already engaged digitally in the cross-border markets in countries like India and China. Recently, it made an investment in the Indian E-commerce giant Flipkart to set its roots in India. Flipkart has a strong customer base. The startup-turned-giant has been a leading E-commerce company in the retail market with over 100+ brands under its umbrella. The partnership between Walmart and Flipkart is likely to be a great business for both the parties and a great venture in the E-commerce and cross-border markets.

12 Common Mistakes Done while Selling in Cross-border Markets

The rate at which technology is excelling knows no bounds. It is creating innovative ways to connect with the world every day. While technology continues to change the channels in the market, the connection between merchants and consumers keep growing stronger. With the advancement in technologies, still there are some common mistakes, merchants make while engaging in international markets.

Let us walk through each of these mistakes to overcome any pitfalls.

  • Avoiding to calculate total landed costs

It is necessary that merchants and buyers maintain a transparent relation between them in the cross-border market. Merchants should inform their international buyers about duties and tariffs. You can also use the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) calculator.

It is mandatory to maintain trust and dignity amongst your international buyers. It can be evaluated in the following ways:

  1. Provide product tracking details
  2. Provide on-site shipping information details
  3. Update on delays in international shipments

 

  • Creating Big Technology Investments

Merchants while investing in the international markets should keep minimum technology investments. This holds true for the integration of third-party channels as well as international checkout providers.

We recommend you to focus on small investments first rather than the big ones such as:

  • Market Insights
  • Personnel
  • Logistics

 

  • Ignoring online frauds

There is always a risk of fraud when entering the cross-border markets. But you can always take help of the solutions to prevent such frauds and meet your business requirements.

You can prevent fraud during international checkout on-site with two methods:

  1. Installing a fraud suite
  2. Leverage 3rd Party Logistics to secure against fraud

There are several solutions Subuno, Riskified and Signifyd like that reduce such online frauds and provide secured payments internationally.

 

  • Copy & Pasting

Repetitive content and media cause a mess across the localized and international markets. This is a common mistake international merchants often make. Thus, it is better to avoid any copy and pasting media and content on your site.

It is necessary to focus on the potential language when localizing the content. You need verifying the media as poor on-model product photography can create a bad image in the market. Also, it can affect the SEO rankings for the particular region.

 

  • Dimensional and Physical Shipping Assumptions

Most of the merchants and eCommerce businesses fail to assume the dimension and physical shipments. If you fail to consider these, it can be a costly assumption.

  • Dimensional Pricing – Shipping costs based on the size of a box
  • Physical Pricing – Shipping costs based on the weight of the box

Thus, it is beneficial to include these pricings in the overall product cost to predict accurate marginal costs.

  • Disregarding Localized Merchandising

When selling products globally, merchants must consider some factors so that they can merchandise their digital stores.

Consumer Demand & Trends and Climate are the factors that affect the local merchandising.

 

  • Not Failing in Translation

It is critically significant to focus on how your website gets translated into different languages. It plays a crucial role in the localized and domestic markets. International sellers and merchants can consider using the translation providers like Smartling and VerbalizeIt.

These translation providers transform the way the content is created and consumed by the local and domestic markets.

 

  • Government and Political Constraints

You must be aware of the government laws in accordance with the countries and political constraints. It is mandatory to follow the government norms and data alliance while taking a plunge in the international markets.

For instance, in Russia, it is mandatory all the customer data must be kept on server in-country.

 

  • Disregarding Promotional Calendars

A mistake international merchants fail to notice. You have to prioritize the region of expansion and plan the marketing campaigns accordingly. Mark your calendars for the promotional events to be carried out.

In the Middle East during Eid, you can observe many sales events during shopping, entertainment, and traveling. Likewise, every region or country follows certain events and you have to keep that in prior notice to stand stronger in the international markets.

 

  • Don’t Go Overboard

Merchants often go overboard while engaging in the cross-border market. You have to consider the right aspects when selling the products.

It is better to focus on a single market and its essentials first before plunging into various other markets. This will help you learn from the mistakes so that you can implement the solutions while expansions.

 

  • Managing Efforts from a Distance

It is sometimes impossible to manage efforts from distances. While globalizing in the market, markets like India, China, and UAE, it is difficult to manage the resources. But markets like Western Europe and North America are more manageable. It is always recommended that you leverage the local resources in this case.

 

  • Marketplaces are not for the premium products

The fact about the cross-border markets is that the international shoppers shop more from the local brands and markets.

Today, the premium brands are opening flagship stores on the various social commerce platforms and local markets.

Avoiding such pitfalls always helps but if you successfully aim to ace the global markets, launch an international site. This in all ways localizes the site, content, and products. Not necessarily, all the brands go by this rule and even if they do so, they still make commit these mistakes.

Tips: How Localization may help you in E-commerce

There is a saying in Chinese   “万事开”.

What happened?

You don’t understand it right? Okay let me translate it to you in English, it says…

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”

The difficulty you faced while reading/understanding the Chinese sayings got easy when you read it in your native/common language. Same way it goes in the E-commerce business.

According to data by Shopify:

  • 75% of online customer want to buy products in their native language.
  • 59% of user rarely or never buy from English-only sites.
  • 67% prefer navigation and content in their language.

Your E-commerce company might be performing well at home, but when it comes to Global market, many difficulties may arise while growing your business internationally. And the prominent issue is localizing your Ecommerce store.

As you saw above that it was really difficult for you or anyone (who doesn’t understand Chinese) to read whatever it was written as it wasn’t in the known language of yours.

Well in the same way if your online store’s new audience doesn’t understand the language of the online profile, product descriptions, database-driven content, and graphic images, they would immediately switch to other website and look for a better alternative which is in their understandable language.

Therefore to grow your international E-commerce business you need to localize your e-commerce website.

But before that, you need to get the knack of what e-commerce localization is.

 

What is E-commerce localization?

It is an approach of translating the e-commerce storefront and all other contents of it into the language your new target audience can understand.

Many successful (e-commerce) companies are drawing their focus towards localizing their online channels as one of the ways to improve and customize their user’s (customer’s) shopping experience.

The opportunity to sell globally is huge. But to have a bite of it many global companies are looking ahead to improve the e-commerce game plan, exploring localized mobile apps, adding multiple languages and more.

If you are still reading this article, I hope you must have dipped your toes in the global e-commerce market. And you may also want to explore how localization of your e-commerce business can help your brand being successful.

Let’s start with the things that need to be localized before you go global.

1) Your Store front

When any of your online store visitor/customer opens up your online store he/she expect that the language, look and feel, of the website to be familiar (they know). So that they don’t face difficulty while viewing your store.

For example: When any visitor visits your online store and doesn’t recognize the language your site has then he/she would instantly leave your store and would look for a better alternative that has localized store-front.

 

2) Products and Description

Nobody wants to exercise their mind while doing online shopping to just translate the product description. The only thing that drives any visitor to your online-store is the products you sell there.

Therefore localizing that part of your e-commerce store will really be helpful to and your customer as well.

3) Currency

 Doing math at the time of shopping is just overwhelming. You hate that, I hate it, and everyone there just hates doing a calculation of converting the currencies in their local ones.

It is found that 92% of online customer prefer to shop and make purchases on sites that price in their local currency. Not only this, 33% of them likely to abandon a purchase if pricing is in US dollars only.

So as you can get the idea from the above data that reducing math calculation of converting the currencies in their native can genuinely increase your overall sales.

 

If you are having a store on Shopify there is an app named as “Auto Currency Switcher” which automatically detects the location of where your website, where it is being opened and changes the product price accordingly (in local currency).

4) Look and feel of your store

 Even though you have localized all the above things, you need to localize your store theme (look and feel). It includes all the color combination, type of product you sell when you target some specific group of an audience of a different country.

Here is an example of Amazon’s localization:

 

In Amazon India’s website, you can see that the design, color-combination, and product suggestions are totally different from Amazon’s China site.

Amazon’s India site

 

Amazon’s China site

So you can see that one of the world’s most successful e-commerce running business Amazon also believes in localization for their this success.

 

Localize User-Generated content

 Just for instance suppose you’re the customer who wants to buy a ‘Mobile Phone’ via online shopping. These are the things I guess you usually do:

  • Search for the product
  • Ask your friends/colleagues about the product (offline review).
  • Goes on the particular website and read reviews/ratings of the people who have already purchased the product. (online review)
  • If the percentage of a positive review is high you buy the product.

 

Likewise, your “to-be” customers highly appreciate the reviews which are being posted by your customer about the product.

Here a statistics from the infographic Review of Reviews  about the consumer behavior and online reviews say that:

  • 71 % of shoppers agree that online consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they’re shopping the correct product or service
  • 70 % of individuals consult reviews and ratings before buying the product
  • 63 % of people are more likely to purchase a product from a website if it has positive product ratings and reviews
  • Customer reviews create a 74 % hike in product conversion

 

 

Wrapping it up

Selling online is common nowadays. But if you want to outstand your international competitors you need to do localization of your ecommerce store.

Understanding these cultural and local desires with eCommerce localization is essential if you would like to succeed in the global e-commerce market.

Which of these tips would you apply to localize your e-commerce store?