6 Cross Border Customer Experiences Online Shoppers Expect

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 18, 2018
cross border ship internationally

Global buyers are buying from retailers outside their own country or region. According to PayPal’s 2018 Cross-Border Consumer Research Report, 25% of online buyers around the world made a purchase from a retailer in the U.S. Cross-border shoppers purchase based on elements like price and product availability. But studies have shown that shoppers are looking for signs of trustworthiness from online retailers before clicking “Buy now.”

As global markets mature and eCommerce gains in popularity, more and more shoppers are making purchases across borders. So what exactly are online shoppers looking for when they make a purchase from an international retailer? And how can you attract these shoppers and keep them coming back for more?

1. Choice

PayPal’s report found that 38% of all online shoppers shopped cross-border to find items that they couldn’t purchase domestically.

A KPMG report found that 15% of U.S. shoppers, who are among the least likely demographic to buy from international retailers, still go across borders in order to obtain products that are unique or specialized.

PayPal’s report found that 38% of all online shoppers shopped cross-border to find items that they couldn’t find domestically.

2. Price

Not surprisingly, online shoppers shop based on price. PayPal’s report found that nearly half, 44%, of online shoppers make purchasing decisions based on price (shipping included.) According to PayPal, three quarters of buyers would prefer to pay in local currency, and 60% of those who don’t see that option report looking up exchange rates before making a purchase.

3. Localization

The 2017 Pitney Bowes Global eCommerce Report found that 72.4% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when the website is in their own language.

Perhaps not surprisingly, shoppers in developed markets like the US, UK and China express a stronger preference for localized online stores.

For example, what do you call it when you buy something online but pick it up in person? In the U.S., that’s “In Store Pickup.” In the UK, it’s “Click & Collect.” Use the wrong language on your website and you end up with confused customers unsure of how they’ll ultimately take possession of their order.

As eCommerce networks are built out globally, though, we can expect the trend toward localization to grow as online buyers have more purchasing options in their own local languages and lexicons. That’s why we 😉 suggest working with a partner like ShipperHQ who understands the nuances of shipping across borders.

4. Refund policy & ability to return

A UPS consumer survey showed that 66% of online shoppers take an online store’s return policy into account when making a purchase. They found that online retailers earned customer trust when it came to returns by:

  • Specifying a return and/or exchange period
  • Specifying a warranty period
  • Providing pre-printed return labels with the shipment
  • Providing clear and upfront information about the store’s return policy

Be ready, though. A recent BBC article reported on the phenomenon of shoppers ordering multiple items of clothing online and sending the majority of the purchase back. While this is a win for the personalized and comfortable in-home shopping experience, keep an eye on this trend and build it into your pricing accordingly.

5. Payment Options

Depending on the market, your buyers may prefer payment methods you haven’t considered. According to Pitney Bowes, only about 30% of eCommerce transactions in Germany are paid for by credit card. Indian buyers have a strong preference for cash on delivery when making purchases. Be sure to research preferred payment methods as you develop new markets.

6. Seamless Checkout Process

It’s easy to lose a customer at checkout. Checkout best practices include requiring your customer to fill out as few fields as possible, while collecting the information you need. This includes providing a guest checkout option so your customer doesn’t have to pause during the order process to create an account.

Also keep in mind that addresses come in different formats depending on the country. Include the correct address fields for your customer’s country to avoid confusion. A few tweaks to simplify your checkout will help you avoid cart abandonment by your international customers.