Over 1.6 billion people purchased something online in 2016. And with that number growing every year, the number of potential customers that ecommerce companies can reach will only grow bigger.
But while there are more potential customers worldwide, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy to attract and convert them. Shoppers around the world have very different tastes and preferences and they now expect a more personalized online shopping experience. Therefore, you need tailored ecommerce experiences for each new international market that you want to go after.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in business is trying to do too much at once. When it comes time to grow beyond your traditional market, you need to be focused on those that have the greatest chance for success. This means researching which countries have a clear and growing need for your type of product and how your offering may stand out in the current competitive landscape.
You also need to ensure you have the financial strength to commit to the longer-term strategy you’ll need to find success and consider any adjustments you’ll need to make to adhere to different regulatory requirements or consumer preferences. Once you figure out which countries have the greatest opportunity and least amount of risk, you can create a market entry plan with clear objectives, budgets and positioning to gain traction.
Just like your existing customers, anyone considering your product needs to trust that you’ll deliver the value you promise. Shoppers can be a bit more wary of companies overseas, so you need to do everything you can to alleviate any anxiety.
This starts with an easy and “local” website user experience with content that flawlessly speaks their language and has locally relevant prices in their home currency as a minimum. Remarkably, 13% of shoppers report that they have abandoned a purchase because prices were displayed in a foreign currency. You may also need to adjust your value proposition, prices and have more payment methods available to cater to different markets.
Overall, it’s about ensuring all your customer touchpoints leave users feeling positive, which helps keep their attention, build trust and ultimately converts more shoppers into paying customers.
70% of online shoppers say they look at customer ratings and reviews before purchasing. Understandably, proving your product’s value can be critical for convincing your international shoppers to finally commit to purchasing. Focus on providing localized social proofing like product ratings, testimonials, earned media mentions or a list of some of your current clients. You can also include authority proofing like citations in industry magazines or awards you’ve won.
When it comes to international customers, you need to make sure you alleviate any remaining hesitation they may have towards purchasing. Up to 17% of all lost sales are because of concerns about payment security. Fortunately, a good user experience will alleviate a lot of this anxiety and security badges can provide even more reassurance for shoppers that aren’t yet familiar with your business.
A further 11% say they’ve abandoned a purchase because their payment was declined. There are a number of reasons that this can happen, from customers exceeding their account limits to incorrect payment information. For overseas shoppers, there’s an even greater risk of decline when a merchant’s bank and a customer’s bank are in different countries.
To maximize transaction success, your ecommerce solution should integrate with multiple payment gateways. This can also reduce your risk of missing sales because a gateway goes down. Even a few hours of not being able to accept payments can cost millions.
While attracting and converting customers around the world is a huge challenge, the rewards can be well worth it. More and more of commerce is moving online and, if you want to take advantage of the global opportunity, you need your entire ecommerce experience to support a much more diverse range of customers around the world. Success will come from being highly focused on and adaptable to the needs of customers in new target markets.