4 Cross-Border Delivery Tips For Online Retailers

Selling online offers a whole new international audience for online retailers — an audience that, traditionally, businesses might have struggled to reach.

This is something online retailers are embracing, with 71% expecting their cross-border sales share to increase even further according to the recent DHL report ‘The 21st Century Spice Trade: A Guide to the Cross Border E-commerce Opportunity’.

With the internet now more accessible than ever, more people are taking to shopping online. The Masterindex 2017 shows that Europeans are avid online shoppers, with one in four with internet access purchasing products or services online at least once a week in 2016.

If you’re keen to broaden your customer base, targeting overseas shoppers is a great starting point. 41% of European online consumers purchase products from abroad at least once a year, demonstrating that the demand exists and presenting a big opportunity for UK businesses as UK products continue to be recognised as a hallmark of quality.

This is a trend reflected beyond the borders of the EU; research from Statista shows that an impressive 59% of Canadians and 28% of Americans shop cross border. As reaching customers beyond the borders of the UK becomes more attainable than ever, it’s important that online retailers ensure their websites are ready to welcome international visitors with open arms.

Here are four tips for cross-border delivery.

1. Make it clear you're open for international delivery

It may sound simple, but it’s something that those new to selling cross-border often forget. If you ship your products overseas, make sure you say that on your homepage. Shoppers don’t want to spend time browsing a website if they can’t be sure that the products are available to them, so be clear about it right away so that a potential customer can shop safe in the knowledge that if they do want to make a purchase, they can.

Language options are another key consideration here; by allowing visitors to browse your site in their local language, and with prices in their local currency, you’re improving accessibility and further simplifying the experience of browsing your site.

2. Respond to payment trends

An important consideration when selling to international shoppers is payment methods. Cards and online banking are typically the most popular payment methods, however, when selling internationally payment preferences can vary by country. For example, in the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland – online banking is twice as popular as cards. However, if you’re selling to France, Ireland, Sweden or Italy, it’s cards that are the most popular.

With technology advancing so quickly there are also lots of new payment methods emerging which you should consider.

In China the instant messaging app WeChat has a mobile payment service that has more than 300m customer bank cards registered, making it a key payment method if selling to that market. The Netherlands is another example - with more payments made using mobile than credit cards. The iDEAL online payment platform is integrated with all the major Dutch banks, and accounts for 56% of transactions there.

You should always try to make the experience of shopping on your website as hassle free as possible for international shoppers – where possible let them pay in the quick and convenient way they’re used to.

3. Meet the customer's shipping and return needs

Never underestimate the importance of your shipping options when selling online. A positive shipping experience is vital to customer satisfaction and it can also have a big impact on your bottom line, helping to boost sales and also affecting a customer’s likelihood to purchase and re-purchase.

38% of consumers who have a poor delivery experience will never shop with that retailer again and 43% wouldn’t return to that retailer within a month – that’s a big portion of customers you could potentially lose as a result of a poor shipping experience.

As ecommerce becomes the norm, online shoppers have become increasingly impatient — often wanting their goods as soon as possible and in turn seeking the express delivery option. But offering an express option can be good for business.

Many online retailers offer next day delivery options to the USA and Europe, having found that an express delivery option can increase basket values by as much as 71%, as online shoppers add more items to their basket in order to increase the value for money of the express shipping.

It can also grow Lifetime Customer Value – with our customers reporting a 20% increase in repeat custom as a result of having an express option. It’s good news for your business growth potential too; ‘The 21st Century Spice Trade’ report shows that businesses offering a premium express service grow 1.6 times faster than those that don’t.

A deterrent for consumers shopping internationally online is fears about returns, with 23% of potential online shoppers citing the assumption that returns would be difficult or costly as a barrier to shopping with an international online retailer.

With that in mind it’s essential that you have a simple returns process and make that clear on your website. Some 72% of online shoppers said they were “likely” or “somewhat likely” to shop more with a retailer that made the returns process easier. Whilst some retailers fear that simplifying the process could encourage returns, the reality is that customers will buy more, but still return only a fraction of what they purchase.

4. Offer flexible delivery options

A successful first-time delivery increases customer satisfaction, and it goes hand in hand that giving consumers delivery options increases the chance of a successful first attempt. To ensure that you’re meeting the needs of customers it’s important to consider delivery preferences. These vary from country to country and you should ensure that your shipping provider is able to meet the requirements of customers across the world.

Research shows that consumers in the USA prefer to have deliveries to home; when the customers have the choice of how to have their parcel delivered, our own experience suggests that around 70% of Americans request for parcels to be left in a safe place

But the same can’t be said for everywhere. In France for example, around 50% of receivers opt for deliveries to be made to one of our DHL Service Points, where the customer can come to collect their parcel at a time that suits them. With that in mind, it’s important to consider the delivery needs of your customers and ensure that you can meet them – increasing both customer convenience and satisfaction.

By: DHL 

Download the The 21st Century Spice Trade report


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