By Immy Spence, Head of Sales SME & Growth, EMEA at Airwallex

Recent research conducted by consulting firm Edgar, Dunn & Company, reveals several key insights into the cross-border ecommerce landscape and consumer trends.

The comprehensive study surveyed 3,010 consumers across six countries – Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, and the UK – and interviewed leading merchants to understand the factors driving global ecommerce success.

The study reveals that successfully tapping into the cross-border ecommerce market requires more than simply offering your products to international customers. To capitalise on this immense potential, retailers can provide a seamless and localised checkout experience that caters to global shoppers’ unique preferences and expectations. This article, Anatomy of an optimised cross-border checkout experience, offers more detail on those areas.

Based on this extensive research, here are eight red flags that indicate your checkout process is not optimised for international customers.

1. Lack of localisation

True localisation involves adapting your checkout process to your target markets’ cultural norms, preferences, and behaviours, including language, design, and communication style. Using localisation demonstrates your commitment to understanding and serving your international customers, fostering trust and driving long-term growth.

Consider using local payment preferences, adapting your product offerings to suit the needs and preferences of your target markets, and ensuring that your packaging and branding align with local cultural norms and expectations.

2. Not displaying prices in local currencies

Localisation also extends to understanding local currencies. One of the most critical aspects of catering to international customers is displaying prices in their local currency. According to the research, an overwhelming 93% of consumers claim that seeing products priced in their local currency significantly impacts their decision to purchase. Display prices in the customer’s local currency to avoid confusion, mistrust, and ultimately, cart abandonment.

To address this issue, retailers can use a multi-currency pricing strategy that allows customers to display the checkout in their local currency. This eliminates the need for customers to convert prices manually, provides a more transparent and user-friendly experience, and increases the likelihood of successful conversions.

3. Lack of trust and social proof

Building trust is crucial for success in the global ecommerce arena. The study highlights that 75% of consumers say ratings and customer reviews play a more critical role in their decision to buy from international sellers than domestic sellers.

Leverage social proof throughout your ecommerce site and checkout process by displaying customer reviews and ratings on your product pages. Partnering with local influencers and thought leaders can also help you establish credibility and reach new audiences in your target markets.

4. Limited payment options

Consumers expect a wide range of payment options catering to their preferences. The study found that 77% of consumers will likely abandon their cart if their preferred payment method is unavailable at checkout. While credit and debit cards remain the most popular payment method across regions, many consumers now prefer alternative options such as digital wallets and local payment methods.

You can offer a wide range of global and local payment options to optimise your checkout process for international customers. This will allow you to cater to the diverse preferences of your international customer base and tap into new customer segments.

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5. Hidden costs and fees

Transparency is paramount when it comes to cross-border transactions. Customers expect clarity and honesty about the total cost of their purchase, including any additional fees. The research reveals that 35% of consumers are unlikely to return to a merchant after being charged hidden fees, such as currency conversion or international fees.

Be transparent about all costs associated with international purchases by providing a clear breakdown of the total cost, including any additional fees, at the checkout stage.

6. Suboptimal shipping and returns policies

Shipping and returns are critical aspects of the cross-border ecommerce experience. Regarding international shipping, cost and transparency are the most important considerations for consumers across all markets, except for the US, where speed of delivery takes precedence.

Offer competitive shipping rates, clear and concise policies, and efficient returns and refund processes. You can investigate reliable and cost-effective international shipping providers to ensure timely delivery of orders and provide a streamlined, customer-friendly returns process.

7. Neglecting mobile optimisation

With the rapid growth of mobile commerce, optimising your checkout process for mobile devices is crucial. Consumers worldwide are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to shop online, and a poorly optimised mobile checkout experience can lead to high abandonment rates and lost sales.

Prioritise page load speed, responsive design, and streamlined navigation to provide a fast, intuitive, and frictionless mobile checkout experience. Leverage mobile-specific features such as mobile wallets and one-click checkout to enhance the user experience and increase conversions.

8. Insufficient customer support

Providing excellent customer support is essential for building trust and fostering long-term relationships with your international customers. Create a robust customer support infrastructure that can effectively serve the needs of your global customer base, offering multilingual support through various channels.

You can also ensure your customer support team is well-versed in cross-border ecommerce’s unique challenges and considerations, including international shipping processes, customs regulations, and local payment preferences.

Optimising your checkout process for international customers is essential for success in the rapidly growing cross-border ecommerce market. By addressing the red flags outlined above and prioritising factors such as localisation, mobile optimisation, customer support, and transparency, you can create a seamless and compelling checkout experience that drives conversions and fosters long-term relationships with your global customer base.

To learn more about the latest trends and strategies for cross-border ecommerce success, download the entire research report.

About Airwallex:

Airwallex is a leading global financial platform for modern businesses, offering trusted solutions to manage everything from payments, treasury, and spend management to embedded finance. With our proprietary infrastructure, Airwallex takes the friction out of global payments and financial operations, empowering businesses of all sizes to unlock new opportunities and grow beyond borders. Proudly founded in Melbourne, Airwallex supports over 100,000 businesses globally and is trusted by brands such as Brex, KeepCup, McLaren Racing, Qantas, SHEIN and many more. For more information, visit

Published 21/03/2024




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