By Ellie-Rose Davies, Content Executive at IMRG

In this blog, we explore the standout cross-border eCommerce trends of 2024, shedding light on how retailers are thriving in international markets and meeting customer expectations. 

We focus on three crucial areas: 

  • Localisation 
  • Compliance 
  • Post-purchase experience 

Featuring insights from industry experts, we provide practical strategies to attract and retain international customers. Read on to discover cross-border trends and tactics that can help your eCommerce business succeed globally. 


Localisation is key to building customer trust, enhancing marketing effectiveness, improving the customer experience, and gaining a competitive edge. It involves adapting products, services, and content to meet the cultural, linguistic, and regulatory requirements of specific markets. This includes language translation, product relevancy, varied website functionalities, and tailored payment options. 

Alexander Otto, Head of Corporate Relations at Tradebyte reflects on how ‘Uncertainty amidst geopolitical instability has been a prevailing trend in 2024 cross-border eCommerce. Combine this with existing language, currency and cultural complexities of international trading and it’s clear that finding overseas sales is a challenge.’ 

He says, ‘Successful cross-border commerce is not just about sales revenue, however. It’s about a simplified approach that makes it more accessible, operationally efficient and, above all, profitable. The role of data is a vital element in this, enabling agility in market changes, uniformity in cross-market product data, an effective omnichannel approach, and strategies aligned with customer behaviour and preferences.’ 

Bill Schneider, VP of Product Marketing at SheerID observes that ‘As the internet expands, the world shrinks,’ and it’s become more important that retailers can support local languages. He says, ‘Both in translation and content editing, phrasing can make all the difference in showing you understand the customer — you’re one of them, not an outsider. At the end of the day, you are building a community, so you need to show it.’ 

To understand customer preferences in 2024, Burc Tanir, CEO at Prisync note that ‘retailers are enhancing market-specific strategies and leveraging data analytics.’ Alongside ‘competitive pricing, fast or free shipping, and robust return policies, they are including localised marketing strategies, emphasising local influencers and social media campaigns with content partnerships.’ 

Data from IMRG’s international customer survey (2023) showed that customers were most likely to see retailers’ products on social media, such as on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. By targeting customers with influencers that are popular within their region, retailers can generate more excitement around their products. 

 On the topic of pricing, Pete Robertshaw, Head of Commerce Consulting at Dark Matter Commerce, says ‘different regions have distinct preferences for payment methods. For instance, while credit cards might dominate one country, e-wallets or bank transfers could be more popular in another.’ 

 Pete continues, ‘Researching and integrating these preferred methods can enhance trust and convenience for your international customers. By handling these critical aspects, they help merchants overcome major challenges and remove the barriers often associated with taking goods and services to a global audience.’


Navigating the complexities of cross-border eCommerce requires adherence to various compliance regulations to ensure smooth operations and customer satisfaction. 

 As Andrew Harkness, Head of Performance Marketing at Huboo, highlights, ‘The landscape of cross-border eCommerce is evolving rapidly. For companies aiming to ensure their cross-border strategies are successful, I’d recommend ensuring they are registered for Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS), which simplifies VAT compliance for UK eCommerce businesses selling to EU customers.’ 

‘By registering for IOSS, companies can handle VAT payments and declarations in a single EU member state, streamlining the process and reducing administrative burdens.’ Andrew describes how ‘This not only ensures compliance with EU regulations but also enhances the customer experience by allowing VAT to be prepaid at the point of sale, avoiding unexpected charges and delays at customs.’ 

The introduction of new regulatory frameworks, such as the EU’s Import Control System 2 (ICS2), further underscores the importance of compliance in cross-border transactions.  

Heather Wight, Cross-Border Solutions Manager at Avalara, explains, ‘Technology continues to revamp the handling of international goods. For example, the EU’s new Import Control System (ICS2) requires additional safety and security information and the correct Harmonised Standard (HS) codes. This gives EU customs authorities greater visibility into the movement of goods, but also creates additional work for retailers.’ 

‘There are ways to deal with complex systems like ICS2, and, in some markets, the authorities will support investment,’ says Heather. ‘For example, if you’re selling into the U.S., many states will offset the cost of investing in technology to handle the complexity of their 13,000+ sales and use tax jurisdictions.’ 

Postpurchase experience 

As Sean Sherwin Smith, Product Director Post-Purchase at nShift notes, ‘Traditionally, consumers have been reluctant to embrace cross-border commerce with concerns relating to delivery lead times and cost.’  

‘However, we’re finding that retailers are increasingly overcoming this consumer nervousness’ through foregrounding the delivery experience and offering ‘fully branded, personalised final mile and returns journeys.’ Sean says, ‘This not only builds consumer confidence when it comes to buying from overseas, it also increases customer loyalty and accelerates time to the next purchase.’ 

Sean continues, ‘When looking at our own data we can see an increasing trend for cross-border commerce. In the first four months of 2024, shipments were up 2% and returns were up 11% compared to the same period the previous year. This data underlines the feeling that consumers are becoming increasingly confident to buy goods from overseas if they have a great experience.’  

Customer confidence in cross-border commerce is likely to increase if retailers prioritise three key things: 1. Upfront costs (46.3%), 2. Clear and accessible delivery and returns policies (47.9%), and 3. Quick delivery timeframes (45%) – source: IMRG research in collaboration with Avalara, which surveyed 1,000 customers – coming to you soon! 

Knowing that returns were up 11% in the first four months of 2024 (according to nShift data), it becomes increasingly important for retailers to ensure that this process is smooth and meets expectations. For example, IMRG found that most customers will not want to wait more than 14 days to receive a refund for a returned item. 

A standout trend for Angus Knights, Head of Product Success at parcelLab, is ‘the rise of eco-friendly delivery options, with 45% of international shoppers prioritising sustainability.’  

Additionally, Angus explores how ‘advanced tracking capabilities have improved transparency, reducing delivery-related anxieties for customers. Retailers optimising cross-border trade can focus on a seamless returns processes and robust customer service. As we progress through the year, we anticipate further innovations in AI-driven personalisation and sustainable practices, shaping the future of global eCommerce.’ 

In the words of Gavin Murphy, CMO at Scurri, ‘In today’s global marketplace, a robust cross-border delivery infrastructure isn’t just another box to tick, it’s a strategic imperative. Prioritising customer-centric delivery experiences enhances satisfaction, builds trust, and can ultimately fuel long-term success.’  

Gavin says it is also smart to ‘have access to last mile carriers in each market,’ but appreciates that this ‘infrastructure is a time-intensive task’ for retailers to carry out on their own.



Want to read more? Here are some other IMRG blogs that cover a range of ecommerce topics: 

Google Shopping Optimisation – Pricing, Titles, and More – IMRG 

The New & Innovative Ways Retailers Can Use AI In 2024 – IMRG 

Innovative Conversion Tactics Implemented By Retailers In 2024 – IMRG 

Ecommerce Merchandising: Optimising Product Displays, Recommendations, & Navigation – IMRG 

The Real Reasons Gen Z Are More Likely To Return Gifts Than Their Grandparents – IMRG 

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