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E‐Commerce » Trends, Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 02.02.2015

Grabbing the global potential of ecommerce

Delivery options are extremely important when it comes to conversion rates - i.e. the numbers of people who convert from simply visiting a site to actually purchasing something from that site. In a recent report, the consumer watchdog Which? found that when it came to ecommerce in 2014, a third of all customer complaints related to delivery problems.

Your ecommerce store links your business with a massive potential customer base, right around the world. If you're not getting as many international orders as you were anticipating, this may mean that you still need to take a few vital steps to make your ecommerce store more appealing to international customers:

Language and culture

If you're targeting speakers of other languages, it's worth making the effort to get the language right. As impressive as the developments in automatic translation are, the technology still has a long way to go. For the time being at least, hiring a native speaker to translate your content is vital. A native speaker will also be sensitive to cultural differences and sensitivities which could inadvertently reflect badly on your brand. Elements of your site as innocuous as product names, symbols or even colours could carry connotations within other cultures that you need to be aware of.

Technical hurdles

It needs to be just as easy for international customers to purchase from your site as it is for locals. In fact, they should hardly notice that they're purchasing from another country. This means offering a range of international payment options, and making sure that your site can handle foreign characters and international address formats. Ideally, utilise a software solution that allows users to start to type a fragment of their address before being prompted with a complete, accurate and fully validated address.

International delivery

Ensure you can offer a reliable international order fulfilment process, and use trusted international parcel services. Provide as much information about your shipping costs and international delivery times as possible, upfront. Research the tax, VAT or duty issues that apply to any country you may ship to, and include this as part of your pricing and payments system. This can be complex, but there are online resources that can help you to navigate international sales rules. Don't leave the customer with any nasty surprises or surcharges when they receive their parcel.

Returns policy

It takes a lot of trust for a customer to order from an overseas company for the first time. You can help to build that trust by providing offering a clear, easy returns policy.

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