Is your website ready for international ecommerce?
With the steady growth in ecommerce throughout the last decade, your customers are extremely accustomed to online shopping. They have preferences when it comes to shipping options, delivery times, and pricing. There are plenty of alternatives if your website doesn’t cater to your customer’s specific needs.
This is especially true when considering your business’s international audience. Your global and domestic customers have different needs. Are you maximizing your sales potential and effectively catering to your global audience’s preferences?
Below are six questions to consider as you are evaluating if your website is catering to and communicating well with your international audience:
1. Do you clearly state that you accept international orders?
You do not want to assume that those visiting your website will know that your products are available to ship worldwide. We recommend that your shipping information page includes a list of countries you are able to ship to and any caveats to international shipping.
2. Is your website available in multiple languages, and does your shopping cart display local currencies?
In-browser translation services are not always reliable, and you don’t want to assume that international customers will be able to navigate an English site when that may not their first language. More than half of international shoppers won’t buy from a website that is not in their native language.
It is recommended that you localize your website. This includes not only translating the important landing pages, but rather taking a comprehensive approach by updating currency information, shopping cart information, and images as necessary. When updating prices to a local currency, be sure to round odd numbers to avoid unusual price points.
At each phase of the customer journey, you should be ready to provide information these shoppers can understand and relate to.
Wondering where to get started? Identify where your international web traffic is coming from so you can identify languages to prioritize. While there are ways to translate your website automatically, be sure to have a human proofread to ensure your translations read smoothly and maintain your brand’s voice.
3. Do you offer an express shipping option for international customers?
As retailer’s online shipping offerings have increased, so have customer’s expectations on speed, delivery options and price. 89% of customers consider two-day shipping the baseline for fast delivery. To best appeal to your international audience, be sure to provide multiple shipping options, with an express shipping option selected as the default shipping method.
4. Do you offer delivery tracking options and communicate which carrier you use?
Customers appreciate increased visibility. Expected ship date, delivery date, tracking number, and any other logistics details should be provided for all international shipments.
5. Do you offer an all-inclusive “duties and taxes paid” pricing, or tell customers to expect additional international shipping charges?
Make sure you understand the specific duties and taxes associated with selling in an international market before shipments begin reaching customers. By using a Delivery Duties Paid (DDP) option at checkout, you can ensure that your customers won’t encounter surprise charges down the road. You can communicate this with customers during checkout.
If you decide not to use DDP, be sure to provide transparency on the amount of taxes your customer will need to pay before receiving their goods. As duties and taxes are changing consistently, be sure to monitor changes and how they may need to impact the selling price of your products.
6. Do you offer returns for international purchases?
International buyers tend to return goods less frequently than domestic shoppers, but this does not mean that they shouldn’t have the option to return products.
When an international shopper decides to make a return or exchange, you can streamline this process for them by making the process easy, intuitive, and fast. This may mean giving customers choices on how they make their return, or shipping replacement goods before you get back their original purchase. Clearly communicate your return/exchange policy with your customers upfront in order to set clear expectations on how the process will work.
Preferred Shipping provides small and medium businesses with efficient and cost-effective shipping solutions. If you have questions on how to implement these best practices, our international shipping experts can help!