As web designers, we’re regularly making recommendations to our clients about how their website can give them the most bang for their buck. One of the ways that we do that is by encouraging them to participate in international ecommerce. For a new business, it’s much cheaper to start by selling online than it is by leasing commercial space. For existing businesses with a storefront, international ecommerce is a way to expand their reach beyond their neighbourhood.
Global opportunity, global challenges
When we outfit our clients’ website with ecommerce capabilities, we get to see their business’ potential come to life in a much broader way. But with the opportunity to sell to someone halfway around the world comes the immediate challenges of international transactions.
I recently read a great article in Forbes about these extra factors businesses should be thinking about when diving into international ecommerce. Writer Karsten Strauss uses insights from ecommerce expert Craig Vodnik to give sellers great solutions.
1. Flexible Pricing
“The wider you sell your products, the more market prices you’ve got to be aware of and make changes accordingly, if you can. ‘If you sell a product competitively for £50 in the UK, converting that product to U.S. dollars results in a product that costs about $80 in the U.S.,’ explains Vodnik. ‘However, competitors in the U.S. might price their product at $50, so even though you are pricing in the local currency, you are not priced competitively and price conscious shoppers will abandon your site for a competitor’s.’
2. Currencies are confusing
“’Despite the fact that it’s easier than ever to convert currencies, seeing an unfamiliar currency on an ecommerce site is confusing to a lot of people and can lead to the abandonment of online shopping carts. To decrease e-commerce friction and cart abandonment, set prices in every relevant local currency,’ says Vodnik.”
3. Local Payment
“Asking your online customers to pay in a way they are not accustomed can make them suspicious and creates friction to purchase that will cut into your revenue. You can make them feel at home by working with what they know. ‘In Germany, for example, wire transfers are the most important local payment method,’ explained Vodnik. ‘Whereas in Japan, the Konbini payment method is a popular alternative, representing nearly 40% of some of our clients’ Japanese transactions.’”