By; Abhishek Agarwal, CEO & Founder, Globepanda
When consumers buy online from merchants located in other countries and jurisdictions cross border trade takes place. It is of course demand that drives the e-commerce industry but the demand is a big term which has certain defining aspects that drive it. Below are the key drivers in cross border e-commerce –
1) Internet Penetration
The people in developed countries are more satisfied with the products they purchase than the people in developing countries. This is because the people in developed countries have seen every product or what comes closest to it whereas in developing countries the hunger to use and see new products is more with people not set in their shopping ways. This is the reason big brands have so many loyal customers in developed countries. Internet penetration is important to raise awareness among customers as it helps them browse through products on the go and is ideal for the fast-paced life they are living.
2) Payment Options
Payment options are the final thing customers look at once the product hooks them. Most cross border online shoppers prefer to pay with a credit card. An option for customers to complete transaction in their own currency is one of the biggest USP’s of shopping along with the payment gateway’s reputation for protecting buyer data and facilitating secure transactions.
The culture of the country a cross border e-commerce company is targeting is one of the massive driving force behind the success and failure of a company. Research about consumer buying tastes and preferences gives a company insight into what strategy they should adopt to market their brand and promote their products. Collaborating with local brands that people are familiar with or offering similar products to the ones which people already use has higher chance of success.
4) Customer Service
Customer service is important both to retain the customers and acquire new ones. Efforts from customer service representative to speak and connect with customers in their own language are appreciated and known to create loyalty. This creates a strong base of loyal customers who can give you positive feedback which will then influence others to purchase from you and come out of their doubts about your company and your products.
5) Express Delivery and International Shipping
Fast delivery and free international shipping are the norms of cross border e-commerce industry which companies need to meet. Order tracking is a feature which most companies now offer so that the customers can track their order in real time but even with this feature if international shipping is not provided free of cost it serves a huge detractor when it comes to buying. Customer don’t mind paying for products which are highly priced than others if other companies are not charging any shipping fee.
6) Make the most of mobile experience
Smartphones users are rapidly growing in developing countries like India and in the smartphone world it is very important to have a mobile friendly. The mobile first mindset is a psychological phenomenon which most online business are set to benefit from soon as ordering products online will be a mobile phone thing just like data recharge. Games, books, movies, and more were not always thought of with the mobile first mindset, it is something that Google Play store and Apple App Store worked hard to achieve. Walmart current uses a tool which helps it catch the prices of other websites and then offer an e-gift card with their product that adjust the difference between the same product offered by another company so that people shop from Walmart. Features such as screen adjuster which adjust the website of the company to the size of the screen are popular among companies as they aim to maximize user interaction. The major part of appeal for mobile is its convenience and how it provides information at the fingertips which corporates cannot afford to miss.
Scalability is one of the key drivers for companies as they are continuously looking to grow and expand. For companies to stay in operation they need to be able to take care of both orders and returns which need to happen at a fast pace as slowing down means loss of trade. Businesses need to facilitate fast checkouts and maximize the amount of orders which can be placed along with timely return collection so that customers know that you are to remain in the fast lane.