Five Ways Merchants Can Maximize their Cross-Border Ecommerce Opportunity

By: Digital River Blog Team

Recent research has sized the cross-border ecommerce market at $300 billion. Is your business primed to capture your share of this opportunity?

Introducing a new payments industry index

Now you can test your business’ readiness against other companies around the world through a new quarterly index introduced by and Digital River. It’s called the X-Border Payments Optimization Index. It will give you a real world perspective on how prepared merchants are to handle the needs of international online shoppers and advice on how to capture more of the growing global online marketplace.

The Index is based on the research of more than 160 online stores, across more than 60 attributes, nine industry categories and 10 countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and the Netherlands, U.K. and U.S. It evaluated and ranked online merchants on their ability to conduct ecommerce on a global stage and cater to international shoppers.

Looking at the results

The results? The Index found the reality for most merchants is there is plenty of room for improvement – and it gave them a score. Based on a scale of 1 (low) to 100 (high), the online merchants’ aggregate score was 60 – marginally above average – when it comes to conducting global ecommerce. A number of variables impacted merchants’ grade and ultimately the international shopper’s experience, including language, currency, payment method and customer support options, among others.

U.S. leads in average cross-border ecommerce optimization

U.S. leads in average cross-border ecommerce optimization

Taking action to improve cross-border buying experience

To bring this score up and excel at cross-border commerce, according to the X-Border Payments Optimization Index, there are five things merchants need to do:

  1. Speak the local language:

    Merchants should support a minimum of six different languages on their site. Some of the highest ranking sites offered more than 21 languages while some of the lowest ranking sites were limited to a single language.

  2. Do the math:

    Present prices in local currency, offering 11 or more currency options that are pertinent to a buyer’s location. The highest ranking sites offered more than 20 local currency options. Meanwhile, some of the lowest ranking sites accepted payments in a single currency.

  3. Play the global card game:

    Accept the “big five” global payment brands and methods, including Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express, PayPal® and Diner’s Club International® cards.

  4. Keep help alive:

    Ensure customers have easy access to help when needed. The best sites gave global visitors an intuitive, easy-to-access way to get their questions answered. Sites that were not optimized for a global consumer, required customers to submit an online form and wait for the merchant to get back to them at a later time.

  5. Slim down checkout:

    Minimize the number of pages that customers must navigate to complete their checkout process – aiming for completion in less than 90 seconds. The most optimized sites, helped consumers zip from homepage to checkout in five pages.

Getting your copy of the Index

The complete report detailing the findings of the X-Border Payments Optimization Index is now available. To get your copy of the report, click here.

For more information on the results and expert commentary, you’re also invited to join us for a live 60-minute webinar on Thursday, May 21, 2015, at 12 p.m. EDT. Speakers Karen Webster, CEO of PYMNTS, and Rick Barbari, group vice president at Digital River World Payments, will share their thoughts on the most important insights gleaned from the research.

Send us your thoughts on improving your cross-border experience via the comments field below.

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