PYMNTS and Digital River Study Measures Merchant Preparedness to Capture the More than $300 Billion Cross-Border Ecommerce Opportunity

News Highlights:

  • Inaugural X-Border Payments Optimization IndexTM quantifies online merchant preparedness to meet the needs of cross-border shoppers
  • Research identifies cross-border payments friction points and strategies for online merchants to capitalize on the growing cross-border opportunity
  • Study finds that highest ranking global ecommerce sites offer consumers at least six language options and 11 or more currencies

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BOSTON and MINNEAPOLIS — May 5,, the premier source of news and commentary on innovation in payments and commerce, and Digital River, a leading global provider of Commerce-as-a-Service solutions, today announced the release of the X-Border Payments Optimization Index. The new Index, which will be published quarterly, quantifies the friction in the online cross-border purchasing process. The report goes into detail on merchant preparedness to handle the needs of international shoppers and offers suggestions on how merchants can capitalize on the growing opportunity in the global online marketplace. The Index assessed 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.

“According to recent industry estimates, with three billion people using mobile Internet-connected devices, cross-border ecommerce revenue is expected to exceed $300 billion in the next three years. In light of the large opportunity, it’s essential for merchants around the world to take the steps necessary to be successful on the global stage,” said Rick Barbari, group vice president for Digital River World Payments, the company’s full-service global payments solution. “This new Index will help online merchants pin-point specific actions they can take to more successfully convert international shoppers into buyers.”

The Index found that a majority of online merchants are not fully prepared to effectively welcome the influx of global shoppers. Based on the Index scale of 1(low) to 100 (high) — online merchants’ aggregate score was 60 — marginally above average — when it comes to conducting global ecommerce.

A number of key findings emerged from the X-Border Payments Optimization Index research, including:

  • Performance by geography: The U.S., followed closely by China, was the most welcoming to cross-border customers and best equipped to making cross-border commerce easier for the consumer. In contrast, Mexican websites presented significant barriers to consumers’ cross-border purchases. Based on the Index, S.-based sites scored the highest (74), followed by Chinese sites (64); Mexican sites scored the lowest (44).
  • Performance by industry segment: Travel sites offered the best cross-border shopping experience for consumers and represent five of the top 10 most optimized sites in the study. On the other hand, specialty stores presented the greatest amount of cross-border friction. Travel sites had the highest index score (71), followed by mass merchants (65); specialty sites scored the lowest (55).

In addition to providing performance benchmarks, the Index also offers merchants specific action items for growing their cross-border customer base. According to the X-Border Payments Optimization Index, there are five things merchants need to do, and do well, to excel at cross-border commerce:

  1. Speak the local language: Support a minimum of six different languages on their site.
  2. Do the math: Present prices in local currency, offering 11 or more currency options that are pertinent to a buyer’s location.
  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®
  4. Keep help alive: Ensure customers have easy access to help when needed.
  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 complete report detailing the findings of the X-Border Payments Optimization Index is now available. Access a copy of the report here.

The results of the study will be presented as part of 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 provide commentary on the most important insights gleaned from the research.

In 2014, Digital River processed more than $35 billion dollars in online transactions across more than 240 countries and territories. Today, through its Digital River World Payments solution, the company offers a wide range of customizable services for managing the complete payment lifecycle. These services, which work through a single payments connection, include checkout page optimization, A/B testing, real-time fraud detection, solutions to manage PCI exposure and currency risk, as well as advanced back-office reconciliation services and business intelligence tools.

About is reinventing the way in which companies in payments share relevant information about the initiatives that shape the future of payments and commerce and make news. This powerful B2B platform is the #1 site for the payments and broader commerce ecosystem by traffic and the premier source of information about “what’s next” in payments. C-suite and VP level executives turn to it daily for these insights, making the audience the most valuable in the industry. It provides an interactive platform for companies to demonstrate thought leadership, popularize products and, most importantly, capture the mindshare of global decision-makers., where the best minds and best content meet on the web to learn “What’s Next” in Payments and Commerce.

About Digital River, Inc.
Backed by 20 years of ecommerce experience, Digital River is recognized as a leading global provider of Commerce-as-a-Service solutions. Companies of all sizes rely on Digital River’s cloud-based commerce, payments and marketing services to manage and grow their online businesses. In 2014, Digital River processed more than $35 billion in online transactions, connecting B2B and B2C digital products companies and branded manufacturers with buyers across multiple devices and channels, and nearly every country in the world.

Digital River is headquartered in Minneapolis with offices across the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America. For more details about Digital River, visit the corporate website, read the Digital River Blog, follow the company on Twitter or call +1 952-253-1234.

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