and Digital River Study Reveals: Big Opportunities Remain to Optimize Ecommerce Sites for Cross-Border Shoppers

Study surveyed 192 merchants across 10 countries

BOSTON and MINNEAPOLIS — Mar. 7, 2016— Cross-border sales are expected to account for about 15 percent of total global ecommerce sales by 2018, according to the latest X-Border Index powered by Digital River, a quarterly index that evaluates the readiness of global sites to manage cross-border ecommerce sales. The findings of the most recent index show that despite undeniable growth opportunities and the fact that more consumers are increasingly shopping on sites outside of their home country, cross-border commerce is still in its nascent stages and merchants remain unprepared to welcome international shoppers. According to the Index, the average merchant scored 57 on a scale of one to 100 (100 being the highest score) when it came to optimizing their sites for global shoppers.

For the index, researchers conducted an in-depth study on 192 merchants based in 10 countries, including Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. Nearly 60 attributes — from pricing and security, to payment types and shipping options — were evaluated for each site. While the overall index score of 57 is an improvement over last quarter’s average of 55, it shows merchants still have a long way to go to accommodate the preferences of global shoppers.

The index also found that China is continuing to push forward in its rise to cross border dominance. While the United States claimed the top spot for the fourth consecutive time, it did so by a mere one point margin: the U.S. scored 66 while China tallied 65.

There are a number of areas where China pushes the envelope and makes their “borders” more accessible than other countries, including:

  • Offering free shipping
  • Displaying six or more currencies
  • Displaying their sites in six or more languages
  • Tailoring address fields to shoppers’ locations

Still, there are categories where the U.S. continues to outpace its Chinese counterparts, including:

  • Optimizing sites for mobile use
  • Accepting a broad array of payment types
  • Offering rewards programs
  • Allowing check out without a user profile

Overall, the distribution of site scores narrowed this quarter. The top 10 sites declined while the bottom 10 improved. This, along with the drop in the overall index score, shows that it’s not easy to maintain all the features and functions needed to attract a cross border shopper. So, what can merchants do to improve?

According to the X-Border Index, the best cross border sites offer:

  • Six or more display languages: 60 percent of the best merchants allow their sites to display in six or more languages.
  • Six or more currencies: 80 percent of the best sites display six or more currencies — a top result that continues to be strong since last quarter.
  • Pre-populated address fields that are country-specific: 60 percent of the top sites tailor the address fields and pre-populate them with customers’ specific location, easing data entry and ensuring products arrive seamlessly.

The complete report detailing the findings of the X-Border Payments Optimization Index is now available. Access a copy of the report here.

Today, through its Digital River World Payments solution, Digital River offers a wide range of customizable services for managing the complete online payment lifecycle. These services, which work through a single payments connection, include solutions to manage PCI exposure and currency risk, as well as advanced back-office reconciliation services.

 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 one of 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. Through these services, Digital River connects 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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