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A record number of shoppers now prefer direct ecommerce, with the percent of consumers expecting to purchase directly from a brand’s website growing at a dramatic rate. And with global ecommerce sales climbing to nearly $5 billion in 2020, companies can’t afford not to have a strong direct-to-consumer strategy.

Making the transition to selling directly to consumers around the world requires a fresh look at everything from your customer acquisition strategies to marketing and fulfillment. It also means you'll need strong behind-the-curtain operations like payment processing, tax record keeping, fraud prevention, and regulatory compliance—all at global scale.

The payoff can be amazing, but it isn't easy. Here are just some of the localization challenges you'll have to overcome when expanding globally, and how the right partner can help you gain onshore advantages through hyper-localization:

CHALLENGE: Complicated import and export regulations and restrictions.

SOLUTION: A partner that can offer local buying experiences.

CHALLENGE: Increased financial and legal risk.

SOLUTION: A partner that’s responsible and accountable for anything that comes under global regulatory compliance, global tax management, fraud management, and payment processing.

CHALLENGE: Increased levels of payment processing declines.

SOLUTION: A partner well-versed in local transaction routing.

CHALLENGE: The high cost of investing in local infrastructure.

SOLUTION: A partner that offers already established local entities.

To navigate these new challenges, it's important to choose an ecommerce and payments platform that can tie together your content and sales strategies with bullet-proof back-office processes covering tax, fraud, compliance, and risk management. A service provider with an API-driven seller-of-record model can power online transactions on a global basis. This means your business doesn't have to figure out the ins and outs of each country's regulations. Instead, you can deliver frictionless ecommerce customer experiences in new markets.

Let's dive into some of these issues.


Regulatory compliance spans an incredibly wide range of issues, but is effectively about laws that apply to finance, sales and related data privacy and international trade and tax issues. The pace and rate of change in regulatory compliance pose a significant financial and legal risk to ecommerce. Entering some of the most difficult regulatory requirements, there are plenty of stateside regulatory requirements. There are also plenty of stateside regulatory and compliance issues to contend with as well.

The penalties and legal ramifications for falling out of compliance can be severe. That's why brands need to make sure they have the right technology, processes, and people in place before selling into new markets.


Of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) member states have implemented e-transaction laws.


Of online consumers consider data privacy and security as very important factors when deciding where to buy.


Of UNCTAD member states have implemented cybercrime laws and 58% have implemented data protection and privacy laws.


Competing in today's market and reaching new customers here and around the world, brands need to provide multiple buying options—including building a robust direct to consumer (D2C) ecommerce channel. The first thing that often comes to mind is building an ecommerce store that provides outstanding customer experiences. They immediately start thinking about what it means to create a site with a sleek design and great UX.

But to provide outstanding customer experiences, you also need to align your back-office processes to accommodate your direct ecommerce strategy.

After all, switching from selling your products wholesale to selling on an individual basis could require a significant change in your accounting, shipping, payment processing, fulfillment, order management systems, and other back-office operations. Offering preferred local payments methods, a smooth checkout process and timely delivery is just as important as UX design for keeping customers happy.

While there are full-stack solutions available, brands today are taking a more modular approach for greater flexibility, speed, innovation, and scalability. Here are some of the features, functions, and services to consider, as you pull together the right solution for your specific business:

Experience Platform

Experience Platform (CMS & DXP)

Commerce Platform

Commerce Platform

Payment Gateway

Payment Gateway

Fraud Prevention Platform

Fraud Prevention Platform

Tax Management Platformm

Tax Management Platformm

Order Management System

Order Management System

Additional Integrations

Additional Integrations


Building a compliance group and enacting the right policies and processes starts by prioritizing your risks to see which kinds of issues (security, privacy, etc.) are most likely to put your business on the radar of regulators.

For instance, do you want to:

Expand your footprint internationally?

GDPR in Europe, CCPA in California, the Great Firewall in China. How are you going to deal with all these different, overlapping concerns and guidelines?

Grow your digital channel or create a direct-to-consumer channel?

Depending on what you’re selling, what different products, there can be different regulatory rules that apply. And the risks may be different if you’re selling digital goods or services (software, subscription services) or physical goods, because different regulations can apply. It can be lot more complex if you’re selling physical goods into different countries, for example.

Review the most relevant regulations to your business and build a framework for operations around that—while making sure that all of your processes are tailored to the specific geographies in which you operate.

Finding the Right Partner

Partnerships are critical to addressing these challenges in a holistic and efficient way, ensuring you stay compliant and keep both your business and customers safe. Look for partners that have a large global footprint, but also have experience helping brands like yours in the specific markets you want to target.

Digital River acts as a seller-of-record with a consistent approach in markets around the world. Our API-driven platform connects online transactions and back-office processes, including tax, fraud, compliance, and risk management, and our global footprint means we already have expertise and, most importantly, business relationships with banks and regulators in every sector.

Find out more at