Attract Cross-Border Shoppers, Grow Your Domestic Sales By Amalia A. Thomas

by Cruz Alvarado on January 22, 2019


Summary: By 2022, cross-border transactions will make up 20% of all global ecommerce. Start now to sell globally from your existing site.

Advancements in smartphone technology and low-cost data plans have empowered digital populations in emerging markets to come online and engage with global brands more than ever. Half of the world’s population—nearly 4 billion people—will be online by the end of 2019, and 84% of users worldwide will access the Internet on a smartphone this year, says eMarketer.

This is exciting news for retailers, as there are millions of new consumers you can reach and convert on your existing ecommerce site with minimal effort. Odds are cross-border shoppers are already visiting your site—within the CJ Affiliate network, 96% of our advertisers and publishers last year received visits from cross-border shoppers. The key is to ensure you truly understand the cross-border shopper, what is important to them, and how to convert them.

I’ve outlined the key characteristics of cross-border shoppers and how to solve for their needs.

The Cross-Border Shopper…

  • Values Unique Brands and Authentic Products  

Cross-border shoppers purchase from non-native retailers, even if the website is not translated, because they’re seeking a specific product or brand not sold in their local market. Cosmetics, apparel, and luxury accessories are their top items. These shoppers are not necessarily price-sensitive either. In a Pitney-Bowes survey, shoppers in China, India, South Korea, and Mexico rated “product quality and authenticity” and “brand name” as top factors driving them to shop cross-border more important than price itself.

  1. Seeks a Smooth Mobile Checkout

Considering their high-rate of smartphone usage, a simple path to purchase on a mobile device is critical to converting cross-border shoppers. Many cross-border shoppers are mobile-only and are more likely to complete a purchase on sites with responsive navigation and easy international payment options, such as PayPal and FedEx Cross Border. A user-friendly mobile experience can make or break the deal with potential cross-border buyers.

  • Is Willing to Wait, With High Expectations

The borderless ecommerce shopper is willing to accept shipping delays to get what they want and is savvy when it comes to shipping options. For example, many Chinese shoppers utilize freight forwarding vendors to aggregate large shipping orders when a retailer doesn’t ship to their market. The flip side of this willingness to wait is a heightened sensitivity to a bad shipping or product experience. Cross-border shoppers who experience a snafu with shipping or feel let down by a product that doesn’t match its site description will move onto a competitor for future purchases.

  1. Shops Global Retail Events  

These shoppers show up for major overseas retail shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day, and Boxing Day. They know retailers release their best deals on these days and will postpone cross-border buying to get products they seek at a good price. By making international payment and shipping policies easy to find, retailers can help cross-border shoppers see their site as “cross-border friendly.”

By paying attention to cross-border shopping characteristics and making simple tweaks to meet their needs, you’ll expand domestic revenue opportunities with this growing market.

Amalia A. Thomas is Director of Global Initiatives at CJ Affiliate’s New York City Office. This article appeared in issue 45 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2019: Visit Here


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