How to Expand Your E-Commerce Reach Internationally

by Neal Kaiser

Q: What are the biggest finance-related challenges that prevent e-retailers from succeeding when they expand internationally?

Neal-Kaiser-Upshot-Commerce-medium-150x150Neal Kaiser: Three things can hamper success for e-commerce retailers expanding to new global markets: displayed currency, shipping and landed costs.

Not surprisingly, international customers prefer to see the price of merchandise in their local currency. In conjunction with site translations, local currency display lets shoppers feel welcome to interact with brand and shop your site. E-commerce platforms with instant currency conversion make it easy the customer to understand the accurate cost of an item — and guard against unwelcome exchange rate surprises after they’ve made a purchase.

Shipping internationally can often prove costly. While a small transaction in the United States may cost a few dollars in shipping, the price of shipping the same merchandise to Canada could be more than 10 times greater. Making your international shipping policy and costs obvious up front — and making it competitive relative to other vendors — will help guard against cart abandonment when international customers get to checkout.

Landed costs are also an important factor in international e-commerce transactions. As with shipping, if customers end up surprised by duties or taxes they are more likely to abandon carts at checkout. Moreover, if duties and taxes aren’t made clear (and included) in their initial merchandise cost, international customers may refuse to accept delivery of merchandise.