Share this content

Capitalizing on the U.S. online market abroad

29th Nov 2017
Share this content

Almost half of all consistent online United States shoppers have bought or want to buy products from international retailers, and 36% of those shoppers are looking for products that can't be found in the United States.

So how is it that even with this demand, U.S. sales from United Kingdom companies made up only 24% of cross-border purchases? And how is it that for other companies inside the European Union, that number was even lower?

Build trust with customers by being upfront about shipping costs

Online shopping has changed the way consumers around the world engage with brands and purchase every day products. Where online shopping sometimes fails, however, is in the fees and shipping costs that can sometimes seem to come out of nowhere.

When products are coming from across borders and overseas, those costs tend to soar. More than 37% of consumers abandon their carts when they see the shipping costs because they don't realize how high the fees will be just to ship their goods across borders.

For international companies to tap into this market and build the kind of brand trust that turns one-time customers into lifelong buyers, they'll need to adjust their point of sale and shipping methods to appease their international consumers. Here's how:

1. Offer options — customers can be choosy.
For most consumers, the price of a product or service is one of the largest determining factors in their purchasing decision. But offering different shipping options can knock those fees down.

One route many e-tailers take is offering free shipping after a certain purchase amount. If you haven't already, calculate the point at which you can offer free shipping, and advertise that on your website.

Another option is to offer slower shipping at a lower cost; some customers are happy to wait an extra few business days for their goods if it means they're spending less. You'll be meeting choosier customers where they are, and they'll appreciate that.

2. Be upfront and transparent.
Most U.S. consumers understand that taxes, fees, and shipping are a part of the package. With over 12,000 different tax jurisdictions in the U.S. alone, they're keenly aware taxes and fees can change quickly.

What you don't want to do is hide these numbers and spring them on someone at the very last minute. Be open about the fees. Provide online international policies throughout the buying process or allow consumers to estimate their shipping and tax costs before they make the final decision to pay.

3. Get close to your customers before they buy.
One way to try to avoid international high shipping costs, especially if you have warehouses in the United States, is to find a U.S.-based fulfilment centre that will house your goods and deliver them without having to cross borders.

Before going down this path, you should determine whether or not it makes sense for your business by looking at your order history, forecasted sales, and long-term expansion plans. This does take some time and effort to establish, so make sure it's worth your investment before diving in.

As technology continues to give our global market space to thrive, the physical borders between countries will start to disappear. By keeping extra fees and shipping costs at the forefront of your mind, you're positioning your brand to take advantage of it.

Jesse Kaufman is CEO and founder of ShippingTree, a provider of cloud-based logistics and e-commerce fulfilment services for consumer product companies around the world. Through Jesse’s work with ShippingTree, he aims to streamline the supply chain by eliminating customs fees and expensive shipping costs for customers.

Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.