How Cross-Border eCommerce is Changing the Game for Online Retailers

How Cross-Border eCommerce is Changing the Game for Online Retailers

When growing your business, one of the best strategies is to maximize your reach. Extending your business beyond your home country can be a great way to grow your customer base, boost profits, and gain an international reputation for your brand. This is known as cross-border eCommerce, and it's crucial in today's eCommerce environment.

From local to global: How cross-border eCommerce is redefining the game

Cross-border commerce has effectively shifted the landscape for online retailers of all types. Today, businesses have the chance to expand their reach globally with the help of these strategies. 

Cross-border eCommerce is particularly successful today. This type of eCommerce comprises 22 percent of all eCommerce shipments of physical products. Also, 67% of people all over the world buy from countries outside their own because of the lower prices. It gives your business the chance to appeal to many looking for great deals when you offer them.

You'll benefit in many ways from going beyond your country's borders with your business. For example, you can access new markets you wouldn't normally be able to reach. Also, add more cross-border consumers to your customer base, and diversify revenue streams. In addition, your brand could receive recognition across the globe as you spread far and wide. Moreover, you'll ultimately be able to get and stay ahead of competitors that are staying within their borders.

Ultimately, you can flourish with your company if you opt for cross-border eCommerce as an online retailer, regardless of your industry. 

Overcoming challenges in cross-border eCommerce

While cross-border eCommerce can be great for your business, it isn't without its potential challenges. You may have a somewhat difficult time succeeding with cross-border commerce. However, the right approach will help you overcome these struggles. 

Some of the main challenges you may face include language barriers and currency issues, with several others potentially getting in the way of your progress. The following are some of the core challenges and how to overcome them as you navigate the cross-border landscape.

Cultural and language barriers

Two of the biggest hurdles you'll need to get over include the cultural and language barriers between you and your international customers. You can get around these problems by utilizing certain language tools and localization for eCommerce. 

Language tools could include different types of reliable translation software to assist with the creation of translated content and communications. For instance, you might use various plugins that you can install in your browser to translate on a whim at any time.

Meanwhile, localized eCommerce experiences can carry your global customers through a complete journey from lead to the loyal shopper. You can create localized websites for each audience that speak to their cultural and linguistic differences. This is to help you establish a strong connection with each of your target markets.

Regulatory and legal complexities

Another area that can get a bit difficult is that legal and regulatory compliance. You'll have to deal with international customs, taxes, licenses, and other types of paperwork that can be daunting and confusing. 

If you're not an experienced expert in global compliance when it comes to eCommerce, you're better off turning to others who are. You can conduct some thorough research on your own. This is to determine items such as import and export rules, invoicing requirements, taxes, and duties. You may also get some help through legal partnerships. Through joint ventures with others in your target countries and jurisdictions. Which in case you can make an agreement based on objectives, money in and money out, and management.

Compliance management solutions can also help ensure consistent compliance in every jurisdiction where you do business. 

Payment and currency issue

Two other possible issues include the currencies and payment options available in different jurisdictions. Your international customers shouldn't have to calculate exchange rates alone. Moreover, they should be able to purchase products using their preferred convenient methods.

You can overcome these specific challenges by using various payment methods to help manage currency fluctuations in each jurisdiction. Another potential solution is a cross-payment solution. The one that automatically calculates exchange rates for consumers, so they know exactly what they'll pay before buying your products.

Logistics and shipping challenges

Just about every industry is suffering in the way of logistics and shipping, with disrupted supply chains and difficulties handling international shipping. However, you don't have to avoid branching out if you employ the right solutions in this area.

There are several potential channels you can use to overcome logistics and shipping challenges. One of these is supply chain management solutions. This will help keep things running smoothly from obtaining supplies. Also, in manufacturing warehousing, distribution, and delivery. Following customs procedures regularly and employing fulfillment solutions can also improve shipping and logistics. 

The right technology can also help with logistics. The right solution allows you to easily track all supplies and deliverables across the supply chain. Track inventory during transport, storage, and distribution at all times using reliable software and remote management.

Trust me, I'm international: Winning hearts and wallets in the global marketplace

Cross-border consumers have a shared mindset and unique preferences that you can satisfy with cross-border commerce and localization for eCommerce. 

Some of the aspects that set these consumers apart include:

  • These individuals have more exposure to many types of international products. They may spend a lot of time online. For example, and come across many international products through online ads and social media recommendations. Also, in any other channels that make them eager to give them a try. As more people in these jurisdictions get ahold of your products, the more exposure others will have to them over time, gradually expanding your market.
  • They're more eager to spend more on products that they can't easily obtain in their local market. This includes higher prices on goods and shipping to get what they want from a trusted eCommerce brand.
  • Cross-border consumers may also want your products during certain seasons. Or other times when demand peaks, keep your products selling well year-round when targeting multiple global markets that experience seasonal changes and holidays at different times of the year.
  • International shoppers prefer brands that are popular beyond their borders. As they represent widespread appeal and quality that make them more eager to do business with them.
  • They look for the best value with every purchase, the ideal balance of price and quality. In the process, they look for companies with the most competitive pricing, compelling discounts, and enticing promotional offers that make every purchase worthwhile.
  • These consumers tend to prefer online platforms over in-store buying experiences, and they want to buy from global marketplaces or retailers that provide them with the best experience. This perfect experience consists of seamless shopping, fast shipping, reliable customer service, and transparent return policies, among other advantages that they may not find with exclusively local brands.

In a nutshell

If you can meet or exceed the expectations of these unique shoppers, you'll have a much better chance of turning them into long-term customers that come to love your brand and offerings. By appealing to these individuals, you can penetrate their respective markets and build a solid foothold in those jurisdictions. 

There are many ways you can go about earning cross-border customers' trust. One method would be to offer exceptional customer service—answer any questions that your customers have, and work to resolve all potential issues to show that you value their experience. Another way to win these people over is to use localization for eCommerce, which will involve adapting websites and content to speak to these markets. You can also enhance their experience by offering personalized product recommendations based on their interests and past orders, keeping them invested in your offerings.

They did it, so you can too

Many brands today use cross-border commerce strategies to connect with audiences everywhere. Here are a couple of the most notable examples out there and what they've achieved with it:

Amazon: The cross-border eCommerce empire that knows no boundaries

Over the years, Amazon has grown into one of the world's leading global retailers and is arguably the biggest eCommerce giant. The company owes much of its success to its ability to expand its reach and conquer new markets worldwide. 

Amazon began as an online bookstore in 1994, eventually expanding its products and taking hold of the markets across many countries. It went on to sell nearly any product imaginable through its online hub, and it has even established itself as major competition for brick-and-mortar businesses as it's developed physical retail locations such as Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh.

The pandemic in 2020 further helped Amazon expand as people became ever-reliant on eCommerce, turning to Amazon to meet many of their needs while providing the utmost convenience. 

Typically, the company targets countries that are seeing a surge in eCommerce sales, hoping to take advantage of those numbers and turn those sales into their own. As a result of this strategy, Amazon has given opportunities to cross-border buyers and sellers alike in a long list of countries, including:

  • U.S.
  • Canada
  • U.K.
  • India
  • France
  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • France
  • Spain
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • China
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Turkey
  • Singapore
  • Japan

In these efforts, Amazon has become the most well-known eCommerce brand in the world, taking over much of the competition across the globe. With the right strategy, you can take Amazon's cue to develop your brand and make a lasting connection with cross-border consumers.

Alibaba: From China to the world, cross-border eCommerce unleashed!

Alibaba is another brand to look out for when it comes to cross-border eCommerce. While Amazon is in the lead by far, Alibaba is just as well-known today: One study found that 27% of cross-border consumers in the world have stated that their last purchase was with Amazon, but 17% made their last purchase via Alibaba's AliExpress marketplace. 

Alibaba got its humble start in 1999 as Alibaba Group Holding in China and has continued to expand globally ever since. As the years progressed, the brand rapidly grew into one of the world's leading eCommerce brands, just behind Amazon.  

Alibaba's secret strategy

One of Alibaba's recent moves to optimize its cross-border operations has been to partner with authorities in its home country, specifically the authorities in Hangzhou, which is the capital of China's eastern Zhejiang province. The goal here is to enable more of China's exporters to reach markets abroad as their mainland business suffers.

Another notable development that has helped Alibaba in its cross-border efforts is the release of Alibaba Cloud. This comprehensive cloud-based solution provides businesses of all types to connect with markets anywhere in the world. Alibaba Cloud gives business owners plenty of features that can help them efficiently spread to markets in other countries, allowing for increased sales and profits. Businesses using the platform have access to global markets, with solutions allowing them to increase their visibility, choose from many payment options to offer their customers, and provide the ideal customer service experience to customers.

In short, Alibaba has come a long way and remains fairly stiff competition for Amazon. Alibaba's recent partnership with the authorities in Hangzhou shows how establishing these types of connections may help your business expand globally with cross-border eCommerce.

Ready, set, grow: Cross-border commerce for the bold and brilliant!

Cross-border commerce is crucial for any business's long-term success in today's competitive eCommerce environment. Companies that manage to develop solid bonds with cross-border consumers are likely to flourish in this evolving landscape. 

Through cross-border eCommerce efforts, your business will be able to benefit in numerous ways as you expand your markets and build lasting connections with consumers from all over. You'll be able to more easily increase sales and revenue, satisfy year-round demand, increase your brand's visibility and recognition, and stay on top of competitors in your industry. 

The key is knowing what strategies and solutions to use for cross-border eCommerce. You can do everything from building partnerships and joint ventures to using language tools and market research to appeal to each target market's culture and language differences. With the right approach, you'll have the chance to dominate the competition as you gain loyal cross-border customers.


Berkem Peker

Berkem Peker is a growth strategist at Storyly. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the Middle East Technical University. He/him specializes in growth frameworks, growth strategy & tactics, user engagement, and user behavior. He enjoys learning new stuff about data analysis, growth hacking, user behavior.

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