Cross-border e-commerce players can ship their goods all over the world, putting them in a unique position to interact with many different customs and languages. As a tool for cultural exchange, e-commerce is one of the best. However, to remain as effective as possible, those businesses would be wise to adapt to meet local buyers’ expectations and make their processes as user-friendly as possible.
The question is, how does an e-business in one country adjust its website, customer service, shipping options and other factors to match those of an entirely different country? The answer lies with powerful third-party logistics options.
Take Landmark Global, for example. Using proprietary software, the logistics provider can offer e-tailers with the means and flexibility to match local shopper preferences. Let’s examine a few different instances where an e-tailer can use this kind of technology to better serve customers all over the world.
Bridge the language gap
If a customer arrives at a webshop in a foreign language, chances are that shopper will not stay there long. Fortunately, modern internet technology can translate webpages automatically in many cases, but that is just a temporary fix – relying on automatic translation tools is no way to conduct international business. Even if that foreign customer goes through with a purchase, there is a chance something will get lost in translation. Not only that, but simple website translations do not factor in continued customer support during fulfillment.
A better strategy is to leverage a software platform and a 24/7 international team to translate not just your website but your entire system of customer support. That means an e-shopper in Beijing who wants to check on the status of an order purchased from Germany can dial up and speak to a fulfillment representative on Beijing time and in Mandarin.
International buying experiences are not made simple solely through aligning language needs. Other factors play roles as well, and payment options is one of the most important. There are two components that make up efficient, user-friendly e-tail payments:
- Currency conversions
- Local payment options
It should not be the customer’s responsibility to ensure he or she is using the correct currency calculations when placing an order – given how simple the math often is, currency conversion is a function e-tailers should embed directly into their online stores. This simple tool helps e-shoppers immensely by guaranteeing the price they see at first glance is, in fact, the correct option. To take it a step further, Landmark Global’s platform can identify the consumer’s region based on a geo-IP address and automatically display the correct currency.
The second item requires a bit more nuance. Online buyers in different regions have various payment preferences, ranging from debit and credit cards to bank invoices to PayPal or other digital services. E-tailers that know their target market well will be able to identify the most popular options in that area and offer them as options in their webstores. These businesses will not lose out on potential transactions simply because they do not support the customer’s preferred payment method.
The perfect delivery
Just like payment preferences, different consumer groups will have different fulfillment expectations, too. For e-tailers to get a strong foothold in a new market, they must understand local needs – and delivery time and location play big roles. Since so much e-tail is about outperforming competitors in the same industry, the more e-businesses know about their consumer groups, the more they can differentiate themselves.
Delivery is an important aspect of behaving like a local business. For example, most Brazilians prefer to have items delivered through the local postal service, Correios, because they know it and trust it. In other countries across the world, the carrier is not as important as timely delivery, or sending the package to the right pickup location.
Know the consumer
The final aspect of success in foreign markets is less about logistics and more about strategy.
E-tailers must fill niches in the markets they enter, and that means developing products the people there want and need. Without demand, the service level will not matter. E-tailers should identify where their products and services will have the best impact, and if possible, alter their offerings to match a population more closely.
That might even mean changing product labeling or marketing strategy to reflect local norms and sensibilities. Just as fast food chains adjust their Indian menu to adhere to Hindu restrictions on beef, e-tailers must take consumer habits and preferences into account before entering a market. If they will not make that adjustment, they run the risk of failing in that market and appearing ignorant in the process.
To succeed in bringing a foreign e-tailer into a new market, logistics software from Landmark Global can help, but the e-tailer must also develop a comprehensive strategy. By following the advice laid out here and partnering with a strong logistics platform, e-businesses will be able to reach shoppers across the world.