The world of international e-commerce is getting more and more crowded. Increasingly, e-tailers opt to enter the global market and bring their products and services to new regions and consumers. The barriers to entry are gradually getting lower as the world becomes smaller – better transportation, easier communication, more universal transaction and payment methods. Meanwhile, third-party shipping providers help e-tailers navigate the confusion that does exist, like border crossing, taxes and fees, language and cultural divides and so on.
So what can e-businesses in this competitive environment do to create a little separation?
Shipping options offer a way to get ahead
When the playing field starts to get even, e-tailers can find an advantage by offering customers convenience that goes above and beyond what the competition can do. To be specific: Those companies that give consumers numerous shipment and delivery options, a custom, region-specific approach and the transparency needed to build trust will be the ones to succeed.
This is true for global shipping with a local look & feel: e-tailers with better options and services tend to win over and keep more business. However, in the global e-tail sector, that service is far from guaranteed – and far more pronounced. Global e-tailers that hope to meet customers’ needs from region to region should have a keen understanding of what those individuals prefer, how to implement those preferences and how to empower customers to choose what they want.
Here, we will examine a few ways e-tailers can leverage third-party logistics providers to distance themselves from the pack through an array of global shipping solutions.
- Create a user-friendly online interface
It is no use offering custom shipping options if your consumers have a hard time finding and selecting the one that fits them best. Your website should be optimized for various languages, payment methods and shipment preferences. It could be as simple as building a drop-down menu from which customers can select the method they prefer, or supplying a checklist of possibilities. Remember to be transparent about the cost – certain shipping techniques will be more expensive than others and your customers deserve to know.
- Become carrier-neutral
Some e-tailers have a partnership with specific global shipping companies, meaning everything they send abroad goes through one specific carrier and one delivery network. That puts the e-tailer at a disadvantage if anything affects the carrier. By partnering with a vendor that is agnostic to carriers and delivery networks, e-tailers get the benefit of choice. You have one dedicated partner and this partner selects the last-mile carrier that offers the fairest price, best service and fastest routes based on your specific needs and requirements. That way, your e-business retains flexibility.
- Understand local preferences
People are often quite similar across the world, but in terms of shipping preferences, there are many differences. In some areas, speed is the most important factor. In others, delivery location plays a greater role in customer satisfaction. Some consumers want the cheapest option, while some will pay the top price for the best service.
Why is it important to understand these differences? Because that positions your company to cater better to different groups and markets. For example, if you know three-quarters of Portuguese e-shoppers prefer home delivery, you can feature that option as a prominent part of a marketing campaign for that region. That goes for any group – advertise your ability to meet common expectations wherever you go.
- Give e-shoppers peace of mind
If a consumer buys an item abroad, he has to wonder if that product will reach his door without issue – and without a bill for unexpected shipping and border-crossing fees. Customers won’t opt for your services unless they feel comfortable with your ability to deliver – literally and figuratively. There are two ways you can provide e-shoppers with some relief:
- Be transparent –Make sure every step of the order and delivery process is available to see.
- Be honest – If the shipping and fees will cost the customer more than what is initially displayed, communicate that as clearly and quickly as possible.
Finally, partner with a third-party logistics provider that knows the ins and outs of international fulfillment and shipping solutions. Landmark Global has experience with e-tailers in regions all over the world, making it the ideal provider for any e-tailer hoping to go the extra mile for global customers.