Christmas wrapping paper

The festive season contributes to a massive proportion of retail revenue and with sales likely to surpass $885 billion, the pressure is on for retailers to get their slice of Christmas takings.

Ecommerce sales are predicted to increase overall holiday sales by 40% this year, as more customers seem to prefer the calm and quiet of an online shopping experience, instead of the jostling and fighting associated with shopping at physical stores on Black Friday. No surprise there!

Shoppers choose virtual stores for the added ease, extra product choice and better deals they can find online. And, as Christmas approaches, a growing number of retailers are putting energy into targeting shoppers overseas to maximise their revenues.

However, retailers embarking on cross-border commerce are unlikely to match impressive homeland sales in international markets unless they take the time to localise their ecommerce platforms effectively. Online shoppers will not be shy in clicking away from your online site if they feel that your ecommerce offering isn’t as seamless as it should be.

To optimise the experience, and increase conversions, retailers must deliver a high level of customer service to all shoppers – not just those in the UK. This is expected all year round, but particularly at Christmas.

Unexpected delays to delivery or surprise fees for tax or shipping will disappoint customers and put them off a great online experience. Similarly, failing to support local currencies or payment methods can make shoppers nervous.

To overcome ecommerce barriers and enable simple, localised and risk-free cross-border commerce, the following four considerations are essential:

Offer the local currency. Consumers are immediately put-off when they are required to calculate cost in their own currency, even more so if faced with exchange rate uncertainty.

Offer numerous shipping options at reasonable rates. Similar to this, a simple and transparent returns process installs international shoppers with the confidence to buy online with you.

Aim to put the customer’s mind at ease. Avoid any nasty surprises for customers, such as custom charges and handling fees from the carriers, by being upfront and offering simple terms

In most cases, avoid translating your website content or building local sites. This often requires high investment and usually generates low return. Therefore, it’s best to avoid action until you have fully established yourself within the market.

The hunt for the perfect Christmas presents will see shoppers search far and wide, at home and abroad, and across multiple retailers to find the goods they want. So don’t risk seeing them click away from your website by offering up a poor quality ecommerce experience.

Commitment to delivering a seamless shopping experience will be the driving force for impressive sales this Christmas; not just at home, but across borders too.

By Nir Debbi, co-founder and CMO at Global-e