By Daniel Hunter
Cross-border sales in Europe are set to reach €36bn in 2013 to account for 10.6% of total online sales in the region, according to IMRG. In 2012 the value of cross-border sales were estimated to be worth €26 billion.
UK retailers are proving to be the most successful in trading across borders; in 2012 international consumers spent £7.4bn on UK-based sites, with the total set to exceed £10bn this year*.
The UK online retail market has proven to be one of the great success stories over the past decade, recording strong growth each year and being second only to the US market in terms of overall value.
As the domestic market has started to show signs of maturing, cross-border markets have become very attractive to UK retailers, offering multiple opportunities for sustained growth as these markets develop and consumers increasingly turn to the options available to them online.
“Cross-border is the future of e-commerce, and the opportunity is particularly strong for UK retailers due to the advanced state and sophistication of the market here," Andrew McClelland, Chief Operations & Policy Officer at IMRG, commented.
"Expanding internationally is a complex business however, and retailers need to carefully identify markets that are appropriate to them rather than just attractive in terms of value and growth. Research is everything when it comes to cross-border; there have been several instances of retail brands finding success by selling product ranges that they are not well-known for by consumers in the UK.”
Inspiring confidence among international consumers remains one of the key challenges retailers have to overcome in order to be successful in foreign markets. Research from Trusted Shops found that two thirds of online shoppers regard an internationally-known trustmark as important or very important when considering a cross-border purchase.
“When shopping online for a good deal, being able to consider products from other countries can bring huge savings or greatly increase choice." Jean-Marc Noël, Managing Director at Trusted Shops said.
"This is clearly driving the growth of cross-border sales. However retailers should remember that most online markets are not as advanced as the UK. This means that a different approach must be taken as foreign shoppers may be more sceptical of shops based abroad.
“With a well-known trustmark in place, users can have the peace-of-mind they need in order to shop with confidence, and retailers can reap the benefits of tapping into a much wider audience."
In order to facilitate cross-border growth across Europe, the Trusted Shops and IMRG ‘Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS)’ schemes combined in 2012 to create a standard European trustmark that greatly supports UK retailers in their international expansion strategies.
* using current exchange rate of 1 euro = 0.86 GBP
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