In a recent Internet Retailing webinar, How to optimise your ecommerce site for the cross-border consumer, Rick Barbari, group vice president at Digital River World Payments joined us to discuss ways in which retailers can put overseas visitors to their website at their ease. Here’s a bulletpoint overview of the main points that he covered.
• Rick Barbari, group vice president at Digital River World Payments, opened the webinar with an introduction to Digital River World Payments and to his own experience in the financial services field over the last 25 years. Digital River, he said, processes £34bn in payments for clients including Panasonic, Spotify, Bosch, and Microsoft.
• The UK was the most popular destination for cross-border online shoppers from Europe in 2013. While many UK merchants are prepared, with 71% of UK-based online retailers offering delivery outside the UK, they scored above average in a Digital River study in optimising the checkout.
• “The cross-border consumer to an online retailer is an incredibly important market segment and whether they intended to be or not, they really are open for business to them.”
• How to use the opportunity: “The key point is that merchants need to be aware they are serving the cross-border consumer and they need to make a deliberate decision about whether they want to do so.”
Digital River research findings
• The aims of the X-Border Payments Optimization Index were to: understand cross-border customer pain points, benchmark against the merchant segment and establish best practices across key retail verticals in 10 different countries.
• “It’s important to shop your site from your consumer’s point of view, and shop your competitor’s site. Where are the pain points?”
• The most optimized website, scoring 94, was a travel website. “Travel really caters to international travelers and it appears the travel segment has done a more aggressive job of removing friction”.
• The average score was 60, while the least optimised site scored 20 (speciality goods category where optimisation may not be appropriate).
• UK came third in ease of purchasing for cross-border customers (US was top). Sites scored well on languages and payments, but less well on the length of the checkout process. Some 62% failed to meet the standards of the best-performing retailers. But nearly 40% had 11 or more different currencies.
• “When you’re shopping, and buying and shipping, many sites did not offer country-specific address fields, so it became possible but very difficult to execute the cross-border transaction.”
• Bottom-scoring segment: only 15% speciality retailers offered six or more languages, while 7% offered 11 or more currencies. More than 25% offered no self-serve help. One pet supply store said it could ship anywhere – but at checkout, only pick-up in store was available.
Top tips (with best-practice examples)
• Language: cross-border best practice requires six or more languages (which depends where you’re selling). Also important to “communicate in a currency your customers understand”.
• Do the maths: Example: Moo offers languages and converts the total to the local currency. Important for the currency to stay the same through the check-out and to the statement in order not to scare off the shopper. “Consumers in this scenario are often prone because they have no other choice to go to the chargeback.”
• Offer local payments: offers a strong consumer experience. Example: Ticketmaster: offers global payment options alongside, in the Netherlands, iDEAL. “This helps the local consumer feel they are shopping in an environment that is comfortable.”
Digital River helped one client offer the boleto in Brazil: 30% of payment mix went to the boleto, but drove 10% lift in revenue.
• Keep help alive: top-scoring merchants offered effective help.
• Slim down the check-out process: most optimised sites reduced the time taken to convert. Best optimised (example: Boden) did it in five steps or less. For example, same shipping as billing option, enable shoppers to buy as a guest. Ten clicks is a useful cut-off.
Online travel industry and ticketing organisations do this well, says Barbari: reducing time taken to buy means consumer can get the deal that they’ve found quickly.
“Shop your site: figure out from the consumer’s point of view what’s causing friction. Odds are it doesn’t require a raft of change. There are low-hanging fruit that are very actionable and can change the consumer experience.”
To find out more about the webinar visit the Digital River webinar page.