How UK retailers can use international shopping peaks

More and more retailers are focusing on growing sales in international markets – but how to take this perfect opportunity?

UK consumer spending online fell down for the first time since 2013. This happened because British households tightened their belts in the face of rising prices, but not a wage. However, it doesn’t affect the international market, so this niche could be a great opportunity for retailers.

Weak pound

If the value of British pound remains low or even drop further, this for sure will bring more customers online. According to Nir Debbi, the UK’s reputation for producing high-quality products has not changed, however, a weaker pound means that many of those products are now more affordable for customers in other countries to buy. Cross-border e-commerce remains a huge sales opportunity for UK retail businesses, even more after Brexit, but there is more to cross-border than shipping parcels overseas.

Localization is very important

For the successful international trade, customers must stay extremely happy after their shopping experience, despite their location. Basically, it is localization that will uplift your conversions and encourage an increase in sales. To engage with international customers, retailers need to make sure their regional offerings are simple, localized and transparent.

Those retailers who want to use global growth opportunities need to emulate domestic retailers and improve the customer experience on a local level. In order for British retailers to take full advantage of the international online market, they need to offer their customers local payment methods, a wider choice of delivery options and prices displayed in local currencies, etc.

According to Nir Debbi, to enable simple and localized cross-border commerce, the following four points are very important:

  • Never treat cross-border customers as second class. The biggest barrier that retailers face today is delivering a consistently excellent shopping experience worldwide. Giving your customers an excellent experience at all times, no matter where in the world they are is the key to driving sales growth globally and encouraging repeat business.
  • Offer multiple shipping options at reasonable rates. Linked to this, have a simple and transparent returns process to give every customer the confidence to buy online with you. Attractive shipping rates and simple local returns option are two of the strongest drivers of cross-border conversion.
  • Try to put the customer’s mind at ease. Avoid any potential nasty surprises for customers, such as customs charges or handling fees, by being upfront about these costs. Offer your international shoppers the ability to pay duties and taxes at checkout.
  • Display prices in the local currency, rounded form and marketing-friendly manner; there are few things more off-putting than exchange rate uncertainty when buying from a retailer in another country. More than that, in order to be competitive in overseas markets, you should follow the local rules of pricing.

Delivering a localized shopping experience does not have to require huge investment into a dedicated website, or lengthy negotiations with the local supply chain. Instead, a specialist global partner can provide the local market expertise that is essential to enable retailers to offer consumers the level of service that is necessary for the competitive retail market.

Be prepared for international shopping peaks

With the right preparation, technology and processes in place, as well as a localized shopping experience for the end customer, British retailers should look into sales opportunities in markets overseas all year round and especially during local shopping peaks. Christmas is undoubtedly the most significant event in the British retail calendar, however, there are so many seasonal opportunities to be had all year round, across the world.

But how can British retailers match impressive homeland sales and tap into opportunities in international markets? It is clear that international shopping peaks offer a massive slice of revenue for retailers. In order for British retailers to take full advantage of these seasonal peaks, they must set up a calendar of cross-border retail events that are or will be, significant to the business. Having the opportunity to take advantage of so many local shopping peaks throughout the year can only mean one thing: higher conversion rates and increased sales globally. Once significant retail events have been identified, promotions should be planned to coincide with these dates.

Now is a great time for retailers to focus their attention on international markets, and improving the online customer experience will be crucial for British retailers targeting international customers this year. Working with a specialist partner that can provide UK retailers with the expertise, the local know how’s and the best practices in multiple international markets will make planning for global trading peaks as easy as domestic ones.

By tapping into these global events, British retailers can improve their international conversion rates, and rather than relying on the British calendar to drive profits, retailers will be able to enjoy sales peaks all year round. Ultimately, adopting a global approach to retailing will enable retailers to weather the storm here in the UK.

This article was based on Nir Debbi’s, co-founder & CMO of Global-e, opinion and insights.

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