The opportunity for cross-border e-commerce has grown tremendously. Over the last few years, the e-commerce sector in the U.S. and globally has experienced significant growth. Overall, global e-commerce sales will reach $1 trillion in 2020. With more customers shifting from physical shopping trips to online purchasing, small businesses and individual shippers have plenty of opportunities to succeed in cross-border e-commerce.
Additionally, considering tensions between the U.S. and China and growing import taxes, customers will be more interested in trade between other countries and local shopping. Selling across borders is at a new level, so you need a polished strategy to successfully enter the mature market of U.S. e-commerce. Whether you are a business selling directly to customers, or a merchant using platforms like eBay or Amazon, there are nuances in online commerce that you need to know.
Starting cross border e-commerce: key things to know
Adjustment to the audience
No matter what product you sell, going for the wrong audience won’t take you far in the tight market of cross-border e-commerce. Make sure to capture your customer’s attention, thinking of everything from the marketplace and ads to marketing strategy. Essentially, the next step is maintaining attention and acquiring new customers. That’s why your operational processes should be thought out in advance to provide a good shopping experience. From order fulfillment to shipping, make sure that everything works perfectly.
Customs and taxes
The hardest part of starting cross-border e-commerce is adjusting to another country’s regulations. Understanding the customs and tax system is crucial to successfully enter the international market. Working with a customs broker would be beneficial for handling the nuances and intricacies of international shipping. One of the easiest and closest markets for U.S. merchants is the Canadian market, which has its own regulations and rules.
Returns and customer service
Working with reverse logistics can be especially challenging for small businesses and individual shippers. However, the value of a good customer experience is extremely high and will help define whether the customer will buy from you again. That’s why providing fast, helpful customer support and easy return options will secure you more chances to retain customers. Now this can end up costing you more money since you’re working in cross-border e-commerce. Be sure to keep that in mind in your planning.