Cross border e-commerce: challenges and how to tackle them

As an online retailer, are you ready for the next step? Offering your products in other countries might be a smart move. We call this cross border e-commerce. What do you have to take into account? What can you expect and where do you start? In this article we will discuss the most common challenges and share some tips.

National borders blur

Consumer behavior has changed considerably. A better offer at a webshop abroad? That is no longer a purchase threshold. Now shopping a quarter of the entire world population beyond national borders. It matters less to us where we order, as long as the product is delivered by appointment at a competitive price. This is also reflected in figures from the CBS. Last year, Dutch consumers spent 1,9 billion euros on foreign web shops in the EU. This is 19,3% more than in the previous year. 

Step 1

Work with multiple carriers

By working together with many different package and express carriers, you are responding to an increasingly higher package of requirements from the customer. This way you can create a huge advantage over your competitors in no time. Consumers today expect more and more flexibility and freedom of choice for the delivery of their order. A good carrier in the Netherlands is not the same as a good carrier in countries such as Germany or France.

Distances abroad are greater. That is why a large local network of parcel shops is very important. Experiment with different carriers and find out what is customary locally. Consider, for example, the option Cash on Delivery (driver settles the product at the recipient), an option that is still very common in the south of Europe.

Step 2

Start your cross border e-commerce at marketplaces

Expanding sales to other countries can feel like a bold move. Your webshop can be a great success in the Netherlands. It is not a guarantee that this will also apply in other countries. How do you know if your products are catching on outside the Netherlands? A safe way to test this is to offer your products on various international market places. Think about Amazon, Bol.com and eBay. In this way, as an online retailer, you quickly have evidence of which products are successful where. With these 'test results' you can set out your lines much more specifically and decide in which countries and with which products you will set up a webshop. In addition, this strategy also involves few risks.

Step 3

Automate and save costs

For an extension abroad it is important to keep your margins in order. The costs for sending your packages abroad can add up considerably. Wuunder's shipping software allows you to choose between the fastest, cheapest, or most efficient shipping option. You can also set up different shipping rules with our software. Based on specific characteristics, you always choose the most suitable shipping option. In other words, by automating your shipping process you not only save time, but also a lot of (unforeseen) costs.

Step 4

Communicate in the local language

A challenge you may encounter is communicating with your (potential) foreign customers in the local language. Offering your webshop / website in the local language is a crucial first step. Is this still a bridge too far? Then start with an English version.

In a next stage of the expansion abroad, you also want to speak to consumers in their language. Is it difficult to solve this within your own organization? Then you can outsource your (foreign) customer service activities to Wuunder. We speak our languages, so your foreign customers can simply contact us with their questions. In addition, our customer service proactively pursues every foreign shipment, if necessary. The relevant carrier will be contacted to resolve any issues. Want to know more about this? read MORE.

Want to know more?

Has your interest in cross-border e-commerce increased even more after reading this article? Or do you have any questions? Call or email us. Then we will search together for the best solution.