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Top tips for cross border expansion

To hep you navigate the challenges of international selling, we've compiled these top tips for cross border expansion and factors you'll need to consider before looking into world domination. 

Overcome language barriers  

If your first language is English, expanding your business into other English-speaking countries is a smart and cost-effective way to remove some of the challenges of doing business in another language.  

But in order to really capitalise on international e-commerce, it’s worth considering having your website translated in languages spoken by the key eCommerce marketplaces, such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain and China 

Website tools are available to access free translations from sources like Google but hiring a professional to translate language, currency and payment methods will pay dividends longer-term.  

Think global, act local  

It’s not just language that needs to be localised. Key factors, such as politics, religion and lifestyle, all come into play when looking at international expansion.  

For each country you intend to move into, take time to ask questions and research the cultural values, trends and behaviours of its population. Even countries that are next to each other can hold opposing beliefs and have differing preferences for purchasing online goods.  

Understanding and catering for these nuances between shoppers in different territories, and tailoring marketing efforts accordingly, will really help put you on the map. 

Address the issue of customer data 

Accurate customer address data is crucial for trading successfully across borders. But with more than 245 countries and territories, multiple languages, 139 character scripts, and 130 different address formats across the globe, achieving clean international data is complex to say the least.  

It’s worth considering partnering with a location intelligence specialist who can give you access to reputable global data in one easy-to-integrate API. By validating international addresses, you improve customer experience, reduce the risk of failed deliveries, and streamline your logistics operations.  

Optimise your website’s user experience   

1 in 4 shoppers will abandon their carts if the checkout process is deemed too long or complicated. So, before expanding into other marketplaces, take the time to ensure your checkout experience is as seamless and friction-free as possible.   

Creating online forms which capture all of your customer’s contact details in real-time makes it quicker for customers to checkout, therefore leading to a higher rate of conversion.  

Capture technology also ensures you get the best possible data quality at the point of entry and reduces costs by avoiding late or failed deliveries.  

Fine-tune your shipping process 

Earlier this year we published our report, Fixing Failed Deliveries. Of the 3,000 global consumers that we surveyed, 57% said they would be reluctant to shop with a retailer again if fulfilment failed.  

Making sure your international shipping process runs as smoothly as possible is therefore vital for success. Choose a carrier that has a good international reputation, such as DHL or Fedex, to make despatch easier. And, particularly in the wake of Brexit, make sure delivery charges and estimated timescales are visible and upfront.  

74% of retailers say that poor address data is the cause of up to a quarter of their deliveries failing. Verifying shipping addresses will reassure international customers that their order will arrive and reduce the chances of late or failed deliveries.   

Find out how global fitness brand, Women’s Best, reduced international delivery issues by 50% using one simple tool. 

Want to discover more about cross border commerce? Read our full Growing Globally guide here.  

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