Cross-Border Selling Common Issues to Avoid

Cross-Border Selling Common Issues to Avoid

The prospect of expanding into cross-border selling , ecommerce can undoubtedly be tempting for any business. 

Global ecommerce sales are forecasted to reach over $6.5 trillion USD by 2023 and technological advances, trade agreements and increased supply chain interconnectedness put the global markets at our fingertips. 

What’s more, according to The Global Voices 2021: Cross-Border Shopper Insights study, 68% of shoppers surveyed made ecommerce purchases outside their home country in 2020. The demand for cross-border offerings is evident, but does your business have the supply to meet it? 

Cross-border selling, while undoubtedly a lucrative opportunity, can be complicated for the unprepared. However, with the right foundations and guidance, selling into international markets can reap huge benefits for your business and take you to another level of success.

Let’s look at some common pitfalls of embarking on a cross-border ecommerce journey and how to avoid them. cross-border selling.

Your Content Isn’t Localized

When entering new international markets and customer segments, you can’t skip localization. Localization serves to provide international customers with shopping experiences that align with their culture and language.

Failing to localize your ecommerce site’s content can have a number of ramifications. If shoppers can’t understand your web content, your conversion rates and revenue will suffer. You also run the risk of inadvertently coming across as insensitive to cultural differences. 

1. Provide a multilingual website. 

Language is one of the most important elements to consider when expanding into international markets. Achieving cross-border success requires serving content in a language that your target customers understand. 

Research from the CSA showed that:

  • 76% of online shoppers are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language
  • 40% of surveyed online shoppers will not buy from websites in other languages

While website translation can seem like an intimidating task, there are a number of multilingual translation solutions that can take the heavy lifting off your plate.

2. Adapt images and other media content. 

Localizing the language on your site is a necessary first step, but it’s not the only thing you’ll need to consider. It’s good practice to review all the images and other media on your website to ensure that they are culturally appropriate and relevant. Failure to do so can potentially alienate your target customers. 

One particular area of caution is the use of gestures. For example, while the thumbs-up gesture is generally accepted as a sign of approval in the western world, it’s offensive in certain other cultures. In some countries — Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, for example — this can have the equivalent meaning of the middle finger to Westerners! 

You’ll also need to consider differences in holidays and seasonality. For example, a Christmas-themed advertising campaign wouldn’t make sense for shoppers in China, as the majority of the Chinese population doesn’t celebrate Christmas.

Thankfully, some multilingual translation solutions such as Weglot are equipped to manage media localization in addition to website translation.