Ecommerce excellence: 10 tips for increasing international sales

Cross-border sales are crucial for business growth in Europe. But how do you decide where to sell, how to market, and what options will attract buyers in different countries? We have turned key insights from online shoppers across Europe into practical ecommerce tips you can use to turn European browsers into cross-border buyers.

1. Offer multiple delivery options.

One-day express delivery? Free shipping in three-five days? Customers across Europe don’t have the same expectations or preferences. In France, for example, home delivery is the first choice for 82% of online shoppers, whereas 54% in Poland prefer to collect from parcel lockers. Offering multiple options could be a game changer as well. Over 70% of shoppers in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, and Germany abandon their online shopping cart if their preferred delivery option isn’t available.

2. Use location to your advantage.

If your business ships from the UK or Germany, this ecommerce tip is for you: market your products across Europe. These two countries are the most popular European cross-border shopping locations. But even if you’re located elsewhere, you could use your location to make sales. Is your country or region known for something specific? Take advantage and market accordingly. Let shoppers know they can experience the best of what your area has to offer no matter how far away they are.

3. Provide as many payment options as possible.

Online shoppers are more likely to complete a purchase when their preferred payment method is available. By providing customers with digital payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay, or more traditional bank or credit card transfers, you can accommodate your customers’ preferred payment methods and make their shopping experience more convenient. For example, in the UK and France, over 65% of shoppers prefer to pay with a credit or debit card. This figure is 14% in Germany, where most prefer digital wallets. Want to reach more customers in the Czech Republic or Poland? Try offering a ‘cash on delivery’ option. Between 10% and 20% of Czech and Polish online shoppers prefer this method.

4. Embrace mobile web design, but don’t forget other screen sizes.

Here’s an ecommerce tip many website designers overlook due to a “mobile first” approach, to maximize online sales, it’s essential to make sure that you optimize your website for all devices, not just smartphones. For example, 85% of consumers shop online using laptops and desktop computers in France. Across Europe, an average of 61% of shoppers say that’s their preferred choice, while 34% favor smartphones and 5% tablets. Suffice it to say you need a responsive, easily navigable design on all screen sizes. By offering a user-friendly experience across the board, you cater to a wider audience and increase your chances of making a sale.

5. Make returns simple.

Convenient returns are crucial for driving online sales. For example, in Spain, 62% say they only buy from ecommerce stores that offer free returns. Around half of shoppers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and Austria also don’t like to pay for returns. Also, most shoppers across Europe (75%+) want a return label included in their parcel rather than having to print one out themselves. Overall, a clear and easy-to-understand return process will build trust with potential customers, making them more likely to click that all-important “buy now” button.

6. Use trusted delivery partners.

Working with trusted delivery partners is crucial for ecommerce businesses. Most shoppers say knowing the delivery provider before paying for their purchase is important. If they don’t like the available shipping company, 41% say they would avoid buying from that e-tailer altogether. That figure is 58% in the Czech Republic and Sweden. Using a trusted carrier can attract and win over more customers who may otherwise be hesitant to buy.

7. Embrace sustainability practices – it might be easier than you think.

Ecommerce customers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability. Across all markets, most shoppers think sustainability is important (53%). We found that 58% of Europeans will wait longer for an eco-friendly or carbon-neutral delivery. Over one-third of under-34-year-olds will pay more for shipping if it means a lower carbon footprint. Businesses should choose carriers offering green delivery options, such as electric vehicles and recycled or reusable packaging, to attract more environmentally conscious customers and build brand loyalty.

8. Ride the social shopping trend.

Social shopping is a trend that businesses can no longer afford to ignore. With over 50% of shoppers across the continent using social platforms to make purchases, it’s clear that social media has become an integral part of the online shopping experience. Instagram and other social platforms have launched shopping functions that allow users to buy straight from the app. In Sweden, 28% say they have purchased via Facebook, followed by 27% in Poland and 25% in the Czech Republic.

9. Don’t underestimate the power of customer reviews.

When shopping online, you cannot physically touch or see the product before you buy. So, what do many people do? They scroll down to the reviews! More and more customers across Europe rely on online reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. In Sweden, for example, 84% of shoppers check reviews before making a purchase, with a whopping 99% of them saying those reviews influence their shopping behavior. Shoppers are wary of products or brands with no reviews, so it pays to prompt customers to leave a review. And by actively and openly engaging with customer reviews, you can show that your brand takes their feedback seriously. The key is to help your customers feel confident in their purchases and increase conversions.

10. Identify “weak” spots in your funnels that could cost you conversions.

We found that 40% of shoppers browse e-tailers twice or three times a week, often to research before making an in-store purchase. This is important for your site analytics. When reviewing your traffic, you should determine how many users there are “just” to browse and consider what you could change on your website to convert these passive visitors into sales. Consider, for example, increasing urgency, clearly communicating sales and promotions, or using any of the ecommerce tips mentioned above.

Cross-border shopping is growing, but online shoppers in Europe want certain things.

Read the full article: DHL Global