E-Commerce Conversion for Overseas Buyers
Have you ever wondered how it’s possible for the U.S. economy to be in such bad shape, yet the numbers seem to keep rising in the world of e-commerce sales? While the down economy is wreaking havoc in all areas of business both online and off, e-commerce businesses are getting a boost in sales from buyers overseas. As the U.S. market began to dwindle, many smart entrepreneurs and retailers began exploring new distribution, billing and markets.
One example of success in this expansionist thinking is Gap Inc. The company launched dedicated retail sites to customers in both Canada and the UK, offering international shipping options from the U.S.. Other examples include the new shoe and accessories site from Amazon.com, as well as popular U.S. retailer Endless.com and luxury high-end retailer Barney’s New York. All have begun shipping to customers around the world — and business is booming! Have you applied the same lessons to your business? In adult, we have seen many adult leaders both large and small do the same as these large mainstream players — with great results. Ask me for more details.
Key is that the potential payers/customers from Europe are comfortable with the join flow/process, and enabled to pay with payment methods they know and which are convenient for them to use. Direct debit is still the payment method for Europe, aside from “buy on invoice,” which is not suitable for adult, and with credit card penetration still as low as 25 percent. To cash in on the uncarded 75 percent you must offer alternatives to credit cards matched to your business model, products and services.
A recent research study conducted by the analysts at comScore revealed a rise in international purchasing on U.S.-based e-commerce websites. In fact, a 20 percent increase in spending from international sources occurred between 2008 and 2010, with over 7 percent of all sales originating outside U.S. borders by the end of 2010. Some of the contributing factors to this trend include favorable exchange rates with the drop in U.S.-dollar value, new - and improved streamlined taxes, duties and offers on shipping, and appropriate local payment options to maximize conversions and sales.
Of course overall sales in different markets varied based upon the specific products they offered, however on average 70 percent of online retailers surveyed in this study stated that they were selling to non-U.S. consumers. In fact, more than 40 percent of the retailers surveyed stated that over 10 percent of their annual sales had come from shoppers overseas.
Many U.S.-based companies were able to overcome the obvious language-barrier issue by marketing solely to Englishspeaking countries, such as Canada, the U.K. and Australia, but we are seeing increasing interest in full pay-page translations and even in full-site translations, including translated updates on an ongoing basis – ask me about this!
Despite all of the obstacles in their way, over half of the retailers surveyed who were not currently selling outside the U.S. stated that they planned on moving into the overseas market within the next 1-2 years, with only 12.5 percent stating that they had no interest in expanding their sales to other countries. How long will you wait to add this obvious revenue to your bottom line?
On the negative end of the spectrum, some of the biggest obstacles U.S. retailers had to overcome were dealing with payment types, customer service and returns. These issues were also reflected in U.S.-based retailers that weren’t currently selling to customers overseas, as they stated concerns regarding regulatory complexity and foreign currencies as being their biggest obstacles. Other companies were concerned about legal issues that might apply in selling their goods overseas. All of these objections can be overcome, and Webbilling.com BV may well be your best source for consulting and guidance on all aspects of your EU expansion efforts. Knowledge of local markets and overcoming all the barriers inherent in finding success in the diverse EU markets is a lot easier when you partner with an experienced company involved in all of them — and what other company looks at billing and revenue from the adult program owners’ perspective?
Adult program owners have special needs, and Webbilling. com BV has special expertise in addressing your needs and guiding and adapting your specific EU goals to generate your greatest success. Flexibility in planning, relationships, contacts and networks within each of the areas of greatest opportunity for growth help ensure you get the best advice available within the industry today. Be sure to start your EU expansion with the best information available to you today.
JoeD is the chief marketing officer of Webbilling.com, consulting on effective non-card payment solutions for European customers. Webbilling.com is the go-to-source for insight and access to primary European billing methods, and all things EU e-commerce-related.