What Makes Customers Shop Internationally?

06 November, 2019


Global e-commerce is growing fast as more and more customers head online to purchase goods from overseas retailers.

But what exactly makes shoppers buy from other countries?

There are many advantages to shopping internationally, especially if the local market has limited choices by comparison. A PayPal study found that 80% of online shoppers buy from websites in other countries to save money, while 79% enjoy the extended variety of products.

However, buying from websites in other countries comes with certain issues that retailers need to overcome if they want to ensure a positive customer experience. The modern e-commerce consumer has so much choice that they will simply abandon their shopping cart if they come across an unexpected hurdle. Shoppers need basic reassurance that your brand is trustworthy, their transaction will be successful, and that their purchase will arrive as expected. They need a slick customer experience in which there are no hidden charges and a returns process that is simple and hassle-free.

For international retailers, this is easier said than done. There are potential issues to consider relating to language, payment methods, currency, delivery, and logistics.


Technology is your enabler. With the right technology, online businesses can sell across the world to different markets, reaching new customers in exciting destinations. You don’t need to launch different websites for your online store as technology can be used to adapt the language, currency, and payment methods – allowing you to sell like a local retailer. Technology can also automatically calculate fully-landed costs for your customers, including duties and tax, so they don’t get caught out by surprising bills.


For the best chance of success, obstacles need to be removed and your strategy should be as streamlined as possible. Consider outsourcing your marketing and customer care to third-party experts, which will free up your time to pursue business growth.


In particular, make sure you have the right international shipping expertise, or partner with a global organisation that can provide the most efficient customer experience – lack of experience and ineffective solutions will simply frustrate your customers and force them to go elsewhere. Furthermore, returns are an essential part of today’s online shopping experience; make sure your global returns management enables returns to be quick, convenient and completely reliable for your customers.

Ultimately, customers will shop internationally because retailers have the products they want at the right prices. However, if obtaining those goods is an unnecessary challenge for the consumer, then they will simply go elsewhere. Make it as easy for shoppers as possible, and you will win their trust and realize greater global success.

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