In the age of e-Commerce and mobile shopping, how can small business owners overcome language barriers, cultural differences and shipping challenges to increase global sales? Here are five key considerations when selling globally online.
Increase Customer Security At Checkout
Did you know that 12% of U.S. cross-border sellers feel that web site security concerns are preventing consumers from making a purchase? Polish gaming company G2A had issues connecting its gaming platform with developers and they assumed that many people felt that the company was too new to be taken seriously. But once G2A utilized PayPal’s payment services, the company found that having a payment partner that has many users globally and provides quick and friendly checkout was a major winning factor. With PayPal, a service included is Buyer Protection Policy, which helps keep customers protected. If an unauthorized purchase is made, PayPal will act fast to help secure a customer’s account and investigate. This keeps customers feeling secure during checkout, which improves the reliability of your business.
Make Your Store Available On Mobile Devices
Making your online store accessible on mobile (or, mobile-friendly) is integral for increasing sales. Over half of merchants’ web sites in a recent survey have a mobile-specific version (54%), and mobile responsive solutions for smartphones are more common than for tablets. By providing multiple ways for a shopper to reach your store, whether via mobile phone or tablet, you are increasing the chances that a consumer will visit your store and make a purchase.
Take Time To Translate Your Site
When selling globally online, it is important to consider translating your shopping page to cater to your shoppers. In a study conducted by Forbes columnist and entrepreneur Neil Patel, he found that after translating his personal web page into 82 different languages, he increased his search traffic by 47%. In his study, Patel also noted that web pages could increase traffic just by translating to Mandarin and Spanish, as they are the two most popular languages in the world. For example, 42% of Chinese online shoppers in a recent survey said that having a web site available in their language would encourage them to shop cross-border. China has a number of dialects, but Mandarin is the primary language and will likely appeal to the largest number of potential buyers.
Stand Out With Free Shipping
PayPal research shows that free shipping can help your products standout — 46% of Chinese shoppers view free shipping as a must when buying from overseas online stores, and 50% feel the same about free return shipping. Additionally, according to a study from comScore’s State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy in Q1 2016, 52% of online shoppers say free shipping is "most important" to them when making a purchase online. Cross-border sellers polled believe shipping costs are the number one reason foreign shoppers abandon a purchase, so any merchant offering free shipping will definitely stand out.
Make Online Purchase Returns Fast And Easy
In addition to shipping concerns, 15% of cross-border sellers recently polled feel that expensive returns are another factor preventing consumers from making a purchase. 58% of customers want a hassle-free “no questions asked” return policy and 92% of customers will buy something again if returns are easy. In order to take advantage of the upside in customer conversion, some online payment providers and merchants are partnering to offer hassle-free returns at no charge. PayPal offers a similar service called Return Shipping on Us, which covers customers for up to $30 of return shipping costs for up to 11 eligible PayPal purchases. Refunds are made within 10 days, and limitations apply.
With the addition of customer security, mobility, page translations, free shipping and easy returns, small business owners can overcome the struggles of selling globally online.
Melissa O’Malley is the Director of Global Initiatives at PayPal, where she is responsible for driving integrated, global campaigns that directly address consumers and merchants to drive awareness, consideration and preference for PayPal. O’Malley is a senior marketing communications leader with more than 20 years of experience in developing corporate and product programs for global technology companies ranging from Swiss tech startups to “Fortune 15” powerhouses.