subscribe to brand news 
b2b Magazine
28.09.2018 | Наталья Кулагина

How to properly carry out cross-border sales

The global payment platform PayPal and the company Ipsos conducted a large-scale study of the e-commerce market in Russia. It is devoted to the study of what goods and to which countries of the world Russian online stores sell (see the material « Foreign online buyers like Russian fashion").



In this article we give tips from PayPal and IPSOS on how to successfully sell goods and services abroad regardless of the size of the business.


1. The future of e-commerce belongs to mobile technologies. 53% of buyers from the countries in which the survey was conducted use their smartphones for online purchases, so the availability of a mobile version of the website for sellers is becoming increasingly important. 13% of foreign buyers use only a phone or tablet for purchases.

2. Sell unique products. Second after favorable prices (72%), a significant reason why buyers prefer to shop in foreign stores is that these goods are difficult to access or unavailable in their own countries (49%). The third place is occupied by the desire to find new interesting products (34%).

3. Choose the right time for sales. The pre-holiday season, which usually starts in November-December, can lead to an increase in cross-border sales: 38% of respondents are ready to shop abroad more actively than usual during the Christmas period. Seasonal sales are in second place (24%) and Black Friday is the fourth Friday in November (23%). Find out the most important holidays and reasons for sales in your main markets. For example, buyers in Scandinavian countries begin to prepare for Christmas in October, and in the Netherlands, St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6. It is on this day that it is customary for their families to give gifts.


4. Consider the possibilities of other online platforms (for example, eBay or Etsy) as additional sales channels. In the next 12 months, 18% of online shoppers from the countries in which the survey was conducted intend to shop more often on such sites, which makes them important and promising additions to your store.

5. 57% of respondents in the countries where the survey was conducted claim that they would feel uncomfortable when making a purchase on a foreign website that does not have a version in their native language. Users from countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Canada or Germany prefer to shop in stores operating around the world and on electronic platforms available in several language versions. Study your key target markets and start talking in their language, or at least make a high-quality translation of your website into English. A bad translation can spoil the overall impression.

6. The main obstacles to the development of cross-border trade are the high cost of delivery (25%) and the anxiety associated with the payment of customs duties/fees and/or taxes (24%). Try to get rid of all ambiguities and provide foreign buyers with all the necessary information in advance.


7. When choosing a payment method for the majority (38%) of foreign buyers, it is most important that this method be the "safest". In addition, potential buyers are afraid of not receiving the goods (24%) and difficulties associated with its return (22%). With cross-border purchases, it is especially important to be confident in the ability to solve problems if something goes wrong. Specifically for this, PayPal offers Protection programs for buyers and sellers, as well as free return of goods.

8. Make sure that the buyer can see the price and pay for the purchase in his usual currency. Every three out of four online shoppers (76%) from the countries where the survey was conducted prefer to be able to pay either in their local or their own currency, while six out of ten (62%) prefer to know the exchange rate before making a payment. Thus, the ability to choose a currency is no less important than having a localized version of the site in the buyer's language.


Photo: shutterstock