The eCommerce industry is booming. Better still, it shows no signs of slowing down.
Global online sales are on route to hit a staggering $6.54 trillion by 2022, while cross-border eCommerce sales are doing their part to power the upward trend, standing at a jaw-dropping $562.1 million in 2018 and tipped to hit $4 trillion by 2027.
This incredible skyward trajectory has created an excellent opportunity for ambitious eCommerce sellers to rise and stake their claim to a piece of the global eCommerce market pie.
The best part? There’s enough to go around for everyone.
Once your eCommerce business has conquered its original territory, it’s time to look further afield for new opportunities.
But trading in your home country is comfortable. You know the people, customs, and rules like the back of your hand, and have used this info to make some serious headway.
It can be scary to leap into the unknown—and going global will require a significant time, effort, and money. You may question whether you’re ready for it, but despite your doubts, cross-border eCommerce is where your next growth level lies—and the thousands of sellers already making it happen, prove it.
If you’re ready to take your eCommerce business on an exhilarating overseas adventure, stick around! In this guide, we’ll delve into the ABCs of cross-border eCommerce and share some unmissable tips to ensure your brand makes its mark on a global scale.
Ready to stage a cross-border eCommerce takeover? Fair and flexible funding can help get you started.
cross-border Ecommerce: What We’ll Cover
- What Is cross-border Ecommerce?
- Why Now’s the Time to Hop Aboard the cross-border Ecommerce Express
- What Are the Biggest cross-border Ecommerce Markets to Right Now?
- Straight-Talking Tips to Set Your Brand Up for cross-border Ecommerce Success
- Navigate the cross-border Ecommerce Journey Stress-free
What Is cross-border Ecommerce?
Chances are, you’re already working with overseas suppliers to purchase products for your online store. While this is technically cross-border ecommerce, you can take it one step further by taking orders from customers in countries outside of your business’ home turf.
You can get involved in cross-border eCommerce either through your existing website or a new one set up for a specific region. You have a lot of freedom in this process and can decide how you want your global expansion to look and feel. You can even switch things up like your sales channel, products, and even messaging to suit the new region.
Say you have a successful store on Amazon US, which you chose because of its vast warehousing and fulfillment capabilities. Now you want to expand into Australia. You could send stock to Amazon Australia—but if you’re looking for more robust shipping services, you might launch a store on Shopify and outsource shipping to an Australia-based third-party logistics company.
These are just a couple examples of the many ways you can take your eCommerce business global.
Why Now’s the Time to Hop Aboard the cross-border Ecommerce Express
To unlock next level success, expanding into new territories is your next logical step.
Going global bursts open the doors of possibility for your brand, and because you’ve already built a strong foundation in your primary market, you can get more out of your store with a lot less legwork.
For example, Amazon’s Global Selling programme enables you to sell internationally from one account with just a few clicks. Amazon sends items from the stock in your home country to a wide range of countries, and you won’t have to lift a finger. It’s like getting on a business express train where all the amenities are already in place to ensure your ride to the top is as smooth as possible. 👌🏽
With cross-border eCommerce, the opportunities are endless. But there are even more reasons to take your eCommerce business over the borders ASAP. Let’s take a closer at a few of them.
Cross-border eCommerce is now the standard in the consumer’s eyes
Gone are the days when most goods were made and sourced locally, now many items come from foreign lands. This change has exposed consumers to a vast selection of new products and technologies, and they love it!
Thanks to cross-border eCommerce, shoppers know they don’t have to settle for the product ranges available in their country. An increasing number don’t think twice about shopping online for products that meet their needs, whether it’s located down the road or halfway across the world.
Customers relish the choice cross-border eCommerce gives them—which explains why a whopping 54% of US online shoppers have bought items abroad.
Get in on the trend while it’s still growing, and you can make a nice early-bird profit and provide great customer experience to your existing and future customers—who will now have access to your products, regardless of where they live.
Global online expansion is an affordable way to expand your reach and boost sales
Not only is cross-border eCommerce an easy way for buyers to get what they want, it’s also an excellent way for you to crush every seller goal, getting more leads and sales.
When you go global, you can do business with your target audience near and far. This pushes more potential customers into your pipeline, which increases your chances of getting those all-important conversions. Plus, it’s way easier and cheaper than physically setting up shop in the country. In some cases, it’s as simple as picking a subdomain to get the ball rolling.
These days, there are countless cross-border eCommerce solutions of all shapes, sizes, and complexities that help you connect with customers and achieve your goals.
- Social media stores on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- Global warehousing and logistics companies
- Ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce
- Apps to help buyers make informed decisions, e.g., on-site currency conversions and shipping calculators
When it comes to cross-border eCommerce, if you can dream something, there’s a tool out there to help you achieve it.
Reduce risk exposure and clear the stage for your grand entrance
If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that commitment to just one platform, territory, customer type, or product can keep your brand small, when you should be playing BIG.
Your store’s risk and vulnerability heightens when you operate on a single marketplace because that platform essentially becomes the ‘boss’, calling all the shots in your niche.
You could be making thousands on eBay one month and shut down the next for issues that have everything to do with their policies and technicalities, and nothing to do with the way you run your business. So, it’s critical to have a solid backup plan that counteracts that unpredictability.
For example, you could choose to sell in markets like China, Brazil, the UK, the US, United Arab Emirates, and Canada on marketplaces such as Taobao, Shopee, Souq, Walmart, Aliexpress, and Amazon, as well as your own store—making the whole world your stage.
Think of it this way. When you go borderless with your eCommerce business, it gives you a genuine shot at becoming the ‘Beyoncé’ of your niche. You can be everywhere, helping your business build an international base of raving fans and establish itself as a global powerhouse.
What Are the Biggest cross-border Ecommerce Markets Right Now?
As we mentioned, the world is definitely your playground when it comes to cross-border eCommerce—but your success depends on multiple variables like product-market fit, timing, and marketing efficiency.
You also need to take a good look at your pricing strategy, as 67% of shoppers buy online in foreign shops to get a good deal or because it’s more expensive to buy in their home country.
In other words, whether you opt for China cross-border eCommerce or a territory closer to home, you need to lay a strong foundation in these areas for your business to succeed and take time to prepare before expanding your eCommerce business.
If you want to get started in the countries with the most cross-border eCommerce action right now, there are a few hotspots to consider:
- South Africa
For more information on the progression of cross-border eCommerce, check out Statista’s breakdown.
Straight-Talking Tips to Set Your Brand Up for Cross-Border eCommerce Success
Be realistic about how much money you need to kickstart your global expansion
There’s a saying in business that you should write down how much you think you need for your business launch, then double it to get the actual amount.
After all, sites go down, rules change, and disasters strike, so you’ll probably end up needing more cash than you think—but it can be a challenge to figure out exactly how much you need to expand globally and maintain your original store.
You might be planning to opt for a basic introduction to cross-border eCommerce by adding new currencies or an auto translator to your site, but if your plan doesn’t produce the results you desire, it’s a good idea to think about your next steps and organize your finances accordingly.
On the other hand, if you want to make a bang in a new territory, you’ll need some extra cash flow to stoke the flames.
First off, work out how much it would cost you to:
- Hire translators and designers to redo your website and content for each new country
- Buy more stock and store it in a warehouse in the new territory
- Fulfill any tax obligations in the new region as well as the country your business is incorporated in
- Price your goods competitively
- Run pay-per-click ads and influencer marketing campaigns
Once you’ve pinned down your numbers, it’s time to find some cash to help you on your way. Think: extra working capital or a revenue advance.
You could also fund this journey through any business savings, product launch revenue, or presales. Take the time to investigate which route will be the best, considering your business’ circumstances and goals, to avoid stressful shortfalls that can hinder your growth.
Need some cash to fuel your expansion? Take some time to explore your options.
Optimize your existing store and processes to fit new territories
While cross-border eCommerce is a great way to secure your future, it’s risky to automatically assume that because a specific brand or product line is successful in your home territory, it’ll be a hit elsewhere too.
Each country has its own quirks and challenges. For example, the logistics strategy you use in smaller countries like the United Kingdom probably won’t work in larger countries like Russia or China.
So don’t rush in. Instead, consider developing a cross-border eCommerce strategy to map out how you intend to enter and carve out space in a new market. It should also cover how you plan to maintain growth and face-off competition.
Your cross-border eCommerce strategy should account for things like:
- Top marketing channels your target audience uses in the new region
- Logistical framework and capacity of the new territory
- Product trends in the new country
- Legal and regulatory constraints
- Your budget
Localisation can also help you remove friction from your customer journey by giving site visitors a website experience like the one they’d expect to get in their own country. Think: changing features like language, currency, and graphics. If you need a hand with this task, check out Google’s comprehensive guide.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race. To avoid overwhelming your team, start with a few select countries (even just one is fine), then expand once things are up and running in the right direction.
Look for an international payments service that won’t break the bank
To give your cross-border eCommerce leap the best shot at long-term success, take the extra step to ensure profits don’t get gobbled up by sneaky fees from banks and other financial institutions.
A few dollars tacked onto one transaction might not seem like much, but as your customer base and locations grow, your costs can spiral too.
The right cross-border payment solution will help you save cash on your business’s backend that you can then push back into your business to launch your brand into even more territories.
Be proactive and find a solution that:
- Allows you to store and trade in multiple currencies
- Gives you affordable transaction fees
- Offers fair exchange rates (look for the real mid-market rate)
Navigate the cross-border Ecommerce Journey Stress-Free
Cross-border eCommerce is all the rage—and quite rightly. With a little help from a world of global shoppers, a small mom-and-pop shop can transform it into a mega-brand with customers in every corner of the map.
Your brand can be next to experience this game-changing upgrade—but it comes at a cost. You need to have the time, money, and resolve to make it happen.
Once you’ve done your research and planning, all you’ll need to do is be bold enough to take the risk. Now get out there and crush it!
Ready to dominate the world with your eCommerce brand? Partner with SellersFunding today.
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