How to prepare your business for cross border ecommerce

4 MINs

Considering that cross border ecommerce is set to take up 20% of all online retail sales by 2022 according to Forrester, it is indeed lucrative and intelligent to think of taking your business cross border now. Whatever you may be selling; whatever your business-size, it is important to be aware that cross border ecommerce entails a good amount of investment. Therefore one should have a thorough understanding of what you need to make the business a success.

Steps to Preparing your business for cross-border ecommerce


Consider the following points after you have identified what product to sell across borders and to which country.

  • Is your product on the acceptable list in the country of import?
  • Evaluate the viability of your brand.
  • Create a cross border ecommerce strategic plan
  • Does cross border ecommerce business need a special license or is it on the list of restricted products? Check product restrictions country by country.
  • If you are using air freight take note of the rules and regulations.
  • In case your product is in the dangerous goods category, you need to comply with the requirements
  • You may need to pay taxes and duties as per the rules of the country you are selling your goods to.
  • You need to see who your competitors are and what they are doing to make their business work.
  • Do research on giving extraordinary customer experience in order to leave your footprint.
  • Make sure you have the technology to support your endeavor as making use of ML and AI to make business easy to operate. The technology should also be affordable, usable and friendly.
  • Prepare to give customers a great user experience with the use of Creative product images, installing Chat Bots, localizing payments as well as shipping methods and the use of email, Facebook and Instagram.
  • If you are a small scale business it is sensible to create a mobile app.
  • Have local support perhaps in the form of a marketing team and a fulfillment partner.
  • Take note of the variation in tax and duty percentages.
  • Check if your shipping needs insurance. Worldwide couriers have this covered; but not postal services.
  • Generate a shipping policy before you start cross border ecommerce. This will ensure trust from customers because you will be setting expectations by being clear and open about the options you offer. A good quality tracking system is also helpful.
  • Be prepared to handle Customs where required for necessary paperwork.
  • Be ready to handle returns. Cross border ecommerce can be challenging and this is one of them. So find software like ReadyCloud to help you with an automated return.
  • Test your product in the cross border ecommerce market before you make any big investment.
  • Make sure that your product data is localized efficiently.

Use Cases of Cross Border Ecommerce

Let us consider the challenge graph from Statista. Forewarned is pre armed.

There are a few more major issues global retailers need to concentrate on if they want a slice of cake of the soaring sales in global ecommerce business that is expected to cross $627 by 2022 according to Forrester.

The Changing Markets must be taken into consideration and appropriate spade work done to meet the trends and demands before diving into cross border ecommerce.

A case in point is UK retailer Fat Face which is a mid size fashion retailer who has developed its online ecommerce business globally by first testing the waters. Once its reputation was built up it even opened stores overseas. There is much to learn from the pattern followed by Fat Face if you are preparing to take your ecommerce business cross borders.

Exploring multi channel options to sell is a necessity if you are planning for cross border ecommerce. The markets overseas are brimming with potential customers and it is best to prepare to sell online and sell on mobile with your app. Machine learning and the availability of excellent software aids in giving your potential customers an awesome shopping experience. So take advantage of the boom in the cross border ecommerce sector to reach an entirely new band of consumers.

Work out the shipping option that suits you the best, whether it is drop-shipping, local stores or direct shipping. Calculate the cost and go for one that best fits your business. These are the times when you cannot overrule the importance of points of contact overseas as also to help with your marketing or the language options necessary on your website when selling on non English speaking markets.

To take note of what Michael Griffiths, vice president, global marketing, retail & eCommerce at Pitney Bowes, says: “The choice of partner couldn’t be more important” when expanding horizons to new territories. He suggests “the opportunity it too big and the stakes are too high” to be careless when choosing global distribution partners – so retailers should assess the market thoroughly.”

Cross border ecommerce : it’s time to Get Started

By way of conclusion let us reiterate the fact that cross border ecommerce is a booming business and when you decide to go for cross border ecommerce, it is important to equip yourself with adequate inputs about the same so that there is no scope of you making mistakes. At first you may be intimidated by the mammoth task entailed but the fruits of hard work are always rewarding. You can thrive with the use of cutting edge technology, clever calculations, a fair understanding of the market and consumer behavior, adequate knowledge of rules and regulations of the concerned Government and the right partner from across the border. With the right choice there will be no need to look back. So prepare well to meet and tackle the challenges and grow your business through cross border ecommerce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cross-border eCommerce?

When an online shopping store deals with international customers and does business across different countries we can call it a cross border ecommerce business. Here a company sells products beyond national borders.

What is a cross border strategy?

A cross border strategy is a plan of action designed to maximise growth of a business beyond borders. It takes into account the market, demand and customer base along with factors like shipping, order management.

How long do cross border payments take?

Cross border payments may take between two to five working days. The payment time depends on how many financial institutions the payment has to go through.


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