Do you want to expand your high risk ecommerce business beyond your country’s borders? If you don’t, one needs to ask why not?
After all, the beauty of an online business model is how easy it is for Internet-enabled customers to find your shop. That’s one huge advantage you enjoy over your bricks-and-mortar brethren: a near-global customer base.
In fact, forty-six percent of the world’s population (from 198 countries) was projected to connect on the Internet by year-end 2016 — that’s huge. By expanding internationally, you should enjoy robust and growing cross-border sales opportunities for years to come.
Understanding international payment solutions is the place to start. Let’s look at the benefits just waiting for ecommerce merchants and the capabilities you’ll want to put in place. Because your next, best customer might reside anywhere in the world.
Realize Your Global Potential
Implementing international payment solutions for your ecommerce business provides capabilities needed to grow your online business globally. Increase market exposure for your brand, penetrate new markets, and expand your revenue base… Who wouldn’t want that?
Of course there’s more to consider than just the economic feasibility of international expansion. Accept the potential results are worth some effort. Merchants should consider these business factors:
- Explore the market trends and the competition in target countries.
- It’s also a good idea to explore consumer habits and cultural differences so you’ll know what to expect from — and how to attract — new customers.
Yes, different local currencies and diverse regulations may erect a few hurdles. But robust international payment solutions exist to address them comfortably while streamlining your payment processing.
Think Global, Act Local with These Robust Capabilities
Provide shopping experiences that feel “in-country” to global shoppers and watch your customer base (and revenues) grow.
Card acceptance should include all major brands accepted in the countries where you plan to do business. Consider that the buying habits and preferred card brands of prospective customers abroad may be different than those of your domestic customers.
The major U.S. card brands (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) are probably already displayed/accepted on your website. But some may not be accessible or preferred by your prospective new customer base.
Outside the U.S., Visa Electron, Maestro, and UnionPay are common. And some customers may prefer to use PayPal or another digital wallet. (Research preferences, and make additions if needed so your international payment solutions meet their needs.)
Handling multiple currencies and exchange rates is an important aspect of international payment solutions too. So it’s a good idea for merchants to get comfortable with the basics of currency conversion and cross-border fees. Because understanding leads to better choices.
Related sales and marketing good practice includes providing customers with the information they need to know intuitively what they’re about to spend. If you also give them the option of billing in their local currency, satisfaction goes up and chargebacks go down.
Let’s say your newest customer resides in France. She’ll likely be more comfortable buying from your website if it displays prices in Euros during the checkout process. A multi-language interface helps too.
Adjust your website to default to the correct currency based on the customer’s geographic location during checkout. Or provide a currency converter that displays details of total cost (including shipping and taxes). One example is the WooCommerce Currency Module.
Keep the checkout process on your website simple. Don’t ask customers to wade through multiple screens or to enter more information than you absolutely need. Make it easy for them to buy from you, rather than the competition.
Other international payment solutions like Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) deserve consideration as well. DCC allows international customers using a foreign Visa or Mastercard to pay in their own (or preferred) currency, if they explicitly select the option.
The ecommerce software on a website (from vendors like FEXCO and Moneris®) automatically recognizes eligible payment cards, and offers the choice of paying in the cardholder’s home currency through the DCC service.
It may seem like too much effort, but providing accurate details to customers reduces the likelihood of confusion. Give them a better experience, and reduce both shopping cart abandonment at checkout, and chargebacks down the road… increasing your bottom line.
Expanding your business beyond your domestic borders is both exciting and a bit scary. There’s a lot to learn, to consider, and to do.
Keep in mind that you need the right payments gateway to facilitate the international payment solutions (like multiple currencies and card brand acceptance) you want.
One of the best ways to ensure success when implementing your global business plans is to work with a payments processor who understands the international payment solutions you need.
Choose someone who understands the payments industry inside and out, who wants to be your business partner for the long haul.