Essential insights for e-commerce success in new markets

Cross-border e-commerce is opening up a world of opportunities for retailers. You can reach out to dozens of new markets, and find millions of new customers. E-commerce also puts a world of choice in the hands of consumers, who think nothing of going abroad to find what they want. They might be looking for a better price, a better selection or better service. Give them what they want, and the world is yours.

But you need to know what you are getting into. The consumers in your new markets can behave completelydifferently to the ones you know from home. You can’t rely on experience from your home market when you are trying to win over and keep customers in another country. That’s why we have produced the Arvato Payments Review, to provide you with the knowledge and insights you need when you are expanding into new markets.

Introduction

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How to succeed in cross-border e-commerce

The Arvato Payments Review brings together extensive quantitative research with insights from our experts to provide the big picture when it comes to Payment Methods, Risk and Fraud, and Consumer Behaviour in 14 of the most vibrant e-commerce markets in the world.

We examined more than 200 primary sources and compiled the most essential information into a convenient guide to each country. By combining the figures from a wide variety of research, we could provide a holistic view – rather than relying on a single source.

Each country guide looks at key demographics and financials, the top online retailers, legal requirements, and consumer behaviour and expectations when it comes to things like delivery and returns. We also look in detail at how consumers prefer to pay in each market, identifying local payment heroes and the optimal mix of payment methods.

As well as success factors, it is also important to understand the downsides. We take a close look at risks in each country in terms of the types of fraud that can emerge and what you can do to minimise your exposure.

In addition to the country guides, you can also compare markets in terms of key parameters to see how they stack up against each other.

Your customers are comparing you with your competitors

Comparison is at the heart of cross-border e-commerce. Smart consumers shop around, and with online shopping they know of a better deal with the click of a mouse or tap of their phones. The research in our Arvato Payments Review confirms our observation that some markets are more open to shopping across national borders, while others are more content with their local retailers. Why some and not others? For some markets, consumers are simply happy with what they can get locally: the selection, service and prices match their demands, so there is no need. But there are often other factors that play into this.

Trust is one of the big ones. Consumers who are reluctant to shop internationally are often concerned about how warranties and returns will work if they buy cross-border. There might even be an inherent bias towards local retailers, who consumers perceive to be more reliable, or faster, when it comes to delivery. Another important factor here is accessibility: markets such as France and Germany express a clear preference for sites in their own languages.

But even in more conservative markets, cross-border shopping is becoming more popular – when it is done well. It comes down to providing consumers with what they are looking for: better prices, more choice, a richer all-round experience. With the most successful cross-border retailers, consumers don’t care if they are domestic or international: they get what they want, quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

The key is to remove as much friction as possible, knowing and anticipating consumer demands and wishes. That boils down to knowledge and insight into the market. What are the legal requirements? Do consumers want a site in their own language? Do they expect next-day delivery? How do they want to pay?

Finding the optimal payment mix

Payments are at the heart of this review. Our research confirms that local payment heroes are essential for successful business. If you don’t use Carte Bancaire in France, or iDEAL in the Netherlands, or offer open invoice in Germany, you are not in the game.

The insights we are offering go beyond which payment methods to provide: in some markets, you would be well advised to work with a local card acquirer so you don’t miss out on conversions.

A local partner can help in other ways. This is especially important to retailers entering a new market and not only with payments but also logistics and deliveries, returns and customer service. Many retailers choose to work with a partner who can help in one or more of these areas, especially during launch, to assist with local insights and information, payments, logistics, and even service centres. It’s a sure-fire way to hit the ground running and establish a good reputation among your new customers.

Use the Arvato Payments Review to check out the countries you are interested in and download the guides for valuable insights into where you want to be. Once you know what to expect, your business will have a real competitive edge – regardless of where your customers are.

Compare country data

Compare data across the 14 different countries. Find out more about local payment methods, fraud and risk, and consumer behaviour.

Get the full picture