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International ecommerce survey results

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Thursday April 1, 2010 )

Are you selling to customers outside your shores yet? If not, you may be missing out on a ton of cash.

I live in Australia and I find it frustrating when I locate a product in the USA I can’t buy here only to discover the merchant doesn’t ship overseas.

Shipping overseas is nowhere near as complex as it used to be and between countries like the USA and Australia the service is usually excellent. For example, last Tuesday a US merchant shipped a product to me and it was on my doorstep by Tuesday this week!

According to a recent survey by Internet Retailer of 247 web-only retailers, 14.5% of the 75.2% of merchants selling internationally (including Canada) stated that in 2009 over 25% of their total web sales came from customers outside the United States.

Of the 24.8% not selling internationally, over 60% are considering selling to consumers outside of the United States; with the majority planning to start selling internationally within a year.

16.7% of merchants reported more than 20% of their total web traffic stems from outside the U.S. borders.

While many of the merchants surveyed who do sell overseas don’t offer functions for international shoppers, it’s certainly not a show stopper. Many of non-USA folks are quite adept to doing currency conversion in our heads and as many countries are “Americanized” to a degree, we don’t suffer the same level of xenophobia when it comes to ecommerce as US consumers do when it comes to online shopping outside their own country.

According to the Internet Retailer survey, 18.6% of web only merchants selling internationally offer a currency converter, just over 15% show the full cost of delivering an item to the consumer in the consumer’s local currency, 15.4% offer product content in a local language, 15.0% feature customer service content in a local language and 14.2% offer telephone support in a local language.

So even with that little amount of customization for overseas online shoppers, international sales are booming. Imagine how high they could be if country specific tools were used more widely.

I’m not suggesting that ecommerce merchants start selling to countries known to be high risk in terms of credit card fraud; but it’s certainly worthwhile for US web-only stores large and small to consider spreading their wings a bit. Bear in mind the USA only represents 5% of the world’s population. There’s a whole bunch of potential customers out there!

Read more of the Internet Retailer Survey: International E-Commerce


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