In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed that travel restrictions and supply chain disruptions would deal a significant blow to globalization, potentially for years to come. But the pandemic has fueled a surge in cross-border eCommerce sales – cementing, rather than upending, the globalized nature of the modern economy.
Many retailers in search of new revenue opportunities have spent the better part of the past year growing their global footprints, and with many consumers planning to continue doing more of their shopping online even after the pandemic ends, expansion into international markets will remain a key strategic focus.
To expand globally, retailers will need to think locally, taking into account local regulations, consumer preferences, and – crucially – payment methods. Here’s how businesses can achieve global success when one size doesn’t fit all.
Modernizing Payments Infrastructure
Cart abandonment is the menace of any eCommerce retailer vying to convert online visitors into paying customers – and with half of online shoppers saying that they’ve abandoned their carts because they aren’t able to pay using their preferred method. Integrating local payment methods can mean the difference between yet another abandoned cart and a completed path to purchase.
A truly global payments infrastructure will cater to consumers’ growing preference for e-wallets, particularly in Asia and Europe. By next year, consumers will use e-wallets to pay for nearly 50% of global eCommerce sales, according to a Research and Markets forecast.
Businesses that don’t support such digital payments capabilities risk shutting themselves out of some of the world’s fastest-growing markets. But it’s not just consumers’ desire for efficient, friction-free online shopping experiences that make diverse payment methods a must. Even the physical retail world is beginning to move beyond traditional cash and card-based payments, with stores like Amazon Go and other checkout-free technology solutions further propelling public acceptance of (and expectations for) alternative payments.
Local Preferences as a Competitive Edge
Understanding that global success is only possible with a localized approach – and adjusting payment, compliance, and marketing efforts accordingly – is essential. But it’s one thing to understand this fundamental truth and it’s another to apply it to real-world business practices. Fortunately, retailers aren’t in this alone.
External partnerships can play a vital role in giving cross-border eCommerce players the local know-how they need to thrive on a global level. Data analytics capabilities can power the efficient, personalized experiences today’s consumers expect as a basic standard of service. Linking up with innovative fintech solutions providers, meanwhile, can help businesses seamlessly integrate a diverse range of payment methods for both B2B and B2C consumers, while ensuring robust security and anti-fraud protection.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and a brightening economic outlook set to release pent-up consumer demand in the months ahead, online businesses should be ready for an uptick in visits – and to turn those visits into conversions, localized capabilities are key.
As businesses eye the future, it’s instructive to remember the recent past. Companies that were digital-first or had successfully achieved digital transformation have been among the strongest performers amid the pandemic – a fact that offers an important lesson for businesses looking to ensure their resilience in the face of whatever challenges are still to come.
Digital commerce is set to remain front and center long after COVID-19 is history – and just as the digital economy isn’t going anywhere, neither is the globalized one. The global, digital marketplace presents a multitude of opportunities for businesses to attract new customers, win new revenue, and reach new heights of growth and success. Making these big things happen starts on a small scale.