6 of The Top Cross-Border Ecommerce Tips from CNP Expo

CNP Expo was held May 24-26 at Loews Pacific Resort in Orlando.  While card not present payments, fraud prevention, and handling of chargebacks were prevalent themes at the show, an awful lot of attention was paid to cross-border ecommerce.

Here are six of the top cross-border ecommerce tips from CNP Expo speakers:

Do your homework

If you’re going to sell cross-border, research by country what its top 50 imports are, said Payscout CEO and Founder Cleveland Brown. If you sell merchandise in that list of top 50 imports, then that country is probably a good fit for you. Then it’s time to evaluate your opportunities and threats to doing business in that country.

Cultural empathy is key

Brown added that cultural empathy starts with really making sure that you have a cultural sensitivity to the consumer. If you plan to sell in a particular country, you need to give yourself a through education and take the time to understand that culture.

Take it one country at a time

“We represent companies as large as Alibaba, and people come to us and say they like to be like them,” Brown said. “I tell them I like their ambition, but let’s find that one country and perfect it.”

Start local… in the U.S.

Find a provider that is local to where you do business – if you are a U.S.-based merchant, start with a U.S.-based provider that knows how to do cross-border payments, Brown said. But you must make sure that payments provider works with overseas provider, because you need to make sure those funds will flow to you properly.

But they don’t take AMEX…

Selling cross-border means offering alternate payment methods, and not just your standard U.S. credit cards. ONPEX Founder and CEO Christoph Tutsch said your payment methods need to be relevant to the country you are selling into. For example, in Indonesia, there are 21 different payments methods, and a big book of payments regulations that goes with it. “Impossible that one merchant can do this on its own,” Tutsch said. “You need to find a partner, and you need to decide which payment methods you want to use.”

Cash is (Still) King

Aramex Director of Sales and Strategy Mazen Soukeih noted that cash on delivery (COD) makes up 76% of ecommerce payments in Africa and the Middle East. Soukeih said that’s because consumers there are not as comfortable with and educated about ecommerce as consumers with more-developed ecommerce infrastructure. But with COD, Soukeij said, comes high return rates because of unexpected costs at the point of delivery, so you need to keep your customers in the loop when it comes to all the charges they will incur, including duties and taxes. Soukeih said Aramex does this by calling customers before packages are shipped to let them know what the COD cost will be.

Tim Parry is Multichannel Merchant’s Managing Editor, and the lead programmer for Growing Global.

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