New Study Reveals Key Attributes of High-Performing Cross-Border Ecommerce Sites

BOSTON and MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PYMNTS.com, the premier source of news and commentary on innovation in payments and commerce, and Digital River, a leading global provider of Commerce-as-a-Service solutions, today announced the release of the third quarter X-Border Payments Optimization Index, which measures merchant readiness to capture the estimated $300 billion cross-border ecommerce opportunity. According to the latest Index, merchants with the highest performing cross-border ecommerce sites offer shoppers a variety of language, payment and currency options, as well as free shipping, rewards, country-specific address fields, a mobile-friendly web presence and easy checkouts. These select sites led the Index, in contrast to most global ecommerce sites, which underperformed and fell short in meeting the expectations of the international shopper.

The quarterly X-Border Payments Optimization Index measures how prepared merchants are to deliver a seamless and localized ecommerce experience to online shoppers outside their own country. The Index rated more than 180 online stores on a scale of 1 (low) to 100 (high), across almost 60 attributes such as shopping experience, payment options, loyalty and reward programs, and site navigation. The online stores were from 10 countries, including Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. While there is a significant global opportunity at stake, merchants only scored an average of 56, which means that most of their sites fail to make it easy for customers to complete cross-border purchases.

Some of the key findings of The X-Border Payments Optimization Index are:

The top 10 most optimized sites are making the right moves to break down barriers to border-free shopping.

  • The top 10 scoring sites offer a variety of language, payment and currency options, as well as free shipping, rewards, country-specific address fields, mobile-friendly web presence and easy checkouts.
  • One hundred percent of the top 10 sites offer free shipping and mobile-optimized experiences for cross-border consumers; while only 20 percent of the lowest 10 scoring sites offer free shipping and only 30 percent offer mobile-optimized experiences.
  • Eighty percent of the top 10 scoring sites offer rewards and allow consumers to checkout in half as many pages as the 10 lowest scoring sites.

From a geographic perspective, not all countries are created equal in cross-border ecommerce.

  • U.S. topped the list. The United States remains the leader in cross-border ecommerce optimization; U.S. ecommerce sites scored an average of 64 out of 100 and excelled in online navigation, cost, payment and privacy attributes.
  • China ranked a close second behind the U.S. China scored an average of 62 out of 100; China-based sites excelled at offering localized currencies, languages and shipping destinations.
  • France takes the last spot in the Index. France scored an average of 49 out of 100, resulting in one of the lowest rankings in the Index. The French sites offered fewer language options and currencies; most French sites required consumers to fit addresses into French-specific address fields, pay for shipping and create a user profile in order to purchase.

“The X-Border Payments Optimization Index contains insights into what separates the higher performing sites and regions from the rest,” said Karen Webster, PYMNTS.com CEO. “The Index aims to help merchants improve their ecommerce presence to capture the global consumer.”

“With a $300 billion cross-border ecommerce opportunity at stake, merchants can’t afford to optimize some parts of their global shopping experience at the expense of others,” said Hayden Reed, Digital River’s senior vice president and general manager of Digital River World Payments. “Delivering a cross-border experience that is as convenient and familiar as purchasing from your neighborhood store requires merchants to take a holistic approach to building their ecommerce sites. Using our Index, they can zero in on specific actions that will help them meet and exceed consumer expectations.”

The complete report detailing the findings of the X-Border Payments Optimization Index is now available. Access a copy of the report here. The results of the study will be presented during a live 60-minute webinar on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, at 1 p.m. EDT.

Today, through its Digital River World Payments solution, Digital River offers a wide range of customizable services for managing the complete payment lifecycle. These services, which work through a single payments connection, include checkout page optimization, A/B testing, real-time fraud detection, solutions to manage PCI exposure and currency risk, as well as advanced back-office reconciliation services and business intelligence tools.

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