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Cross-border challenges. How to effectively prepare your shop for international sales?

Cross-border, or international sales, is an increasingly popular trend in e-commerce. Going to foreign markets offers a lot of opportunities, such as higher sales and building a strong brand, but it also comes with a few challenges. Check what are the most common fears of merchants before cross-border and how to respond to the needs of customers from other countries.

  • Overseas customers may have different preferences regarding payment or delivery methods than consumers in your country. Therefore, it is important to adapt to the needs of buyers from specific markets
  • The most time-consuming part of preparing a shop for international sales is translation, and it is this that generates a lot of costs. The biggest challenge for many retailers is logistics.
  • Our experts help and educate sellers and share their know-how. All the integrations that make cross-border sales easier can be activated in the panel. Take advantage of the opportunities you have with IdoSell and conquer foreign markets.

As Aleksandra Kubicka, International Business Development Manager of IdoSell, explains, there is no single effective strategy for conquering foreign markets. Each of them has its own specificity and you need to know it well.

- Offering delivery by Paczkomaty InPost is an obvious thing for anyone who runs a shop in our country, explains Aleksandra Kubicka. - Similarly, if you want to run a shop in Romania or France, you should get to know the market and find out whether the customers prefer paying by bank transfer or cash on delivery, or which pick-up points they have the most of. Only when you choose integrations with your favorite service providers will you be able to compete in a given market.

What are the most common challenges in cross-border?

1. language

The first step in preparing for international sales is to prepare your offer in the local language. Customers expect product descriptions, terms and conditions and checkouts to be in their native language. This inspires trust and makes shopping easier.
Translating an online shop is quite a challenge, as it requires a lot of time and expense. If you wanted to translate the descriptions of thousands of products (which are sometimes multi-variant), you would have to spend many weeks on this.

At IdoSell, we make it easy to translate online shops. Our sellers can easily import shop mask files and product descriptions (XLIFF or CSV format). Such a complete file can be easily handed over to the translator and then fully uploaded to the online shop.

2. logistics
Shipping goods abroad involves much higher costs and longer delivery times than from local shops. That's why it's important to offer local delivery options, preferably with shipping from your country. By integrating IdoSell with Packeta, you can use a network of local carriers. In IdoSell you can also use fulfillment services, which our shippers are guaranteed by the Frisbo integration.

Customers like to have a choice of delivery, and they especially appreciate the option of shipping to pick-up points and parcel vending machines (they are the most popular in CEE countries).

What is important for the customer is a trouble-free and fast return service. That is why it is worth offering your customers the option of returning the goods by courier or shipping to a domestic address.

3. VAT and customs
From 1 July 2021, the VAT settlement rules for online shops have changed. We have introduced a new mechanism in the IdoSell panel that sets the VAT rate of the country of delivery for B2C customers, which makes it easier to account for VAT in individual countries. Check what has changed with the new calculation of VAT rates in the EU

At IdoSell, we are constantly expanding the package of changes that make selling in the cross-border model easier. That's why we've extended the ISF standard to include full support for customs clearance, including shipping to the UK.

What is the ISF? It is used to exchange information about shipments between any IdoSell shop and any courier, broker or freight company. What has changed? You can now transmit information about the goods in the shipment and the electronic VAT invoice to the courier API. This data is required for clearance at courier customs agencies. Check the details of changes in ISF 2.1 standard

In the IdoSell panel you can use ready-made shop regulations, invoice templates and documents.

4. customer service
In IdoSell online shops, you can automate a large part of the communication with customers (e.g. confirmation of receipt of payment or shipping information). This is convenient because you can translate such messages and prepare them in advance. One option is to serve foreign customers in English.

If unusual situations arise, which you have not anticipated in the templates and planned automatic responses, then (at the beginning of the cross-border adventure) communication in English only will suffice. Over time, you may want to consider hiring a native speaker who will serve customers in the relevant market and at the same time be able to verify the automatic translation.

5. currency payments
If you sell abroad, offer your customers convenient payments such as PayPal. In IdoSell shops you can use ready-made integration with PayPal. The whole process, from registering an account to activating the service, is done in our panel.

It is very important for customers to be able to choose how they want to pay for their purchases. Sellers, on the other hand, expect secure transactions, high conversion rates and maximum automation of order processing. IdoPay means all relevant payment methods in one place. The service is built into IdoSell shops and can be activated with a single click.

6. online marketing
Advertising your products is essential if you want to establish a presence abroad. Preparing campaigns aimed at other markets requires knowledge of the realities, trends and requests in a particular country. IdoSell's specialists will help you prepare an overseas campaign that suits a particular market. With Google Ads from IdoSell you will get quality traffic because you pay for results, not promises.

In addition to Google Ads, price comparison websites are a popular place to advertise. Take advantage of the integration with foreign price comparison sites and automatically export your product feeds.

Google Ads from IdoSell

Checklist cross-border. What to keep in mind when venturing into foreign markets?

Research competition, availability and pricing
Translate templates, product descriptions and more
Find and integrate shipping options Find and integrate shipping (be local)
Find and integrate shipping (be local again) Find and integrate payments (again, or local)
Find and integrate payments (again, or local) Handle consumer returns
Register for VAT Register for VAT OSS
Get a new domain or brand Find a new domain name or brand
Consider local storage or order fulfilment Consider local storage or order fulfilment
{Click{tick}} Run Google ads
{Click}} Make your presence known on price comparison sites
{Click}} Make your first transactions
{Click}} Consider hiring a native speaker for customer service (remote)

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