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We have our fingers on the pulse of global retail


17 July 2015


By 2018, global online sales are expected to reach $2.36 trillion and the number of online shoppers worldwide is set to hit 1.6 billion. No wonder then an increasing number of retailers are looking to capitalise on the growing opportunities of international ecommerce, by actively engaging in cross-border trade.

However, before jumping on the international expansion bandwagon, merchants should fully understand local consumer expectations and improve any areas of their international ecommerce stores that are falling short. Retailers failing to properly localise their ecommerce offering will not only influence how potential customers perceive their brand, but will also affect the likelihood of customers visiting their online store and completing a purchase cycle.

Research has revealed, that 55% of global consumers would only buy international products from ecommerce stores that provide them with information in their own language; customers in Germany expect at least three different payment options to be available when completing an online transaction; whilst Japanese shoppers require input fields for two different scripts when entering their names.

Understanding these local nuances is vital to the success of your international offering. Below we have outline five best practices to help you on your journey.


Consumer shopping needs and expectations may vary from country to country, but there are some key best practices that are worth considered when entering any new market.

Comply with local laws and regulations

Complying with the local laws and regulations for each market and being clear on the agreed formats is a must when selling internationally. By operating inside of local laws, your ecommerce store will appear professional and trustworthy to the local consumers.

Get your sizes right

Converting product sizes and measurements into the market’s local system is definitely a best practice worth considering. This will make it easier for local consumers to understand more accurately what they are buying, reducing the potential returns rate. In cases where the sizes cannot be changed by the individual market, include a size conversion table or link to an external conversion chart.

Speak the local lingo

It is important to make sure that your labeling and use of language has been tailored to the local market. Translating and localising all content, especially keywords, categories and local spellings (for countries who use the same language i.e. English), are important for attaining brand recognition and familiarity within a new region.

To achieve a more natural voice in each market it is best to use human translation, since automated machine translations can make the tone of voice sound disjointed to the local consumer, which in turn can discourage them from making a purchase.

Offer different payment options

Offer multiple payment methods and delivery options in accordance with the local customs. Apart from the widely used credit and debit card payment options, certain shoppers expect to be able to pay using direct debit, cash upon delivery or even by invoice after they have received their item.

Make returns simple

Provide a clear, localised returns policy and work with established local couriers that use a tracked method. This will make customers feel more confident in their purchase when buying from an international store.


Local knowledge is paramount to your international success, so take the time to understand each new region on your road map. The effective and professional localisation of your ecommerce content could be what makes you stand out from the competition.

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Let us develop a tailored solution for your business that will help you reach new international customers and grow your global sales.

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