Cross-border shopping

PayPal recently released results from a global study that revealed the spending habits of online cross-border shopping. Responses from over 17,500 consumers in 22 countries were analyzed as part of the research. The numbers are compelling: cross-border shoppers are spending nearly double the amount of those who shop only domestically.

One of the more interesting discoveries from this study is that 51 percent of those who shopped cross-border in the past year said that shipping costs prevented them from buying more from other countries. On a related note, analysis by IBM found that an average of 70 percent of shoppers abandoned their online shopping carts during this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, while a UPS report found that 58 percent of those who abandoned their carts did so because shipping costs made the total purchase cost higher than they expected.

Clearly, not only is it important for online retailers to think more globally, but they cannot overlook the importance of addressing the issue of shipping and how it negatively affects the consumers’ shopping experience. What can merchants do to increase customer satisfaction in this area while seeking new business opportunities?

Techvibes recently reported that many eCommerce businesses are reluctant to deal with international customers – especially those in emerging markets – due to the risk of losses incurred from lost or misdirected shipments. When orders are delivered to the wrong address, the merchant can end up footing the bill for return shipping. However, this problem can be avoided when identities and addresses are verified before an order leaves the vendor’s door.

"Before shipping a high-value item to someone in another hemisphere, eCommerce sites and online retailers want bank-grade identity authentication to verify identities and addresses," said Stephen Ufford, founder and CEO of Trulioo. "This will offer customers an optimal shopping experience because delivery is completed timely and businesses can avoid the unexpected return of a package due to an incorrect address."

Using identity authentication will not only benefit merchants looking to expand to emerging markets, but those focusing on domestic customers also stand to benefit. Cost savings and increased client satisfaction can be expected whether businesses ship within the country or internationally.

While there is no doubt that online retailers can see great potential gains by tapping into the global market, the question of shipping is one that cannot be overlooked. Another UPS study reported that although overall satisfaction with online shopping is generally quite high at 83 percent, it drops below 50 percent when it comes to details about shipping. Verified identities offer an optimal solution for solving both of these challenges.