The good news is that it has never been easier for businesses to connect with customers. According to the latest data, the global ecommerce market is set to break $2.3 trillion by 2018, making it one of the largest industries in the world. The bad news is that there are a lot of dampeners on growth: everything from language problems to technical issues having to do with websites.
Here we’re going to take a look at some of the significant challenges that are currently putting a damper on international ecommerce growth and what you can do about it.
Problem Number 1: Technical Issues
Many ecommerce businesses think that expanding their businesses overseas is simply a matter of copying and pasting their existing operation into a new country. But limitation in many overseas countries means that this approach usually isn’t feasible. One of the problems that many ecommerce businesses encounter is the fact that they can’t get access to high-quality servers. Often server infrastructure is poor, especially in developing countries, meaning that latencies are high and the overall customer experience is lacking.
According to Chris Hutchins of Motion Point, there is a solution to this problem. Companies are able to use a tool called “geo-load balancing” which directs client requests to the nearest available node in the network. The idea here is to increase the capacity and the speed of accessing a server by continually probing the server networks that do exist for the fastest connection.
Problem Number 2: Relevant Payment Methods
Finding payment providers who can service the domestic market is easy. But finding a partner who can work internationally, across a range of countries and currencies is difficult. It’s a good idea to find partners who are able to offer high risk credit card processing from overseas clients, as well as those who can identify the proper payment methods for each market. In the US, for instance, most vendors are familiar with card payments and Paypal, but these forms of payment may not be accepted so readily in other countries around the world. Often if customers don’t see their preferred form of payment accepted, they’ll go elsewhere. Accepting local payment options, therefore, is essential. Some ecommerce sites, according to Hutchins, have seen growth in their revenue spike by over 200 percent.
Problem Number 3: In-Market Customer Service
Most ecommerce firms have a client support system in place to deal with customer complaints, issues, and returns in the domestic market. But they don’t have an equivalently well-oiled system to address customer complaints in new international markets. That;s a problem, especially if you want to gain an excellent reputation.
Problem Number 4: Foreign Governments
Finally, foreign governments can be a problem for companies that don’t “play nice” on the international scene. It’s a good idea to make a big push early on to make sure that your company is complying with all the local laws and regulations, no matter how ridiculous or offensive they may seem.