This article provides considerations and best practices for optimizing your website's user experience (UX) for cross-border ecommerce.
Last Published: 10/21/2016

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How does your website or the online marketplace you are selling through perform when accessed from a different market?

Bandwidth, internet speed, and internet access vary across markets.  In some countries businesses will use internet cafes or some will use pay-by-the-minute options.  It is important to be conscious of what you put on your website and how it will be accessed in other markets.  If you have large graphics and videos and other items that required a lot of bandwidth, it can be potentially problematic to potential clients in markets with less-than-optimal internet infrastructure.  

Does your overseas online marketplace meet your in-market goals?

International online marketplaces vary regarding what services they can and will provide, including translation, localization of content, marketing, and more.  Before you enter into an agreement with an overseas online marketplace, ask about the services they provide and determine if they will help you meet your in-market goals.  Do you need to translate your product information into another alphabet?  What cultural sensitivities should you be aware of?  What culturally speaks to the consumer?

Is your customer inquiry and check-out process foreign-buyer friendly?

Make sure your website’s user experience and user interface is clear and intuitive.  Language is still a barrier whereby an overseas visitor to your site may not speak English well, or at all, and may still Have a professional website development team with international experience work with you on your site to ensure that an overseas visitor to your site is able to intuitively navigate your website  content and is able to contact you for further follow up inquiries or make a purchase.

If you choose to drive consumers to make purchases through your business website rather than an online marketplace, do you have a payment gateway that accepts foreign currency and repatriates funds?

You must take the time to consult with professionals about your payment options.  If not, you may end up losing money in the long run.  Note that credit cards are not always the preferred method in all markets.  Online marketplaces make the process easier by collecting and exchanging foreign money on your behalf, however they may cost more in service fees than managing payment gateway software on your own website.


Is your website mobile optimized?

More online searches are now done by smart phone than desktop computers, it is important to ensure that your website is properly displayed on smaller mobile screens.  Depending upon the software vendor and age of your website, optimizing your website for mobile can be as easy as checking a box.  You should also consider including mobile payment options such as Google Wallet, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc. 

Is your website translated, or has options to use Google Translate?

It is not required that you translate your English site, however, do make sure your website is intuitive for a non-English audience. Using symbols on buttons like an envelope on “Contact Us” can help.  Google is the primary search engine globally, so make sure to register your website on Google Translate, so that your non-English speaking visitors can see some translation of your page, understanding that any translation errors are not from your own efforts but those of Google’s service.


USG provided resources:

We always recommend contacting a local International Trade Specialist or Global eCommerce Specialist within the U.S. Commercial Service’s worldwide network to receive free counseling.  Through our International Expansion Blueprint service, our trade professionals can help map out a global ecommerce strategy and to determine which markets might be best for your product or service.  Also, you can do some preliminary homework by taking advantage of the Country Commercial Guides (CCGs).  Produced by U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, the CCGs provide the latest “boots-on-the-ground” market intelligence on more than 140 countries.


Industry provided resources:

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For Further Consideration:

•    Protect Your Online Brand
•    Choosing an eCommerce Channel Mix
•    Identify eCommerce Market Opportunities
•    Build Your Digital Brand
•    Getting Paid from Cross-Border eCommerce
•    Ship Your eCommerce Products
•    Manage After-Sales Service
•    Price Your eCommerce Products

This article brought to you by the eCommerce Export Resource Center

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