This page provides considerations and best practices for optimizing your website's user experience (UX) as a part of your cross-border ecommerce sales channels.
Last Published: 3/22/2018

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Your website home page should instantly inform visitors about your business, your product(s), and your offerings. 

Statistics have shown that people will spend less than a minute searching your website before deciding to leave or stay; 89% of these people are online researching for a business transaction as a part of their job.

You therefore have less than one minute for your website to:

  • immediately establish your reputation
  • allow people to find what they came to your site to look for
  • leave people with a positive impression of your website, and your business


How does your website, or marketplace storefront 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 ecommerce marketplace meet your in-market goals?

International ecommerce 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 ecommerce marketplace, ask about the services they provide and determine if they will help you meet your in-market goals as a part of your digital strategy.  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 is clear and intuitive.  Language may still be a barrier for an overseas visitor to your site that does not speak English well, or at all. 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 ecommerce payment options.  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 internationalized?

Have you taken the time to ensure your website is intuitive, navigable, and makes clear that you are open for international business? Talking with an International Trade Specialist about internationalizing your website is easy and free, or visit this partner site to learn more about website internationalization.

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

It is not required that you translate your internationalized website into local languages, 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 Website Translator, 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.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



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