Cross-border e-commerce, what matters should you pay attention to?

Currently, around 2.7 billion people have access to the internet and an increasing number of them are making online purchases. Cross-border e-commerce will represent a significant part of those purchases. The strong growth of cross-border e-commerce is creating opportunities for e-tailers. Though, it requires an efficient and flexible distribution network. Also languages barriers should be taken in consideration. The successful owners of webshops will be capable of optimising distribution and challenging the language barriers of cross-border e-commerce.


The in enormous geographic scope of your webshop causes many entrepreneurs to cross borders. Passion may lead to risks. Is your webshop prepared to be international? A ready-made checklist does not exist. Though, first make sure you provide a sound basis in your own country before you continue expanding your service abroad. Also, ask yourself if your business model is comparable to the ‘gap’ you find in the international market? When you are assured of turning your Dutch target grout into an international one you indirectly choose to make changes in terms of distribution and language.



Online consumer are becoming more and more demanding. Geographical limitations disappear and they are only concerned about getting their product. As a result, in the future unnecessary and expensive distribution routes will disappear. When you take a look at your distribution decisions now, try to make them as strategic and efficient as possible. You could aim for partnerships with logistical operators who have knowledge of the domain. Try to find the right balance between cost and delivery time. This is of great importance because your customer values fast delivery above all. When your company is thriving in slow-moving goods and is big enough, you could choose to work with centralised warehouses. Local distributors could be of easy when dealing with fast-moving products. When you do not cross borders to great extent yet, it is beneficial to partner with postal operators who create opportunities.


Take a look at your costs of international distribution. Are they flexible or promising enough, seen the fact costs per order will increase? Are you be willing to cover costs or link yourself to a distribution centre abroad? A reduction in costs of distribution requires risky investments in foreign distributors in most cases. Calculate your break-even-point and decide if the amount of orders as well as the order value are enough adequate for short and middle-long term. Take in consideration a rapid increase in orders requires a significant marketing budget.


Studies show that 72 percent of the consumers are more frequently willing to buy something when service is offered in their own language. The majority of European customers even mentions that language of service is more important than price. Therefor, as soon as your decide to offer service in multiple languages, your market potential as well as your customer database start growing.


Try to create elements of trust with your (potential) customers. It is a challenge to express your authentic message in different languages. The art of localisation goes with either employees who are part of your organisation or are part of a customer service team. When your own capacity is not sufficient enough to deal with questions, complaints and suggestions in a variety of native languages, you could choose to (partially) outsource your international customer support. It is wise to work together with a partner who is an expert in languages and familiar with the customer support offered in the world of e-commerce.


There is a connection between the stadium your organisation finds itself and the value outsourcing. Organisations that have grown and start to get successful abroad, see that more international consumers are asking for service. At this stage, you question yourself in what way you can invest in multilingual customer service. In fact, multilingual service should be a standard part of your daily service. In contrast to hiring native speakers yourself, outsourcing is manageable and scaleable. This goes for organisations who are dealing with 200 to 2.000 international contact moments per month. From 9 moments of international service per day, outsourcing could get particularly interesting. Imagine yourself answering 9 phone calls in different languages per day, using your own native speakers: an extreme investigation seen the fact you need at least 2 full time coworkers per language.

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