Crossborder e-Commerce and Internationalization: The future of the sector

A study conducted by eBay has yielded very clear conclusions regarding the future: cross-border e-commerce sales will be the norm in the sector, accounting for one-third of all sales in the world by 2020. And it doesn’t stop there: that figure is expected to triple in the following four years.

Thisis something that professionals in the sector must take into account. There are consumers willing to look beyond their borders to purchase the product they want through crossborder e-commerce. But at any price? Well, obviously not.

It seems the two factors that most influence potential clients in deciding whether or not to purchase an item in crossborder e-commerce transactions are: the language and the currency used in the transaction. It’s no surprise that 56% of users wouldn’t buy a product if the description were only available in a language they don’t speak (and this isn’t the only study to show this). Nor is it surprising that 86% of Brits and 57% of Germans would reject a product sold only in American dollars.

What does this data tell us? First, it clearly shows some of the aspects consumers look at first when purchasing items online. Second, it clearly tells e-commerce professionals which points to focus their efforts on when selling products beyond their natural borders, understanding these to coincide with geographic borders although this shouldn’t be the case.

On a positive note, the data from a study the Idealo group conducted using their best sites as test subjects. And the thing is, although it’s hard to believe, Spain leads the European crossborder e-commerce ranking in percentage of websites that offer information in more than one language. And the same is true of currency: 18% of the Spanish e-commerce sites in the study offered customers the option to purchase items in a currency other than the Euro. This percentage is low, yes, but it’s still higher than any of the other countries included in this study.

Once again, we can see the importance proper guidance, not only on technical issues but also those related to culture and language, when internationalizing e-commerce or adapting it to the future of the sector. Our “personal” experience only helps corroborate this fact. As professionals offering internationalization services for crossborder e-commerce, work in this area is ongoing, although its great potential means there’s always a lot to do. Slowly but surely the era of the commercial lingua franca is ending and expansion means localization.

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Related posts:

#54. Internationalization: Companies with language skills have more business opportunities 

#108. Albert Grau: “With 80% of our visitors from abroad, at Gaudí Experiència translations and languages are extremely important” 

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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