As a study carried out by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) shows in 2019, almost two thirds of the retailers surveyed also assume that cross-border trade will continue to increase in the future. More than 80 percent of them are already selling in other European countries. The market expansion is worthwhile for e-commerce retailers not only because of the expected increase in sales. However, if you want to be successful, you have to pay attention to a few things.
Cross-border trade: greater choice and lower prices
Why customers decide to buy from providers abroad is obvious: They have a larger selection and can get the products they want for less than in their own country. But there are also good reasons for companies to take the leap across borders. This multiplies the number of potential customers and, according to the DIHK study mentioned above, sales can be increased by ten to 15 percent.
The European Union also facilitates cross-border online trading. After all, all market participants operate in similar time zones, international standards are increasingly in force and, with the euro, there is also a single currency in many places. In addition, e-commerce providers benefit from the geographical proximity within the European continent, which lowers the costs for warehouse, shipping and returns logistics.
Success factors for cross-border trading
The starting conditions for the step into other European countries are given for German online retailers, but thorough preparation is the alpha and omega. A decisive prerequisite for success is to find out about country-specific legal requirements. It should also be clarified what expectations and preferences your own customer target group abroad has. Many have been standardized in the EU, but there are still national requirements such as shipping conditions. In addition, for a good customer experience it is necessary to offer the online shop and customer service in the respective national language and adapted to local characteristics.
It must also be ensured that the payment is processed securely and that shipping costs and any customs fees that may arise are clearly indicated so that customers do not experience any nasty surprises. It is also important to know the preferences of foreign customers with regard to payment methods. In some countries, online payment methods are the most popular, while in others payment by credit card or ordering on account are the most popular.
It is also a must abroad that parcels are correctly delivered and that the delivery times are acceptable. Last but not least, the following applies: an expensive, cumbersome returns process never goes down well with the customer. In order to be on the safe side with the latter points, German e-commerce retailers abroad must have a good and cost-efficient logistics infrastructure. But that is exactly what is often lacking.
Logistics and fulfillment play a crucial role
The DIHK study examined the reasons why online retailers do not actively sell abroad. 17 percent of those surveyed named problems with logistics and fulfillment and 21 percent named complications with returns processing. This makes it clear: As an online retailer, taking care of international logistics processes yourself is a challenge. It is therefore worth bringing experienced fulfillment partners like Omnipack on board. The Polish fulfillment platform has set itself the goal of supporting small and medium-sized e-commerce providers in particular with their cross-border trade.
With a network of local and international courier companies, Omnipack offers a solid logistics infrastructure. In addition to dispatching goods, the company also handles returns management. “With our services, we help customers save time and money. We offer logistics services at excellent and very favorable conditions, so that we do not have to hide behind the market giants. This allows our customers to concentrate fully on their core business and since we are active worldwide, the borders of Europe do not have to be the limit for German online retailers on an expansion course, ”emphasizes Tomek Kasperski, CEO of Omnipack.