7 ways to grow your international sales

Sep 16 2019 | PayPal editorial staff | 4 min read

When you understand your global shoppers’ buying preferences and pain points, you’ll see huge improvements in your international sales.
In our 2018 global cross-border commerce report, we surveyed more than 34,000 consumers across 31 countries and asked how and why they shop online, both domestically and internationally. The insights we uncovered can help you understand which markets may have more selling potential than others, and the things you can do to get ahead of your global competition.

Global consumer insights for selling internationally
Here are our top tips for identifying and connecting with more consumers willing to make purchases internationally.
 
  1. Focus on developing countries. eCommerce growth is making headway into developing countries. In countries like India, Argentina and the Philippines, consumers surveyed reported significant increases in their online spending year over year, with 42%, 40% and 26% annual eCommerce growth rates in each country respectively.
 
  1. Optimise your website experience. International online shopping continues to increase at a rapid pace. Across the 31 countries surveyed, about 50% of consumers said they shop online internationally. In the Middle East and Africa it was even higher with 70% and 62% respectively. In countries like Ireland, Austria and Israel, around 80% of shoppers said they make online purchases from international sellers annually.

    Clothing and footwear (68%), consumer electronics (53%) and toys (53%) are the most popular international purchases.
 
  1. And your mobile and tablet experiences. On-the-go purchasing is growing and approaching nearly half of all purchase volume in some of the world’s most populated countries. We found that China’s leading the way with 53% of purchases made on a mobile or tablet, followed closely by India (48%) and the US (45%). With the exception of Eastern Europe, purchases on mobiles and tablets make up 30% or more of total payment volume across the world.
 
  1. Offer competitive pricing. Businesses that compete on price or offer discounts to shoppers have a better chance at winning globally. And keep in mind it’s not just about product cost – consumers look at pricing holistically. 25% said high shipping costs would prevent them from making purchases from overseas, and 24% express similar concerns regarding paying customs duties, fees or taxes associated with the purchase. Sellers who transparently list all fees up-front have a better chance of converting their international shoppers into buyers.
 
  1. Add unique products to your product mix. The second most cited reason consumers shop internationally is for the novelty of accessing items that aren’t available in their own country (49%) or to discover new and interesting products (34%). Over half of all global consumers surveyed who shop from merchants in Norway, Mexico, Ireland and Canada do so for access to items not available at home, and 40% of those who buy from the Czech Republic, Israel and Brazil do so for new and interesting products. Businesses that offer unique products and have a clear SEO strategy in place to make products easy to search for will get ahead for these buyers.
 
  1. Sell in local currencies. 75% of global shoppers prefer being able to pay in their local currency, and 60% check conversion rates before making a purchase. Integrate with a global payments processing platform like PayPal so you can receive money in more than 100 currencies while letting your customers pay the way they want to.
 
  1. Give customers security and peace of mind. Making an international purchase (especially for the first time) can make consumers feel cautious, but you can help alleviate some of that concern. 44% of our surveyed consumers said “a secure way to pay” was a top consideration. Consumers want to make sure their order will get to them and that, if anything goes wrong, they can return it.

    As well as providing secure and encrypted payments, PayPal offers Buyer Protection for consumers, Seller Protection for businesses, and Refunded Returns to cover the cost of returning items, for eligible transactions. Combined, these additions give your all your customers, both those overseas and here at home, greater peace of mind.
 
Making simple tweaks to your website and product mix to address these consumer preferences can help you capture more international sales and boost your bottom line. For specific insights by country, check out PayPal PassPort.
 
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.