7 things you can do to help grow your global sales.

May 08 2020 | PayPal editorial staff

Understanding global shoppers’ buying preferences and pain-points is a must before you start selling internationally.
In our fourth-annual global cross-border commerce report1, 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 things you can do to get ahead of your global competition.

Global consumer insights for selling internationally.


How can you identify and connect with more consumers who are willing to make purchases internationally?
 
  1. Focus on developing countries. E-commerce growth is making headway in developing countries. In countries like India, Argentina and the Philippines, consumers surveyed report significant increases in their online spending year-over-year – with 42 percent, 40 percent and 26 percent annual e-commerce growth rates in each country respectively.
  1. Optimize your website experience. International online shopping continues to increase at a rapid pace. Across the 31 countries surveyed, about 50 percent of consumers surveyed say they shop online internationally – led by 70 percent of Middle Eastern consumers and 62 percent of African consumers. In countries like Ireland, Austria and Israel, around 80 percent of shoppers polled say they make online purchases with international merchants annually. Clothing and footwear (68 percent), consumer electronics (53 percent) and toys (53 percent) are the most popular products purchased internationally.
  1. Don’t forget to optimize your mobile and tablet shopping experience too. Online purchasing is growing and approaching nearly half of all purchase volume in some of the world’s most populated countries. According to the survey, in China, 53 percent of purchases are made on a mobile or tablet, 48 percent in India and 45 percent in the U.S. With the exception of Eastern Europe, purchases on mobile and tablet devices make up 30 percent or more of total payment volume across the world.
  1. Offer competitive pricing. Businesses who compete on price or offer discounts to shoppers will have a better chance at winning globally. And keep in mind it’s not just about product cost; consumers look at pricing holistically. 25 percent say high delivery shipping costs would prevent them from making purchases from websites in another country, and 24 percent express similar concerns with paying customs duties, fees or taxes associated with the purchase. Merchants who transparently list all fees associated with a purchase 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 are not available in their own country (49 percent) or to discover new and interesting products (34 percent). Over half of global consumers who shop from merchants in Norway, Mexico, Ireland and Canada do so for access to items not available in their country, and four-out-of-10 who shop from merchants in the Czech Republic, Israel and Brazil do so for new and interesting products. Merchants who offer unique products and have a clear SEO strategy in place to make products easy to search for will get ahead in these markets.
  1. Make local currency options available. 75 percent of global shoppers would prefer having an option to pay for their purchase in their local currency and 60 percent check conversion rates before making a purchase. Integrate with a global payments processing platform like PayPal so you can receive money in more than 25 currencies while letting your customers pay the way they want.
  1. Give consumers 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 percent in our survey said ‘a secure way to pay’ was a top consideration. Consumers want to make sure their order will get to them, and if in case anything is wrong with the order, that they can return it. PayPal offers both Purchase Protection for consumers and Seller Protection for merchants – that help protect eligible transactions for both parties.


PayPal Cross-Border Trade Consumer Research (July 2018) 


PayPal in partnership with Ipsos, conducted a global 31 market survey with approximately 34,000 consumers to examine how people shop online and across borders. Click here to see the Report
 

 
Making simple tweaks to your website to address these consumer preferences can help businesses capture more international sales. If you are looking for specific insights by country, we’ve uploaded all of the data on the refreshed PayPal PassPort site.

 
The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

1On behalf of PayPal, Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample1 of c.1000-2000 (34,052 in total) adults (aged 18 or over) who use an internet enabled device in each of 31 countries (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, UAE, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, India, China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Philippines). Interviews were conducted online between 13th March and 1st May 2018.

Data was weighted in all countries to adjust for panel bias based on external trend data on incidence of online shoppers in each country.

Frequently asked questions.

PayPal Payments Standard is the easiest way to securely accept debit and credit cards and PayPal. It takes the hassle out of accepting payments online. You handle the sales. We handle everything from the checkout process to security and mobile compatibility. Plus:
  • No advanced programming is needed.
  • Your customers don’t need a PayPal account to pay you.
  • It’s optimized for customers on smartphones or tablets.
And unlike many full payment-processing solutions, PayPal Payments Standard has no application, setup or monthly fees, or long-term commitments. You start paying when you start selling.

What can I do with PayPal Payments Standard?

PayPal Payments Standard lets you accept credit and debit cards on your website or through an online marketplace such as eBay or Etsy. Buying is straightforward: We handle the checkout process and then send customers back to your site. 

You can use PayPal Payments Standard to send invoices online too, so you can get paid sooner.

As with all of our payment solutions, PayPal Payments Standard helps protect your business with our Automatic Fraud Screening, industry-leading data security and reliable customer service.

 
Opening an account:
Opening a PayPal account is free.

Making payments:

It’s free to pay with PayPal for goods and services in Israeli Shekels. When buying internationally in a foreign currency, a currency conversion fee applies.

Selling with PayPal:
There are fees when you sell goods and services with PayPal.
For more information, go to our fees page.

Withdrawing funds:
If you have funds in your PayPal balance, you can withdraw them to a bank account in Israel (in Israeli Shekels only), a bank account in the U.S. (in $USD only) or a Visa card. The funds will be in your account in 4-8 business days. A currency conversion fee will apply if the money in your PayPal account needs to be converted.
* The below information applies to Business accounts only.

How do I enable subscriptions for my business? 
Can I temporarily pause an active subscription? 
What changes can customers make to their own subscription plans? 
Can I enable subscriptions on my social media sites?
How do I track overall performance of my subscription business?   
What features are included in a PayPal subscription plan?    
Can I update the price of all active subscriptions in a particular plan at once?  
Does PayPal provide real-time webhooks for payment status? 
Can I modify the PayPal Smart Payment Button layout and color format to match the look of my website? 
Can I enable credit card, bank account and other payment method options for my subscribers?  
Can I generate API credentials for integrating subscriptions? 
Can I create a PayPal Sandbox account to test and integrate subscriptions? 
What happens when a subscription payment fails? 


How do I enable subscriptions for my business?  

You can enable subscriptions using one of 3 methods:  
  1. PayPal Subscription Dashboard and Smart Payment Button (SDK)
  • Go to your Subscriptions.
  • Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  • When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  • Click Generate Code and Copy Code to copy and paste the Smart Payment Button HTML/JS code to your website.
  1. Subscription REST APIs
  • Generate your API credentials through the PayPal developer portal.
  • Use the create plan API to produce and activate your subscription plan.
  • Use the PayPal JavaScript SDK to add the PayPal subscribe button to your website
  1. Sell on Social subscription weblink
  • Go to your Subscriptions.
  • Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  • When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  • Click Generate Link and Copy Link to copy and paste the weblink and add it to your social media platform.

Can I temporarily pause an active subscription? 

Yes. To pause a subscription, follow these steps:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Select the subscription profile.   
  3. Select the button next to "Paused".
You can also reactivate a subscription following the steps above and selecting the button next to "Active". 

Note: PayPal doesn't charge customers for subscriptions that are paused.  
 

What changes can customers make to their own subscription plans? 

Customers can modify their existing subscription quantity. The subscription price will be based on the new quantity.
 
Customers can also switch plans for the same product. The billing and pricing terms of the new plan will take effect during the next cycle.
 

Can I enable subscriptions on my social media sites?

Yes. You can enable subscriptions on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Here's how:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  3. When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  4. Click Generate Link and Copy Link to copy and paste the weblink and add it to your social media platform.

How do I track overall performance of my subscription business?  

You can track performance through various metrics on the dashboard. Here's how:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Overview.
The overview page allows you to view cumulative revenue and total subscriptions count for your business. You can also compare the performance of different subscription plans by churn rate, monthly recurring revenue and customer lifetime value.
 

What features are included in a PayPal subscription plan?    

You can choose from multiple features to customize subscription plans and pricing, including:
 
Cross-border subscriptions. Define subscription plans in different currencies to enable cross-border subscriptions. The customer will be charged in the currency you configure.
 
Promotional trial cycles. Offer free or discounted trial cycles to your subscribers by defining trial periods for subscription plans. You can define up to 2 trial periods and set discounted pricing.
 
Example: A merchant offering video streaming service configures a subscription plan at $0 for the first month, $4.99 per month for the next 2 months and $9.99 per month onward.
 
One-time setup fee. Define a one-time setup fee for any registration or configuration purpose.
 
Example: A merchant charges a $10 registration fee to enroll in gym and yoga classes, normally priced at $50 per month.
 
Negotiated or discounted prices. Customize any subscription at a negotiated or discounted price to certain customers.
 
Example: An educational institute typically offers online tuition classes at $10 per month but offers a discounted price of $8 per month to a specific student.
 

Can I offer tier-based pricing to my subscribers?  

Yes. You can define volume-based and tier-based pricing models for your subscription plans.  
 
Example: A merchant offering helpdesk services and live technician support defines a tier-based plan at $20 per technician for the first 10 technicians, $18 per technician for the next 10 technicians and $15 per technician after that. If a subscriber requires 30 technicians, the subscription price will be: $20x10+$18x10 + $15x10 = $530 per month.
 

Can I update the price of all active subscriptions in a particular plan at once?  

Yes. You can update the price of all active subscriptions by updating the price of the original subscription plan.
 
Example: If you update the price of a 'standard' plan from $20 per month to $25 per month, then all existing and new subscriptions under the 'standard' plan will be charged $25 per month from the next effective billing cycle.
 

Does PayPal provide real-time webhooks for payment status? 

Yes. PayPal provides webhooks for all payment and lifecycle activities. To track payment status, your platform must be set up to listen to the webhooks.
 

Can I modify the PayPal Smart Payment Button layout and color format to match the look of my website? 

Yes. To change the look of the PayPal Smart Payment Button, follow these steps:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Subscription plans.
  3. Click the 3 dots to the right of the plan you want to update and select "Copy code".
  4. Click Copy Code to copy and paste the button code into any editor and make your changes. 

Can I enable credit card, bank account and other payment method options for my subscribers?  

Yes. PayPal supports full stack payments capabilities including:
  • PayPal
  • Credit/debit card and bank account via the guest flow for non-PayPal customers
  • Unbranded or white-labeled card support (via API only)

Can I generate API credentials for integrating subscriptions? 

Yes. You can generate API credentials through the PayPal developer portal.
 

Can I create a PayPal Sandbox account to test and integrate subscriptions? 

Yes. You can create a PayPal Sandbox account through the PayPal developer portal.  
 

What happens when a subscription payment fails? 

If a subscription payment fails at the start of the billing cycle, we'll try the payment again every 5 days for a maximum of two retries until the next billing cycle.
 
If the second payment attempt fails, we'll increment the failed payment count by 1, place the failed payment amount in the customer's outstanding balance and add the amount owed to the next billing cycle.
 
You can also set a failure threshold for subscription plans. We'll pause the subscription if the customer exceeds the failure threshold.
 
You can capture an outstanding balance at any time. You might want to do this if the failure threshold is met and the subscription is suspended.

Both PayPal accounts allow you to send and receive payments.

  • Personal: Recommended for casual users/sellers or non-businesses who wish to get paid online, and who also make online purchases.
  • Business: Recommended for merchants who operate under a company/group name. It offers additional features such as allowing up to 200 employees limited access to your account and customer service email alias for customer issues to be routed for faster follow-ups.

With a Personal account, you can:

  • Have PayPal buttons on your website and accept payment with PayPal for low fees.
  • Receive payment via email for low fees.
  • Make secure payments using your credit card, or bank account in the U.S.

A Business account has all the features of a Personal account but adds many services. With a Business account, you can:

  • Operate under your company or business name.
  • Accept credit card, and bank account payments for a low fee.
  • Manage users, allowing you to give separate access rights to each of your employees.
  • Gain access to PayPal products that meet your business needs, such as Express Checkout.
  • Use PayPal Business Setup to set up your account in a short time.

Fees:
If you want to know more about our transaction fees, go to the fees section of our website.

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.