eCommerce leaders globally view international expansion and finding new cross-border customers as critical to driving growth, particularly heading into the prime holiday shopping period.
That’s according to The Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study, which says the vast majority of those surveyed (87 percent) believe expanding cross-border is one of their company’s biggest growth opportunities in the years ahead.
66 percent of businesses that sell online are already selling cross-border. These sales account for nearly a third (31 percent) of those business’ revenue.
Even with the significant revenue from cross-border sales, more than half (51 percent) of companies who already sell to international customers says they need help to optimise their international online sales.
“The data is clear; cross-border is a major growth opportunity. But it’s not easy, especially for small businesses,” said Suzan Kereere, global head of merchant sales and acquiring, Visa. “As a global platform that sees millions of transactions daily, Visa helps merchants find new customers, verify their customers’ digital identities, and create secure, seamless experiences.”
With the end of the year holiday season accounting for more than a quarter of annual revenues for the vast majority of businesses surveyed (86 percent), this peak time is critical for eCommerce merchants around the world.
The Visa GME Study also revealed eCommerce leaders remain bullish about penetrating new markets to remain competitive during this key period.
Despite the opportunity, some expressed concerns about a range of factors. Looking at the 2019 holiday season specifically, increased competition is considered to be the greatest risk by more than half (52 percent) of the eCommerce leaders surveyed.
Other global events are also a factor; trade policy is cited most frequently by U.S. (34 percent) and Chinese (54 percent) leaders, while uncertainty in Europe is a concern for a clear majority (64 percent) of UK leaders.
“No two retailers, regions, or consumers are the same. So it is critical that merchants understand the landscape. Data is at the core of that,” said Kereere. ”Merchants need to understand who their current and prospective customers are and where they are coming from. Then tailor their value prop to those specific needs. Visa can help them do this.”
The full study, which will be issued in January 2020, dives into merchant attitudes, behaviors and perceptions of cross-border eCommerce for 10 global markets. Additional key findings include:
- Seamless Experience: Whether purchasing goods domestically or internationally, customers want a similar experience. Leaders cite the most important factors as: quick delivery (44 percent), easy checkout (41 percent) and convenient payment methods (41 percent).
- New Markets: Two in three (66 percent) of businesses that do not sell cross-border plan to do so in the near future, with 90 percent eyeing the next three years.
- Buckle Up: The international expansion journey can be a daunting venture. A vast majority of those who haven’t expanded internationally (87 percent) haven’t even made attempts to do so. Top challenges cited are accepting and processing foreign transactions (37 percent) and shipping issues (42 percent).
The Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study (GME Study) analyzed responses of 1,000 C-level executives or business owners who work at companies with eCommerce capabilities across 10 global markets: Australia, Canada, China/Hong Kong, France, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.