Cross-border ecommerce is a huge opportunity for merchants looking to take their store to the next level. More of the world’s population are getting online, and many are looking for new and exciting brands from beyond their borders - 55% of worldwide online shoppers in 2020 made a purchase from overseas. According to Accenture, cross-border ecommerce sales are currently growing at double the domestic rate. As exciting a prospect as this is, it isn’t without its challenges and particularly when it comes to managing international order fulfillment and delivering a great customer experience.
Shipping and customer experience are major issues for international ecommerce
There are many challenges facing Shopify merchants looking to expand internationally, from understanding the different restrictions that may affect their products to managing international shipping partners. The primary sources of difficulty for merchants are largely around shipping, logistics, and customer experience. Navigating these issues have a major impact on brand perception and continued loyalty. According to Narvar:
- 83% of customers expect regular communication about their order, with only 8% saying they get too many notifications.
- 53% won’t purchase something if they don’t know when it will arrive
- 54% will give repeat purchase to a retailer who can predict when a package will arrive
Customers want great communication, and fast resolutions if they run into issues. These customer expectations are global; your international customers will expect the same level of service as their domestic counterparts. If you want to deliver, you need to implement new solutions that will improve the customer experience around order fulfillment without adding extra pressure on your team. That’s where real-time tracking can help.
How real-time tracking helps your customers and team
Improve the customer experience
There are a number of ways in which real-time tracking can improve the international customer experience post-purchase. Let’s walk through the different points at which a customer may experience issues, and where implementing this additional functionality can help.
The first point where a customer may start to worry comes before they even purchase. They’re thinking of purchasing from an overseas brand, but they’re apprehensive about the potential issues they may encounter. Seeing that the brand offers real-time tracking can alleviate the anxiety that international customers often experience when shopping from an overseas brand. They’ll know that when they do make a purchase, they’ll be able to follow along their order’s journey.
This carries through to the post-purchase phase. By having an easily accessible point of reference for their order including where it has been and when it is expected to arrive, customers can be assured in knowing what to expect and have all the information in front of them if they experience any issues. Another point of anxiety for international customers comes in when they do need to get in touch with customer support if they are not able to communicate confidently in your country’s primary language. For example if your store is based in the US and your customer is in China, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to explain their issue in English. This can lead to miscommunications and frustration for your customer. In general, they’d prefer to try to solve the issue themselves rather than get in touch with your team. Implementing a real-time tracking tool allows them to troubleshoot the issue themselves, and avoid any anxiety they may have over trying to communicate with your team.
Make customer support easier and more efficient
International customer service can be difficult to manage for many merchants’ customer support teams. There are not only more potential issues with fulfillment and delivery, but often there will be time zone differences and language barriers. This makes it difficult for support representatives to deal with enquiries in an efficient and timely manner. Enquiries may come in very late at night when your team is offline and may be time sensitive. They may also be in a language that the representative is unfamiliar with leading them to use unreliable translation tools. While you may have a localized store, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your team will be able to communicate in the languages of your international markets. Real-time tracking allows the customer to manage their order enquiries themselves, leading to fewer support tickets. When the customer does get in touch about their order, the representative has a clearer understanding of what’s going on with the order and can provide support faster.
Growing your business globally should be a positive and exciting opportunity, not something which leads to stress for your team and customers. By providing self-service, efficient solutions such as real-time tracking, you can deliver an experience that maximizes satisfaction for international customers while minimizing pressure on your team.