Most small businesses shy away from sales that are too complex to ship, such as the filling out duties and taxes for border agents to review, or are too costly to ship believing that their products wouldn't attract an international audience. Additionally, the processing of international credit cards or debit cards carries a new risk, and will the payment processor process these securely without knowing external systems and payment methods. Overcoming these barriers can lead to significant eCommerce growth that a business can indulge in and leverage further their operations to satisfy global demand.
Online Shopping Growth
By 2023 global eCommerce is estimated to reach $7Bn with the highest growth potential expected in South America, the Middle East, Central/Eastern Europe, and Africa (EMEA). With the Covid-19 Pandemic, an acceleration in shopping habits to online purchasing took place, as well as merchants saw an opportunity to move their brick-and-mortar stores online due to shutdowns and restrictions. Europe's adoption rate went from 81% to 94% and similar trends took place around the globe. platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce offered trial accounts that expanded from 14-days to 3 months just to grab market share in the eCommerce business during that period. However, the barriers are getting lowered by innovative companies and vendors - giving small businesses the opportunity to expand with less investment and risk.
- Localization of your online store: Website translations as well as currency can be the first challenge a merchant would encounter. While your merchant account would support international payments and currencies, the issue is being able to manage multiple sites, inventory, and language to promote the brand.
- Data and International Compliance: Taxes and Regulatory such as the CE stamp for Europe requires a deeper understanding of applying the right products for the right regions and being able to keep up your tax tables accordingly.
- Shipping and Customs Forms: Duties, tariffs, and return costs require capturing at the checkout all the while having a returns process with your online store.
- International Payments: Business development, finance, and legal get all involved when it comes to dealing with this area. it might take a team months to work out the details as local payment methods need to be researched in that country/region as it isn't just a card number and bank account.
- Managing customer support: A small business owner might be overwhelmed with how to support their customers internationally (Languages and Time Zones).
Going Global is by no means a small step in a business, however, if you are doing well domestically and start to see saturation of your products/market and have the momentum to take on this challenge then you might be at the right juncture to take the following steps below.
3 Steps to take Stripe Payments Global
BigCommerce has partnered with Stripe payments to offer its merchants up to 195 currencies, and dozens of local payment methods to its merchants on its eCommerce platform. Stripe offers a guideline on an evaluation process that is composed of 3 steps to take your products and services globally.1. Evaluating your Business: Starting with a Geographical map to see if your neighboring country might be the first starting point. For USA small businesses, Canada or Mexico might be your first review, with Canada being the easiest due to language. Evaluating the markets and trends is next, see where your product categories are heading, and check for the maturity of payment options within that neighboring country. If the norm is similar to the country of origin such as checking accounts, visa debit cards, and similar credit card issuers and they all accept payments in a similar way to your current online store - it will be within reach. 1.8Bn additional online users are expected to be online shoppers by 2025 adding Billions in additional revenues, with 5 of 6 users will be outside of the USA/Europe, therefore the greater the reach the bigger the opportunity.
- Checking Market Size/Barriers to entry and growth projections for that market.
- Market appeal/Demand and sizing your audience and growth potential
- Sizing the competitive landscape (local and international), performing a SWOT to seek out the penetration angle.
- Ease of Entry: Localization requirements, regulations regarding Data, Shipping and logistics partners, local and country-based taxes, and cross-border regulatory environment.
2. Launching your Business in a new country: Cross-border transactions are the first step to ensure your online store expansion will be able to take on the currency, local payments, and payment methods. Optimize your checkout flow for the regions/countries by raising confidence in the marketing funnel with recognizable payment options so that customers will feel comfortable in transacting with a method familiar to them. Ensure that there is no checkout friction given that what may work well in the country of origin, might not be the same in a country next door.
3. Optimize your Business: With a post-launch of a new country, it is worth reviewing your business to leverage the multi-country operation and consolidate as necessary warehousing, banking, and logistic partners, and drive costs further down as possible while improving best practices and customer service.
When going international, considering opening a local entity might be a must-have to fall in line with the country's requirement for opening up an online store for its citizens. This might assist with local taxing, banking, and local authorities Permits and Regulatory. A local office can give tax breaks as well as the ability to manage local support. The local knowledge will also help the business understand how fraud and abuse might be avoided which lowers the risk of entry. While there is a lot to consider to going internationally, lowering your complexities for your first step is key. BigCommerce and Stripe cover the payment risks well, the logistics, business entity, and business case will need to support it. If you need assistance to understanding the regionalization of payments in BigCommerce of other platforms, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com