E-commerce broke new grounds in the shopping industry during the last decade. It has made shopping as hassle-free as a few clicks in a computer. People do not want to wait long lines anymore just to buy what they want. The emergence of e-commerce provided consumers the luxury of buying whatever they want without leaving the comforts of their home or office. Not only that, e-commerce provides consumers with shopping centers that are open 24/7.
Meanwhile for merchants, the internet has become a market that expands geographical reach. An effective website and customer service is all a company needs to sell more products. Today’s e-market has expanded the customer base of companies without spending more on marketing and advertising.
Goldman Sachs and Forrester Research said that Global e-Commerce Sales in 2010 amounted to $572.5 Billion. According to their Internet Retail Survey, more 50% of e-Commerce merchants said that a significant percentage of web traffic comes from International customers. What is more interesting is that these websites do not cater to international markets.
The emerging e-commerce market, however, has encountered difficulties when dealing with consumers who abandon their shopping carts. An abandoned cart means loss in revenue for the merchants.
According to Forrester Research’s Internet Retail Survey, an estimated 75% of abandonment of carts was hit in the first half of 2011. In the US alone, an estimated $18 billion in revenue per year is lost due to this problem. Two of the major reasons why consumers abandon their carts are: 1) high shipping and handling costs, and 2) not yet ready to purchase the product. Reasons trailing behind the two include wanting to do comparison shopping, preferred method of payment not available, just saved products for later consideration, and concern about security.
In addressing the concerns brought by the growing global e-market, Forrester Research proposed ways on how to go about the problems. In preparing for international customers, merchants can offer affordable shipping and handling costs by looking for the right service providers. Merchants can also offer tax refunds or free international shipping rather than “percent-off sales,” allow varied payment options, and put product description and customer service in a local language.
In the case of abandoned shopping carts, Forrester research also proposed ways to address this major problem. Merchants should institute a follow-up plan when consumers abandon their carts. Sending direct mails, online campaigns through email, discounts and free shipping offers will encourage consumers to go back to your site and look at your products.
Conducting a local market research to study where your products will be most consumed is also a way to address shopping cart abandonment. Investing on local market research is a good way to know the amount of revenue your company is already getting from that area, the trends of the shopping population and how sophisticated that locality’s e-market is.
Investing on addressing the above mentioned issues and moving past these difficulties, the next few years will see a more competitive e-market. Forrester Research Online Retail Forecast states that by 2015, US e-commerce is expected to reach $278.9 billion.
Maria Dublin is a blogging assistant for Brokers Worldwide, one of the nation’s leading international and domestic mail and parcel service providers. Click here to download the Going Global infographic to learn how to prepare your e-Store for an international audience.