International Online Shopping: 3 Biggest Challenges for Both Retailers and Shoppers

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Written by: pTranslate Contributors


eCommerce is no longer something unfamiliar to us. eCommerce has only grown ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, we have seen eCommerce giants like Amazon grow at an unbelievable speed. The average Joe can also buy goods from the other side of the Earth with only a few clicks. It’s never been easier to buy cross-border goods. Online shopping encourages people to buy products from unknown vendors, and that boosts economic activity up a lot. Up to 55% of online shoppers are open to buying overseas gifts for their loved ones because it gives it a sense of specialty. After the pandemic, this trend will only continue.

However, there are certain challenges that this trend has brought about. Both retailers and shoppers have to deal with these challenges. If the retailers want to achieve the best returns, they must be fully aware of them and find appropriate ways to resolve them, or else customers will find other retailers or suppliers with better support.

1. Online order tracking

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Customers highly value the ability to track orders online. This is the same for both local and international orders.

The longer the journey, the more important order tracking is. Customers need to know exactly where their package is, how they can contact the people in charge, and a wide range of other issues. People also fear that their package might not arrive in time. A reliable online order tracking is enough to convince customers to buy from you. 

As a seller, it’s wise to establish a tracking system for your international sellers. Moreover, when crossing across borders, there will always be taxes and a lot of fees, which add to the final price. If you’re not being clear and upfront with all of these added value, customers can be really upset. Always let them know what’s to expect when ordering from your country to their country. It’s better to let customers know the high price all along than disappointing them with a price higher than what they’re expecting.

2. Easy return process

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You’ve done everything to differentiate your products from thousands of other competitors on the market. You have successfully marketed your products to your target demographic. You’ve also offered top-notch customer service. However, without a good return policy, you’re likely to get hit with a low conversion rate. 

Researches have shown an interesting result: a generous return policy increases sales while increasing almost no case of return. The generous return policy itself gives the customers a sense of security and assurance.

If an actual case of return does happen, you will have to accept your loss. The amount of loss you may face varies by industry. The industry that is most well-known for its high return rate is fashion and clothing. The average return rate for this industry can be as high as 30 to 40%, which is double the average rate of the entire eCommerce industry. 

It’s hard to blame, though, because major eCommerce stores don’t have time to cater to the need of every single customer. That’s a highly expensive and time-consuming process. However,  you can focus on improving the return experience for your shoppers. If you handle the process well, customers are more likely to return.

There are many ways to improve the return process, depending on your industry. Some offer a full return of the purchase price, some offer an exchange, while some offer a gift card to redeem on the next visit. No matter what you do, be swift. Customers believe that a slow response is a negative response. If the product is of high importance to the customer, a quick response can guarantee a return in the future, and you can continue to nurture them into loyal customers.

3. Speak to your customers in their languages

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Know your customers. If you’re expanding globally and wanting to bring your products to the world, don’t restrict yourself to the local way of doing business. This means that you must speak the language of your business partners and customers.

To international eCommerce retailers, this is really important. In fact, by translating your product descriptions or localizing your websites/blogs to the languages of your visitors and customers, you are showing them your respect. It is a way to say that you care about their experience.

From a UX perspective, you’re helping your customers navigate to the checkout button more easily, which is the ultimate goal you want to achieve. If you’re not from a country that has a popular language (English, for example), you will need this service even more. Presenting your products in another language means that you are tapping into their market. It also boils down to this simple rule: more languages equals more customers

From the SEO perspective, translation and localization for your website mean multilingual SEO. Capturing the enormous traffic from many other countries helps rank your website, or page on Google much faster and easier. It shows a dedication to the content of your website.

From the customer support perspective, everyone loves being offered a service in their native language. If your customers struggle with your English website because they are not from an English-speaking country, they might choose another one that supports their language. It’s a form to gain market share, and create competitive advantages.

At pTranslate, we offer services to help you grow and expand your eCommerce business. With the help of our translators, your products, websites, and blogs will be able to reach a much bigger audience. We got your back on any services you need: product description translation, email translation, website localization, and also blog content creation. 

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