By Nicole Olbe, Sales Director for Gateways
Wed Feb 01 2017
Selling abroad can really boost a business, and being online makes it easier than ever. But is the way you take payments holding you back?
Selling online opens up a raft of opportunities for businesses. For a start it dramatically extends their reach – and for many, that reach can extend overseas. Often, that’s something that’s was never even part of the plan.
And that can put businesses in an awkward situation. Once international opportunities start emerging on the horizon, they naturally want to capitalise on them. But many businesses that have previously only sold domestically won’t have thought about one of the most important parts of overseas trading before – currency.
It can be easy to get off on the wrong foot, and even easier to let inefficiencies continue – especially if sales are coming in. But there’s often a way to do things better and I want to take some time here to outline some of them.
Whether you want to start taking international payments to grow your business, or you think you could be doing things in a more effective way, there are three elements to consider.
1. Make sure your prices are clear: Displaying your prices in the buyer’s currency is one of the most important things you can do to help generate a better performance.
Lawrence Panariello, Barclaycard’s Multicurrency Senior Product Manager, says that not only does it provide clarity over the cost to customers, it also gives confidence that the business is willing and able to handle orders from that country.
“A significant percentage of cart abandonment is caused by customers seeing prices in a currency that’s foreign to them,” says Lawrence.
To do that effectively, you need the right systems in place. If you use Barclaycard to accept international payments, for example, you can accept up to 50 currencies and can settle in one of 14 – although the most common are sterling, euros or US dollars.
2. Maximise your transaction success: If you’re taking foreign currencies, there’s a strong likelihood you’re going to see payments from credit cards you’re unfamiliar with. Those cards might raise red flags if they were attached to domestic orders, but for international orders they’re quite normal.
Making sure your payments system can understand when to halt transactions due to fraud concerns is the key to optimising your sales. This is something that a good payments partner will be able to help you with.
3. Put the customer first: Imagine yourself in the customer’s shoes. What can you do to make it easier for them to make a purchase? Lawrence says that translating your site into local languages can be enormously important, and I’d add to that the need to build trust with the customer.
Speaking to them in their own language helps to achieve this already, of course, but there’s also room for other tactics. Offering the customer ways to pay that are popular in their country – for example iDeal in The Netherlands – is one of them, while ensuring the payment page clearly displays all costs, including shipping and taxes, is another.
There are very good reasons to make sure the basics for international payments are in place. The opportunities – and the potential rewards – of overseas trade are growing.
Figures from the IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index1 show that 27.5% of the UK’s online orders went to international destinations in September 2016. That’s up from 23.8% in the same period last year, and could be an indication that overseas buyers are becoming more comfortable with international shopping.
And with a growing market of overseas buyers to sell to, taking care of the payment basics could really help you to appeal to them.