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Comment: Why UK retailers should target international shoppers this Christmas

Global cross-border online sales are expected to more than double over the next five years and the UK’s weakened pound is offering British retailers a world of opportunity this Christmas.

Clothing is the most popular category for cross-border purchases globally and the UK is one of the three most popular cross-border online shopping destinations.

The sheer scale of this opportunity was particularly clear during the recent Black Friday Sales event. While figures released by Springboard showed that online sales increased by just 6.7% on the day in the UK, many retailers selling internationally recorded cross-border sales increases that were, on average, 24% higher than the same period last year.

So why aren’t more fashion retailers exploring how they can grow their business internationally? The problem is, selling internationally can be complicated. Retailers need to consider import taxes and duties, local regulation, local currencies and local payment methods specific to each market. In addition, cross-border logistics and reverse logistics can be complex and expensive. As a result, many UK retailers are not providing international shoppers with the seamless shopping experience they provide to domestic shoppers.

Fortunately, there are a few areas where retailers can focus their efforts to make a big impact on sales and conversions. To target international shoppers, fashion retailers must make sure their offerings are simple, localised and transparent.

Five top tips for success

  • Have multiple shipping options at reasonable rates.
  • Display prices in local currency and in a localised rounded format.
  • Offer your international shoppers the ability to pay using their local payment methods.
  • Always aim to put the customer’s mind at ease.
  • Offer a transparent returns policy and return options that are relevant to international shoppers.

UK fashion retailers cannot afford to ignore the growing cross-border online opportunity. With the high affinity for British brands worldwide and the pound weakening against the US dollar and the euro, there is an enormous opportunity for UK fashion retailers to boost sales by targeting shoppers worldwide, both this festive season and all year round.

Nir Debbi is co-founder and chief marketing officer at Global-e


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