Voice of the Industry

Overcoming cross-border challenges: trust as one solution

Thursday 31 January 2019 07:25 CET | Voice of the industry

Shaun Packiarajah, Ecommerce Foundation: Consumer’s confidence and trust when shopping online play a crucial role in their decision to buy

Ecommerce is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. The total ecommerce transaction value worldwide is estimated to be USD 2,875,507 million in 2018 (Statista Worldwide Digital Commerce, 2018), with a global user base of 2,818,000,000 estimated online shoppers.

These figures are remarkable, yet there are still barriers to the wider adoption of ecommerce. Cross-border ecommerce is on the rise, yet consumers still have the tendency to stick to their domestic online stores or to those within the local region.

Increasing adoption of cross-border trade: 5 key barriers

Consumer protection

Most consumers find it difficult to understand (and use) the consumer protection regulations/legislation in their own country/region, let alone in other countries across the globe. However, when deciding to shop online at a foreign store, this can become a big issue for a consumer. Price and convenience may reign supreme, yet this is predicated on a secure foundation on which to make that purchase. Why buy a cheap deal online if you’re worried it may never arrive?

The quality of the goods

When in-store, one can clearly see, touch, and evaluate the quality of a potential purchase. However, online obviously doesn’t allow this, and making a purchase from an unknown online shop cross-border can flag up certain questions in a consumers’ mind, discouraging them from opting for a cross-border choice.

Concerns about delivery

Convenience is a key driver of ecommerce, as mentioned previously. This is also extending to delivery, where consumers want efficient and cheap (preferably free!) options. Extra hassle or delay in this process can be enough to dissuade a potential cross-border consumer.

Dispute resolution

No one likes having a problem with their purchase, whether that be online or in-store. When it does happen, consumers expect to resolve it with ease. Legislation is catching up in this area with examples such as the EU’s Online Dispute Resolution system. Without the certainty of having a potential problem resolved and with a lack of comprehensible information about this, consumers will shy away from global ecommerce when procedures are not clear or in place at all.

Consumer payment problems

Online transactions live and die on the ability for their consumers to pay easily and quickly once they have made the decision to buy. This requires coordination with retailers to make the experience smooth, quick, and easy. If a consumer is not confident of the available cross-border payment options or is not given enough choice, the results will be a missed sale and a negative experience moving forward.

Solidifying trust for the consumer: the trustmark

One way to increase the trust that consumers have when purchasing online are trustmarks, such as Safe.Shop. As seen in the graph below, consumers were asked:

(click to enlarge)

As seen above, 70% of consumers felt that this would have a positive impact on their trust for an online store. Trustmarks provide a visual indication that not only has a third-party verified the online store, but the store itself has gone through the effort to prioritise gaining the confidence of potential consumers.

A Verbrauchezentrale report stated that “76% are more likely to choose a website with a trustmark.” In terms of a direct and easy-to-implement strategy, displaying a trustmark is one of the top choices for ecommerce businesses. 

Trustmarks are great for small/medium-sized online shops as well as for those expecting new shoppers. This is because trustmarks can act as a substitute for certain consumer trust points, such as previous experience with the online shop (Guohua, W., Xiaorui, H., & Yuhong, W., Effects of Perceived Interactivity, Perceived Web Assurance and Disposition to Trust on Initial Online Trust, 2010). This is backed by previous academic studies stating that shoppers will be more receptive to trustmarks on an unfamiliar online store (Özpolat, K., & Jank, W., Getting the most out of third party trust seals: An empirical analysis. Decision Support Systems, 73, 47-56, 2015).

Cross-border ecommerce can grow faster with more trust

Consumer’s confidence and trust when shopping online play a crucial role in their decision to buy. To drive growth (and therefore revenue), boosting this confidence is key. One avenue to closing the trust gap for consumers when buying cross-border is with a trustmark. By putting forward a trusted third-party to verify an online shop, the trust barriers consumers encounter when shopping cross-border can be overcome.

“Trust is at the core of online trade. To push cross-border ecommerce to new heights, a global trustmark is needed.” (Manolo de la Fuente)

This editorial was first published in our Payments and Commerce Market Guide 2018-2019. The Guide presents the key trends and developments in global and regional payment methods by highlighting the innovation, challenges, and developments in the use of the most important payment methods across geographies and verticals.

About Shaun Packiarajah

Shaun graduated with a Master’s degree in Victimology and Criminal Justice from the University of Tilburg. As part of the Research Team at the Ecommerce Foundation, he is involved in creating content and reports. His background is in public administration, policy creation, and statistical analysis.


About Ecommerce Foundation

Ecommerce Foundation is an independent organisation, initiated by national ecommerce associations worldwide and omnichannel-online companies from the retail, travel, and finance industries. Our mission is to facilitate ecommerce through the development of practical knowledge, market insights, and services.

About Safe.Shop

Safe.Shop is the Global Ecommerce Trustmark initiated by Ecommerce Foundation, helping online shops selling nationally and cross-border by creating consumer trust. Safe.Shop services include an ecommerce Global Code of Conduct certification, a Consumer Review System, and an automated Trust Score.

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Keywords: Ecommerce Foundation, Safe.Shop, cross-border, payments, expert opinion, ecommerce, Customers
Countries: World