Voice of the Industry

2021 is the year to localise and personalise your cross-border ecommerce experience

Tuesday 9 February 2021 09:05 CET | Editor: Stefana Ivan | Voice of the industry

Arik Shtilman of Rapyd : ‘78% of all online shoppers worldwide abandon their carts, and abandonment rates are higher for cross-border transactions. Offering local payment methods can improve conversions and acceptance rates' 

Nearly 88% of ecommerce leaders worldwide see cross-border payments as critical to their company’s long-term success. Yet only 35% say their company is sufficiently equipped to sell cross-border with regularity. 

There is a gap between ecommerce leaders’ understanding of how important cross-border commerce is and what is needed to seize this huge and complex opportunity. While the task may seem daunting, modern fintech and ecommerce solutions can make the process easier than you might think. 

Localise payments to drive global online sales growth 

Merchants face several challenges when expanding beyond their home markets, not the least of which is understanding regional payment preferences and integrating local payment methods into their checkout experiences. 

On average, 78% of all online shoppers worldwide abandon their carts, and abandonment rates are higher for cross-border transactions. Offering local payment methods can improve conversions and acceptance rates. 

Many western countries favour cards, but around the world, it is a different story. In Southeast Asia, offering bank transfers and e-wallets is a must. Cash vouchers like Boleto are indispensable in Latin America. Using a Global Payments Network, like Rapyd’s, can simplify global commerce by providing shoppers with their preferred payment methods across countries and regions.

Why merchants fail when expanding into new markets 

When a typical European merchant starts going global, they are now faced with hundreds of different local payment methods. Credit cards – which remain a major payment method in Europe – can count for less than 50% of sales in many markets. 

Such merchants may then encounter shoppers’ preferences for cash-on-delivery in Latin America, or realise that instalment payments are becoming a must-have for a clothing brand that needs to engage millennial consumers in Australia. 

To meet acceptance rate and cost targets, merchants need to start thinking locally in each of their operational markets. In the past, this has meant difficult and costly work to find and negotiate with local payment partners and execute complex technical integrations. 

Now, however, Fintech-as-a-Service platforms offer all-in one solutions that optimise the payment experience based on customer location, while also providing additional services like fraud management, compliance, single-settlement, and foreign exchange. 

Other elements of successful localisation 

In digital commerce, cultural distance is more important than physical distance. While payments are critical, many other elements of the customer experience must also be localised and optimised to drive sales and loyalty in any market. These elements include: 

Local currencies 

73% of cross-border shoppers want to pay in their own local currency and 45% of cross-border shoppers feel uncomfortable buying in a foreign currency. Displaying prices in local currency is not optional. Retail Info System’s research shows that one in four shoppers leave a website if their local currency is not displayed. Consumers can’t make a value judgment if they aren’t familiar with the currency. 


Having site navigation, product descriptions, reviews, and instructions throughout the checkout experience professionally translated helps build trust. Modern browsers may be able to translate sites, but they leave the content feeling foreign and unfamiliar. 

Site design 

Designing sites and apps to meet regional expectations and preferences helps international merchants feel like local, trusted businesses. Design preferences vary around the globe. For instance, Japanese ecommerce web design tends to use much less white space than US sites.

Mobile web and/or apps 

Preferences for mobile shopping change as you expand abroad. For instance, US consumers make purchases on mobile sites and mobile apps. In China, consumers have a strong preference for in-app purchases. And UK consumers prefer to complete transactions on the mobile web. Progressive web apps are an emerging trend where mobile sites use HTML5 to deliver an app-like experience, and they can help merchants improve conversions across regions. 

Shipping and fulfilment 

As retailers grow their business overseas, they should consider working with a third-party logistics company (3PL) that specialises in cross-border fulfilment and allows merchants to store their goods across borders to optimise delivery times.

Customer support 

Providing customer support in your customers’ languages helps make your company feel local even when you are half a world away. If live local language support operators are out of the question, consider a robust local language self-help section and/ or chatbot. 

In cross-border commerce, act local to grow global 

Local languages create trust, local currencies allow customers to make value judgments, and popular payment methods drive conversions. Embrace these tactics to fulfil your cross-border destiny.

This editorial was first published in our Cross-Border Payments and Ecommerce Report 2020–2021, which assesses the change of pace that occurred in 2020 and provides a comprehensive overview of the major trends driving growth in this space, being the ultimate source of information for players interested in selling across borders. 

About Arik Shtilman 
Arik is a cloud services expert and was surprised by the challenges of legacy payments infrastructure that hinders growth in the payment space. Arik started Rapyd to help build a global financial technology infrastructure that allows ecommerce merchants, gig economy platforms, financial institutions, or any business to embed financial services into their consumer offerings in a very simple way. 

About Rapyd

Rapyd is the fastest way to power local payments anywhere, enabling companies to expand worldwide without building complex payments infrastructure. By utilising Rapyd’s global payments network and flexible Fintech-as-a-Service platform businesses can accept and disburse funds and create innovative payment experiences. 

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Keywords: Arik Shtilman, Rapyd, online shoppers, cart abandonment, cross-border payments, local payments, acceptance rates, ecommerce
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: World
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