May 2, 2005, 12:00 AM

The foreign sales survey

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The U.S. Postal Service is preferred by most respondents. 40% of respondents cited the U.S. Postal Service`s Global Mail Service as their preferred method of shipping packages to foreign customers. UPS comes in second with 24%. This result was not heavily influenced by the smallest e-retailers (those under $4 million in annual sales) who made up 65% of all respondents to the survey. Among e-retailers with more than $4 million in annual sales, 39% said the USPS`s Global Mail Service delivers most of their packages to foreign customers. Nor does controlling for the percentage of foreign shipments change the result. Among respondents who report that their sites generate 15% or more of their online revenue from foreign markets, USPS is the favored delivery service of 41%, although among this group, FedEx comes in second with 22%.

Fraud is higher on foreign orders. It is conventional wisdom that online fraud is higher on transactions initiated from foreign markets, and the survey supports that conclusion. Fully 48% of respondents accepting web orders from outside the U.S. report that the level of fraud on such orders is worse than on domestic orders. By comparison, 12% report that fraud is less on foreign orders than on domestic orders.

Search engine marketing generates the preponderance of foreign web orders. It should also come as no surprise that the best way to market a retail web site overseas is through search engine marketing, since the cost of reaching foreign shoppers with a marketing message is higher using any other method. And, indeed, 58% of respondents report that the most effective method of marketing their retail sites to customers overseas is search engine marketing. Even e-mail marketing, the second-most-preferred means of marketing web sites abroad (at 23%), requires a significant investment in building lists containing foreign e-mail addresses.



Click Here for the Guide to International E-Retailing Products and Services

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