January 11, 2011, 1:00 PM

U.S. e-retailers miss out on selling to global shoppers, PayPal says

The U.S. lags in transactions processed from international consumers.

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U.S. e-retailers rank dead last in a PayPal study of global e-commerce, with only 14% of their transactions processed through the eBay-owned online payment service coming from international consumers. PayPal says the study of 11 countries provides evidence that U.S. Internet retailers miss out on chances to sell outside the country.

The countries with the most international e-commerce sales through PayPal are Hong Kong (96%), mainland China (90%), Japan (71%) and Canada (55%). PayPal’s Cross Border Sales study found that of the 14% of transactions U.S. e-retailers process with PayPal for international customers, 48% come from customers in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, with the rest from consumers in Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.

 “It’s a missed opportunity given that 90% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S.,” says Eddie Davis, senior director of merchant services at PayPal. Common problems faced by retailers hoping to sell outside the United States include currency conversions, international shipping and customs regulations, he says.

Besides tackling those problems, e-retailers that want to expand globally should make their sites more appealing to international customers, Davis says. “U.S. sellers should make sure their web site has a multi-language toggle, lists products in local currency and offers clear information on shipping, costs, return policies and the countries served,” he says.

 

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