February 4, 2013, 11:26 AM

Special Report: Global e-commerce

(Page 3 of 3)

"Dimensional weight is definitely an issue and we talk to retailers about it," Basagoitia says. "For our consumer customers we do have to pass along the higher costs for when dimensional weight exceeds actual weight, but we work to negotiate the best possible rates with the airlines to keep shipping costs down."

Make it easy to pay

Finally, retailers should localize payment options to meet consumers' preferences in each country. Many cross-border shoppers prefer to pay with alternative payment solutions native to their country.

In Russia, for example, cash on delivery is a popular payment method. In China, Alipay is widely used. Alipay is an online payment platform created by online marketplace operator Alibaba Group, China's dominant e-commerce company. Consumers fund their accounts using a debit or credit card, a money wire transfer or online transfer from their bank account.

"Retailers should offer the top two local payment options and two to three more internationally recognized options to meet consumer payment preferences, such as Visa and MasterCard or PayPal," Bense says.

With more consumers growing accustomed to shopping internationally online, retailers who make the effort to understand the unique challenges of each country, localize their web sites and delivery options, offer competitive pricing and cater to consumers' product preferences in each country stand to reap a windfall of new sales.

"Consumer behavior and cultural practices differ in every international market, even between the U.S. and Canada, and retailers need to take this into account from a marketing, merchandising and delivery perspective," Gaddy says. "The retailers that drop their U.S. mindset are the ones that will get the best results selling internationally."

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