July 31, 2014, 12:02 PM

Global retailers face payment challenges

Some e-commerce operators are expanding payment options as they expand globally.

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E-retailers face many challenges when selling to customers around the globe: logistics, laws and marketing. Processing international payments also presents difficulties for some retailers, according to a new and exclusive Internet Retailer survey.

7.1% of respondents to a poll conducted in June and July cited “international payments” as their biggest headache when selling online across borders. That’s higher than “local competition,” pegged by 2.9%, but lower than fulfillment (27.1%), legal/regulatory issues (20.0%), marketing (18.6%) and customer service (10.0%). “Other” attracted responses from 14.3% of respondents.

The full survey results, reinforced by comments from e-retailers and analysts, will appear in the August issue of Internet Retailer magazine. The results are based on responses from 80 survey participants.

Amazon.com Inc. and eBay stand as two notable and recent examples of e-retailers striving to expand cross-border sales—specifically, to Latin America.

EBay in May, for instance, announced the launch of localized sites in Latin America. Consumers in 18 countries throughout the region will now be able to shop eBay’s online and mobile marketplaces in Spanish and Portuguese using local currencies. (eBay expands in Latin America: http://www.internetretailer.com/2014/05/15/ebay-enters-latin-america) More than 2 million Latin American consumers had already purchased items off eBay.com in English using U.S. dollars, the company says. 

EBay also is testing enabling Brazilian shoppers to fund their PayPal accounts with Boleto Bancário, a service that invoices a consumer at checkout and enables a shopper to make a payment at her local bank, post office, ATM or lottery outlet. Currently, eBay shoppers in Latin America can only pay using PayPal, which eBay owns.  

Also in May, sources told Internet Retailer that Amazon would soon start selling in Brazil printed books as well as its Kindle electronic book reader and e-books.

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