The last few years marked by Brexit, Covid, new rules, inflation, and shifts in consumer behavior, taught us a lesson: the cross-border supply chain function is on the front line of global disruptions.   

If you want to do well in e-commerce while others fail, you need to be one step ahead of the upcoming challenges, opportunities, and disruptions to implement the right strategies.   

To help you level up your e-commerce game in 2023, we asked experts from across the e-commerce ecosystem to share easy-to-implement and ultimate strategies that fit into the 2023 cross-border landscape.  


Overview of the global e-commerce market

Before diving into actionable strategies, a brief overview of the e-commerce market is needed. E-commerce has undoubtedly become an indispensable part of the global retail framework over the last few years. In 2021, e-commerce sales surpassed 5.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide, and this figure is only expected to reach new heights in the coming years. On the other hand, global crises like Covid and inflation, coupled with growing expectations for seamless shopping journeys, brought unprecedented challenges for retailers to earn their customers’ trust.   

A recent UK survey highlighted a serious loss of trust amidst the current chaotic climate. 85% of consumers are either not, or only somewhat, confident that online deliveries will arrive on time or undamaged. With high inflation around the globe, consumers are also left with less purchasing power, which is reflected in shopping carts. In such a context, competitive prices and frictionless journeys will be the main buying trigger in 2023. 86% of consumers would leave a brand after as few as two poor experiences.   


1 Make the shopping experience as swift as a local purchase

“Consumers should not notice complexity in their journey – if retailers do not actively seek to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible, they have a higher risk of abandoned shopping baskets and loss of revenue.” Paul McCormack, Founder, ILS.   

Buying online should be easy as easy for the customer as “find product – add to cart – enter card details – done!”. If your checkout forms are too long or confusing, shoppers will be likely to abandon their purchase like 24.8% of customers surveyed. Yet, checkout forms alone are not enough to make a journey seamless. The way you handle the delivery and returns will play a fundamental role in the buying decision too. So much so that over 60% of consumers read through a return policy before even making a purchase.  


2 Offer full cost transparency to your customers

“If you can expose all the costs at checkout, that’s going to be your key to success. If you hit your customers with additional costs after the point of checkout, they are going to be disloyal and they are not going to shop with you again.” David McGrath, Group Marketing Director at Jersey Post.   

You can spend time and money on perfecting the user experience, but at the end of the day, a customer needs to know the exact shipping fees, VAT amounts, import duties, and currency variables. It is key to building trust and offering a transparent shopping experience, as 59% of online shoppers are afraid of fees or duties not being made clear at checkout. When you think that each country applies its own rates and rules, using a duty and tax calculator like Eurora’s Duty & Tax calculation service can help you a great deal.   


3 Capture key data to improve the delivery experience

“Sellers of any size should focus on setting their carrier up for success, and this starts in the checkout journey. Capturing a fully validated address and postcode or W3W, email and mobile phone number with every order will put the customer in control by enabling the detailed tracking and communications journey that most carriers now offer as standard, as well as massively improving the chances of a ‘right first time’ delivery, whilst setting realistic expectations of delivery lead time will avoid disappointed customers chasing their delivery. Combine this with robust product information (accurate weights and dimensions, tariff codes etc) and you have eliminated many of the causes of poor delivery experience before you start.” Chris Haighton, Head of Outbound Logistics, The Very Group.

One of the main reasons behind delivery issues is the lack of data or wrong information. As part of a recent survey, 74% of retail respondents cited bad address data as the cause of up to a quarter of their deliveries failing, and one-third either don’t verify address data or leave it up to the courier. When addresses are inaccurate or incomplete, the study found that 41% of deliveries are delayed, and 39% simply fail.   


4 Get rid of unnecessary costs to stay competitive

“In the short term, your focus has to be on cutting indirect costs and waste. All the costs that are not specifically concerned with customer experience have to be rigorously scrutinized and reduced where possible.” Walter Blackwood, Managing Director and Principal Consultant, W&MB Consulting.  

Price is one of the main buying triggers amidst inflation and economic uncertainty. If you want to stay competitive while maintaining healthy profit margins, you need to cut unnecessary costs. The best route for eCommerce companies to follow is to address low-hanging fruits like your export operational costs. Automating routine tasks like allocating an HS code, calculating duties and taxes, or checking import restrictions can help you significantly cut operational costs.   


5 Partner with e-commerce compliance experts

“Cross-border compliance can be complex and feel like it’s ever-changing, but it doesn’t need to be the main concern keeping any retailer asleep at night. Nowadays, partnering with a digitally enabled cross-border specialist like Eurora means you can reach markets worldwide so much easier than you thought. Retailers can get on with delivering their customer promise while we take care of your compliance with national and international laws.” Michelle De Pasquale, Global Growth Commercial Director at Eurora.

Being compliant with national and international trade laws is key, but it doesn’t mean you have to manage everything yourself. Retailers do not need to be tax and compliance experts to successfully run their sales around the globe. Partnering with a cross-border compliance professional like Eurora will take away all your pain and give you time to focus on your core expertise. You can have a dedicated Tax Consultant and put your compliance in the safe hands of experienced and qualified professionals.   


6 Take advantage of the Artificial Intelligence revolution

“The days of guessing games with shipping charges on goods between countries could come to an end – thanks to technology. We’re expecting to see more retailers use automation (such as Machine Learning/AI and alternative delivery methods) in the shipping and delivery process. Consumers could feel at ease knowing the accuracy and efficiency of how they’re purchasing and receiving their goods. Retailers can expect to see an increase in revenue by removing uncertainty for the consumer.” Chris Lentjes, CEO of US operations at Eurora.  

Artificial Intelligence plays a fundamental role in leveling up the customer experience and bringing innovative solutions to pressing issues. The extent to which artificial intelligence can be used in e-commerce is enormous. This can range from product recommendations, virtual assistants and chatbots, to automated compliance processes. AI-enabled supply-chain management has allowed adopters to improve logistics costs by 15%, inventory levels by 35%, and service levels by 65%. Eurora pioneered the use of AI for cross-border compliance and saves its customers 1 billion hours of manual work.  


7 Make peace with marketplaces to multiply touchpoints

“Established large retailers and growing start-up brands will inevitably need to be part of a larger marketplace to succeed. Just as in the 1800s, shops congregated onto what became high streets and shopping malls, on the Internet the same destination sites are increasingly multi-brand, multi-retailer platforms and offer greater / wider exposure to traffic than any single brand, regardless of size, could attract with their own resources. The sheer number of marketplace choices is one of the key considerations a growing brand should take into account when venturing into this environment; brand alignment, country or global reach, trading conditions, growth plan to name but a few.” Chris Dawson, Editor-in-Chief, ChannelX Media.

Marketplaces are still dominating the e-commerce retail industry. Experts predict that 50-70% of digital commerce will be conducted on marketplace platforms by 2025. Retailers usually see these figures as a threat to their revenue. What if you were looking at marketplaces the wrong way? The popularity and diversity of marketplaces are a great opportunity for you to diversify your selling channels instead of relying on one platform alone. According to a recent report, by 2027, third-party sales through marketplaces will be the largest and fastest-growing retail channel globally, adding more than $1.3 trillion in sales by 2027 and accounting for 38% of all global retail sales growth.   


Win in cross-border e-commerce with Eurora

To be successful in e-commerce, all your actions and effort should aim at offering a great customer experience and building trust. Yet, being customer centric doesn’t mean you should carry everything on your shoulders. You do not need to be a tax and compliance expert to successfully run an online shop and ship across the world. Partnering with a cross-border compliance professional like Eurora will take away all your pain while bringing success, scalability, and time to focus on your core expertise.  

By using Eurora’s cross-border compliance platform, you can:        

  • Assign HS codes: Get the correct HS/HTS code for your goods in real-time. We support up to 10 digits HS codes and country-specific nomenclatures.    
  • Calculate Duty & Tax: display the applicable VAT and duty rates in real-time at checkout. We support any currency and more than 160 countries.    
  • Put your EU tax compliance on autopilot: Eurora’s fully automated IOSS service offers a secure way to take care of your VAT registration and reporting when shipping goods to the EU.    
  • Check for restrictions: check if your items are subject to any import/export restrictions, and make sure your customer is not on any denied parties` list. Our database covers most countries in the world.