Golden rules when planning international online shops


Embarking on international internet retailing is perfectly possible, and significantly increases target customer groups. However, before taking on the major players in the industry, online retailers must think about a few key considerations – especially when it comes to the payments side.

Decide on payment methods

Only those who understand and implement the principles of international online shops have the opportunity to be among the most successful retailers. It’s important that retailers offer the appropriate payment methods for each country; Britain for example has different online payment preferences from the Germans, Dutch, Polish or Swiss. In order to reach the highest proportion of buyers, they should at least offer the top three payment methods in each country where they are actively selling.

Geo-targeting: detecting users automatically

In order to offer customers the relevant payment methods, retailers should look at geo-targeting. Although this is not really a new issue, it’s frequently neglected. The simplest method in order to know which country the customer is located is to ask for the buyer’s country on the shop site, for example via a selection field or the delivery address at the checkout. Alternatively, geo-targeting can be applied invisibly for the user by reading the browser or system language and analysing the IP address.

Taking industries and target groups into account

The better online retailers know their customers, the simpler it is for them to select the right payment methods. When considering payment processes by types of goods it becomes clear that credit cards work very well when buying services – for example when booking travel. For this type of service, one in two purchases are made by credit card no matter what country. Credit cards are also important when buying digital goods such as music or downloads.

Use the expertise of others

Retailers who outsource services to payment providers (PSPs) for example, should take advantage of their local expertise as well as using them to offer new payment services. PSPs also help the retailer to collect the money so that payments arrive in the retailer’s account in foreign currencies such as euros or dollars.

Complete precise analysis

On average, 10 per cent of international customers abandon the payment page before making a purchase, meaning there is something wrong with the checkout procedure. Retailers should use tracking methods to find out what is causing this. Whatever makes them stop, retailers should find out what it is and try to remove the barriers to them completing the transaction.