Why international shoppers abandon carts is one of the biggest pain points for international online retailers. According to a study by ContentSquare, 81% of online shoppers have left items in a cart and not gone through with a sale, and in 2017 alone $7 trillion USD worth of goods were deserted before purchase.

You may have noticed your cross-border shoppers tend to desert their carts more than domestic shoppers – this is not an uncommon issue. In fact, in Australia for example, cart abandonment is much higher than in Europe or North America – 57% of Australians discard their carts, compared to 41% of Europeans and 47% of North Americans.

So why is this happening? There are 3 common reasons international shoppers abandon carts.

1. Lack of localisation

Shoppers want to feel right at home when they come to your online store, so they should be able to see their own currency, country’s flag and delivery options straight away. Language is also very important for foreign, non-English speaking shoppers. According to a Linguistica survey, 56% of consumers say the ability to obtain product information in their own language is more important than price.

To discourage abandoned carts or immediate bouncing, retailers should place a ‘welcome mat’ that shows shoppers exactly how their experience will be tailored to them, regardless of where they are in the world.

Other localisation issues that can make international shoppers abandon carts include:

  • Lack of local currency
  • No duty or tax information
  • Lack of local shipping/delivery information
  • Lack of language options



2. Complicated checkout process

A fast, seamless checkout experience with as few steps as possible is the optimal way to ensure your brand is not losing valuable international sales. The less information shoppers need to enter in the checkout the better. A report published by Forrester found that 11% of U.S. adults abandoned an online purchase because they either didn’t want to register or the site was asking for too much information.

A great checkout should also use the shopper’s language, and display the full cost of the purchase in the shopper’s currency – all duties and taxes included. The shopper must then be able to complete their purchase with the payment method of their choice.

A frictionless checkout must eliminate anything that isn’t relevant or makes the process difficult, thus negatively impacting the shopper’s experience and affecting conversion.



3. Returns policy

A recent study by ContentSquare found that 59% of customers will not purchase from a foreign online store if the returns cost is high. Shoppers, regardless of location, want the ability to return an item without extra expense.

Therefore, to ensure fewer of your international shoppers abandon carts, you must create a returns policy that is easy to understand and locate on your website. Once a shopper has decided to return an item, they should have access to a web-based portal that allows them to select the items they wish to return, provide a reason for return, print a prepaid label and return it in the way they choose.

With more than 40% of cross border shoppers citing returns as a reason to abandon their purchase, and 95% of online shoppers willing to repeat a purchase after experiencing a satisfactory returns process, providing an easy, transparent returns policy should be a priority for online retailers.



To find out more customer experience insights, download our new whitepaper, Customer service and e-commerce, in partnership with Salesupply: