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Meet Your Clients: The International Shopper

Online shopping has abolished any borders: you no longer have to sigh about Paris fashion if you live in a provincial village, or sighing for provincial artisan cheese if you live in Paris.

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However, most users still prefer to buy in their national area, as for international shopping they expect high shipping costs, longer shipping times, difficulties in changes and returns, customs retentions, as well as the maintenance of prejudices against some countries.

How often do they make international purchases?

The pace is moderate, largely because this type of shopping responds to whims or non-urgent needs, which may face weeks or even months of shipping. Fortunately, delivery times have been streamlined in recent years, although costs continue to be a negative factor for many users accustomed to flat marketplaces rates, and free shipping on mass-volume websites.

Normally, they make an international order at least once a year, but there are lots of customers that have not yet dared to make any international purchase. Younger people with fewer fears and prejudices to this kind of purchase will increase the percentages in the next years, as their purchasing power grows.

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What products are most common in their purchases?

For many users, if something already exists their country, it does not make sense to buy the same thing foreign with all the hassles it entails. But the advantages of discounts and offers, as well as the lack of access to certain brands in physical stores, mean that international buyers are often looking for clothing, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics, followed by hardware and leisure products such as books, records or films that maybe are not yet released in their country.

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What are their reasons for shopping?

Offers and discounts are the indisputable hook in the online purchase, whatever its area, but even more so in the case of international purchases. Only thanks to a great price or discount will you be able to convince the user to purchase a product that he will not receive and enjoy immediately. Another type of customer will prefer to pay more for a domestic product, thus supporting nearby businesses; but international buyer only looks to the highest bidder and the best buying conditions, not to borders.

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What are their most common problems?

If it is already difficult to attract international customers, the shopping process in the online store has to be as smooth as possible, in order to avoid losing clients during the paying process. This warning is not random, as many international buyers are faced with a feeling of distrust on the web, data revealed too late (such as payment methods and shipping times), complex and poorly explained processes, and product information gaps.

Technical failures that can suspend navigation or payment are not so common, and can always be resolved through an excellent customer service. Remember the value of completing your catalog as comprehensively as possible, even through a PIM system that distributes all the elements that your clients demand, such as good translations in different languages, creative and informative texts, and high quality images.

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