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UK Online Retailers Still Struggling to Cater for Global Buyers
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UK Online Retailers Still Struggling to Cater for Global Buyers

Despite the majority of UK e-retailers now offering international delivery, new research hints they could still be doing more to satisfy their foreign customers.

MICROS, a supplier of cloud-based end-to-end software for e-commerce businesses, has revealed that 67% of online retailers offer delivery overseas, with 34% even providing this service for free to some of their higher spenders.

UK companies seem to be falling foul in the crucial area of user experience, where a lack of translation and currency conversion options are hindering their progress.

Brits abroad

According to MICROS’ latest International Ecommerce Delivery Report, the third of its kind, a growing number of retailers in Britain are attempting to grow their business by expanding overseas.

With the aim of compiling an honest, unbiased review of their international services, the group recruited a panel of 20 shoppers from 20 different countries to test the websites of 112 British retailers.

Results from this year’s study revealed widespread improvements from research in the past. MICROS discovered that 90% of retailers now supply country-specific delivery information to their international customers, up from 74% in 2012, while the proportion of on-time deliveries has risen from 58% in 2012 to 74% in 2014.

Those same delivery times shrunk to an average period of 8-9 days in a set of results that Nick Landon - managing director at report sponsor Royal Mail Parcels - described as “very encouraging”.

However, foreign user experience still remains a weak point for UK retailers, as just 37% enabled their customers to change over to a preferred currency for the sake of establishing a familiar value for their items.

In addition to this, a mere 18% of retailers supported local address look-up on their sites, while only 12.5% of sites were able to translate their content to suit a local language.  

Room for improvement

Other oddities experienced by foreign buyers included hefty delivery charges to Australia and Sweden, scant evidence of parcel tracking information for customers in Indonesia and a lack of pace in shipping items to Germany.

Contrastingly, testers in key online markets such as China and the US reported no problems in their comments after the study.   

After assessing its findings, MICROS concluded that UK retailers can brush up their international act with several tweaks to their service, such as offering local address look-up and offering a free delivery threshold to perhaps satisfy priority customers.     

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Richard Towey

Richard Towey

Richard serves as head of content at PerformanceIN. After many years spent covering developments from the automotive, sports, travel and finance sectors, he eventually turned his full attention to reporting on stories from the fast-evolving world of digital marketing. Richard now heads up the editorial team at PerformanceIN: the performance marketing industry's leading publication.  

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