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Study: U.S. retailers missing out on global e-commerce opportunity

global ecommerce

Two primary obstacles are preventing U.S. retailers from conducting international online sales.

According to a new study from fraud prevention provider Kount, payment platform BlueSnap, and Internet Retailer, global e-commerce will reach nearly $3.5 billion in 2019, and surpass global brick-and-mortar sales by 2036. 

Although much of this growth is happening outside the U.S., the study finds fewer than half of U.S. retailers ship outside the country. North America’s top 1000 e-retailers did sell $143 billion worth of goods to customers outside the U.S. in 2018, but one retailer - Amazon - accounted for 44% of those international sales.

A survey of 129 U.S. retailers found that two primary concerns are preventing more North American retailers from catering to international shoppers: fraud and the challenge of accepting foreign currencies and payment types. Sixty percent of respondents cited “currency and payment processing” as a top obstacle to international e-commerce. An identical 60% pointed to “fraud prevention.”

Other leading obstacles include customs duties (52%), local regulations and laws (50%), fulfillment (43%), and language (36%). Unsurprisingly, 77% of respondents said integrating payment processing and fraud protection functions would be critical or extremely critical to global e-commerce.

Despite obstacles, 67% of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed that international e-commerce is a critical source of their e-commerce growth in the future, and 52% strongly or somewhat agreed that international e-commerce is suitable because they have many international customers and followers of their brand and products.

The survey also revealed the top 10 challenges respondents say they face in global payments and fraud management. In order, they are fraud management, offering needed payment methods in the countries they do business, fighting chargebacks, finding the right payments/fraud solutions providers, offering the right currencies, reporting and reconciliation, cross-border fees, conversion rates, availability of suitable settlement currencies, and maintaining multiple integrations.

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