Just when you thought you had shipping and buying and software all figured out, here comes a new worry: international competition.
Companies from China and India have been pushing direct-to-consumer eCommerce for years; however, this year, many companies are pushing harder for those direct US sales because investment pressure and the need for profit is pushing international sales.
India has seen angel investments nearly double between 2011 and 2012, bringing new Indian competition to a head inside the country. According to Forbes Magazine, 2013 will be the year for Indian eCommerce companies to either make a profit and close, so the need to go US-direct will increase.
Chinese eCommerce companies have seen a fall in profitability and thus less interest from the investment community, again according to Forbes. However, growth inside China is up 66 percent, according to a report by Barclays, because of rising wages and income stability.
The problem for Chinese companies is security and fraud. Chinese customers are fearful of buying online and many Chinese companies fearful of selling, with good reason. Xinhua noted that nearly a third of all Chinese eCommerce customers fell victim to fraud last year, totally over $4 billion in consumer losses. Losses for eCommerce companies is equally high as many orders appear valid.
China’s security issues at home and India’s fight for income will mean more pressure to sell, especially in the US.
So, how to compete?
Value and location. eCommerce remains a trust game with the company that sells trust best earning the most revenue. Consider:
- Trust Logo: Tell customers you care about site security by installing a “trust” service, like those from www.truste.com or Comodo’s Trust Logo. Services like this help ensure that site traffic is coming through the same domain and that there are no hackers trying to hijack your customers and their credit cards.
- EV SSL: A regular secure certificate protects your customers from phishing and traffic hacking. An EV SSL provides extra confidence with the green URL bar, phone support and enhanced visibility that translates to higher conversions.
- Enhanced About Us Page: Show customers pictures of your staff and store, your hours, how to reach you and a phone number. Then, make sure you answer questions from your online customers just as if they lived next door. Friendly customer service does make a difference.
- Free Shipping and Free Return Shipping: UPS and FedEx provides excellent return options, which is how Zappos became the most well known online store on the web.