According to a 2018 white paper by logistics provider DHL Express, cross-border B2B transactions are expected to reach $1.2 trillion within the next five years. To take advantage of this exploding market opportunity, a growing number of B2B merchants are launching international eCommerce stores that allow them to sell to overseas customers with greater scale and efficiency.
Although cross-border retail eCommerce has clearly been increasing, we have not yet seen substantive reporting or surveys that shed light on how B2B merchants are managing cross-border eCommerce strategies. To address that gap, Oro recently conducted the 2018 B2B Cross Border Survey, which examined how the shift into international eCommerce is unfolding and how it is likely to affect cross-border eCommerce businesses.
Oro and the other survey sponsors sent the survey to a large group of B2B merchants, suppliers, and other professionals in the space. There were a number of key takeaways in the responses, most notably that, 80 percent of companies expressed having limited experience in selling overseas.
However, seventy-five percent of those surveyed reported that they are currently making investments to support the growth of international eCommerce. Of those making investments, more than half reported those investments as “significant.”
The 2018 B2B Cross Border Survey sheds light on some of the key challenges facing companies attempting to compete in cross-border eCommerce. Some of the top cross-border issues included:
- Designing country-specific eCommerce user interfaces that are localized to each market’s specific customer preferences
- 66% of survey respondents think user experience personalization is their biggest challenge in cross border B2B eCommerce
- Adapting to local shipping logistics and customs requirements, including last-mile delivery, merchandise labeling, and cost-effective pricing
- 44% of survey respondents think that this poses the biggest challenge to them when conducting B2B eCommerce overseas
- Complying with local trade policies and business and transport laws and regulations.
- 45% of survey respondents find that VAT registration and filing in multiple countries to be their biggest challenge in terms of overseas taxes and regulation
- 33% of survey respondents think that navigating local laws and regulations is their biggest challenge when it comes to cross border B2B eCommerce
The survey made it clear that B2B merchants, regardless of geography or company size, are working to expand their cross-border eCommerce presence and making the necessary business adjustments to do so. The fact that many of the merchants surveyed have limited experience in international selling presents an opportunity for eCommerce service providers to offer dedicated help, particularly in specialized areas such as user experience design, shipping and logistics, and local taxes.
If you’re interested optimizing your B2B Cross Border strategy, the Oro team would love to chat. Contact us here.