Navigating cross-border sales during COVID-19
Selling internationally opens your business to more customers, but adds the challenge of getting your products to them. Shipping across borders can be affected by shipping regulation changes and border closures. Check with the services that you use to make sure that you can fulfill your orders and meet your customers' needs. Update your business regularly so that your shipping and payment options match what is currently possible. Learn more about selling cross-border.
If you sell your products internationally, then you may be affected by changing regulations due to shipping carrier limitations and border closures. Make sure your shipping settings are up to date, with the services that are available.
You might need to make changes to your shipping settings to make sure the shipping options that you offer to customers are actually possible. If you need to make changes to your shipping settings, then you should communicate that changes have been made to your customers. You can check carrier statuses on the Shopify Help Center.
Check your shipping limitations
Borders and shipping limitations can change, and can affect your ability to fulfill your customer’s orders. For each country that you ship to, check the border status and local shipping carrier information to make sure you can still ship to your customers.
If you can't ship to a country, then you need to update and edit your shipping zones to reflect where you can ship orders.
If you rely on a third party to fulfill some of your orders, then you need to check whether they can fulfill orders as well. You might need to update and change the products that you offer on your store depending on your third party’s ability to fulfill orders.
Update your customers on changes to shipping
If your ability to fulfill any orders changes because of border closures or shipping carrier limitations, then you need to let your customers know that changes have happened.
You can email your customers to let them know that there might be delays in their order arriving. Communicating with your customers helps show that you’re monitoring the situation and care about their order being delivered. Letting customers know that their order may be affected by situations outside of your control also helps you manage customer expectations.
If you sell in different countries, then you might be using multiple currencies and payment providers. It’s important to understand the limitations of your shipping carriers when thinking about selling in other countries. If you can't ship to any of the countries that use a currency you support, then remove that currency from your payment settings.
If you do not currently sell in different countries and you’re eligible, then you can enable selling in multiple currencies to grow your customer base and reach a wider selling audience. Before you enable multiple currencies, make sure you understand the current shipping limitations in countries you want to sell in.
Complete your setup for cross-border sales
Selling in multiple currencies lets your customers pay for their orders using their local currency. This feature is a good option when your business is in one of the following situations:
- You have one online store that has international traffic and you want to increase your conversions from your international customers.
- You want to offer regional stores. For example, you have a store in one region and you'd like to sell to customers who live in a similar region, but use a different currency. For example, Australia and New Zealand are similar in that they are geographically close and share the same seasons. You could use selling in multiple currencies to sell in Australia and offer a regional experience for your New Zealand customers.
- You have a strong international presence with stores in different countries and regions. You have one international store that uses selling in multiple currencies to convert customers where you don't have a specific presence yet.
If you are using Shopify Payments and are eligible to use multiple currencies, then you can enable your store to sell in multiple currencies.
Managing your customer's expectations
Borders and shipping limitations can affect your customer's experience when placing an order with your store. When these situations change, it’s important to communicate with your customers to let them know that you’re doing what you can, and that you’re dealing with situations out of your control.
You can add a banner to explain to your customers how you are being impacted. This message can include what countries you are currently shipping to. You can also add a COVID 19 prevention policy to your store.
You can also send email newsletters to your customers to let them know how you are responding to changing limitations with shipping and fulfilling orders.
Situations change, so it’s important to set proper expectations and have open communication with your customers. You can tell your customers that you’re doing the best you can to get their order to them as soon as possible. Make sure they also know that this is subject to change depending on factors that are outside your control.