In recent years, cross-border e-commerce in Europe has played a role of primary importance and continues to acquire more and more. Of the 268 million European online shoppers, 200 million have already ordered goods abroad at least once. ​

The data highlight the fact that cross-border e-commerce is becoming a channel used more and more even by SMEs, testifying to the fact that this sales channel is not only adapted to large multinationals. The importance of e-commerce fulfillment is also highlighted in an analysis by eMarketer on the subject of cross-border commerce. In the course of the study, 27% of the retailers surveyed stated that the delivery of the goods to the end customer represented the greatest challenge.

The most difficult challenge to face is the long delivery times to the final consumer, these are often also connected to a very high transport price, how can such a problem be overcome?

The question arises primarily from the long distance from the warehouse to the recipient. To remain competitive, e-commerce companies need a clever fulfillment strategy. A popular solution is the decentralized storage of goods in various fulfillment centers. It is no coincidence that online merchants with a strong logistics network are among the most successful companies in e-commerce. Nowadays, online merchants have the possibility to store their goods across borders and optimize their fulfillment – without having to invest millions in logistics. In this way, online orders can be sent from the fulfillment center in the respective destination country by maximizing the proximity to the end customer. Today, shipping costs have almost become a big problem for web shoppers. In addition, the increased delivery time of the package also has a negative impact on the conversion rate of an online shop. This means that as an online retailer you are more or less forced to carry the shipping costs for the buyer and therefore have to include them in the product price.

However, at the same time, you don’t want to discourage potential customers with high prices and have to look for ways to minimize shipping costs. By storing the goods in a fulfillment center in the destination country, you can achieve exactly that and reduce the delivery time as well. By partnering with a suitable logistic and fulfillment service provider in other countries, an online retailer can also benefit from the partner’s country-specific expertise. Indeed, the provider should possess accurate knowledge regarding the preferences of local customers regarding delivery options.

Another solution to adopt is that of simplifying any returns. It has been recorded that 22% of online shoppers pay close attention to the return conditions when buying products on the Internet that are shipped from abroad. For this reason, online merchants should ensure that the return shipment can be handled easily and take into account that they can benefit from good customer service if they have any questions.

The challenges to be faced in the world of cross-border e-commerce are innumerable, especially those related to the logistics and fullfillment sector. However, despite the many challenges to be faced in this sector, so are the advantages that are obtained if the correct strategy is found.