Hitting It Big With International E-Commerce

Whether your product is an online store, marketplace, or subscription service – one of the key tasks will be to build a seamless e-commerce experience. Despite the complexity of e-commerce, the goals remain simple.

Offer optimal pricing and enable customers to easily make purchases.

Following product management best practices, the first step is to conduct research into the target country to determine pricing and relevant payment types. Benchmarking similar offerings is the most direct way to get insights into what consumers are willing to pay. If your product is in a nascent category, then reviewing analogous areas can yield similar examples. This can be supplemented with macroeconomic data like comparing disposable income to your home country as well as online usage data like purchasing patterns (e.g. mobile vs. desktop).

It’s important to also review pricing models. For example, if subscription services are not well-known in the country, you may want to be prepared to offer a different option. Similarly, it’s prudent to be ready to experiment with price variations after your MVP is live. You may want to develop alternative pricing prior to launch so that you can remain agile and quickly adapt to customer preferences.

After determining product pricing, you’ll need to get familiar with the local payment landscape.

This can be challenging because the range of payment options is diverse and varies country by country. In its 2018 Global Payments Report, WorldPay notes: “Our survey of 36 countries found at least 140 online payment methods in use today.” Credit cards are only part of the picture as “alternatives to credit and debit cards now account for more than half of e-commerce transaction volume.” Alternative Payment Methods (APMs) include eWallets like PayPal and mobile payments like Apple Pay.

The goal is to gain insight into country trends and determine how these match the audience for your product. If you’re targeting younger segments, it’s important to know that APMs are more popular in this age cohort. For example, according to WorldPay, 60 percent of 18 to 24 year olds in Germany prefer PayPal. In China, 48 percent of the same group prefer Alipay.

The diversity of payment types means that it’s essential to select the payment gateway that best fits your product and company. A payment gateway (like Adyen or Stripe) offers a range of services (from fraud protection to analytics) and enables you to accept payments from customers. It’s important to keep in mind their differences and align these with your team’s goals, capabilities, and scalability. Considerations include:

  • What are the predominant payment types in your target geographies?
  • Do they fit your business model?
  • Can they provide analytics in a consumable format?
  • For early-stage companies, do they offer quick start services like front end UI?  

In short, your partner should provide a full stack solution that addresses each step of the payment process.

E-commerce is a key part of managing products. Offering the right pricing and enabling customers to pay in familiar ways has multiple benefits. It builds positive relationships and creates trust with customers as well as improves conversion and other revenue-related metrics. Achieving fit in e-commerce is central to your international growth strategy and a foundation for future success.


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About the speaker
David Grayson Facebook, Product Manager Member

David Grayson is VP of Product at LiveCareer - leading the company's international product team to develop new solutions for career development (resumes, cover letters, interview best practices & more). Prior to joining LiveCareer, David worked for more than 10 years at Military.com before its acquisition by Monster - helping veterans secure career opportunities after serving in the military. David holds a Masters degree from The University of Chicago and currently lives in Alameda.

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