UK retailers targeting overseas customers with improved online shopping experience


MICROS Systems, a leading provider of information technology solutions for the hospitality and retail industries, is delighted to announce the publication of the third International eCommerce Delivery Report, sponsored by Royal Mail.

The 2014 edition of this research put UK retailers to the test, looking at the online retail proposition on offer to overseas customers and whether the promise is being fulfilled. The study included the evaluation of 112 UK retailers, with a panel of shoppers in 20 countries placing online orders.

The research shows UK retailers are offering more delivery options to overseas shoppers. Of the retailers tested in this year’s research, 31% had a standard and an express delivery service for international customers, up from 18% in 2012. There is still room for improvement, however, as 83% of retailers offer at least two options for delivery within the UK.

Retailers are also targeting international customers by offering free delivery over a certain order value threshold. Of the international shoppers, 34% were offered free delivery if they spent a certain amount, up from 6% in 2012.

As well as an improved delivery service, retailers are also making the online shopping experience easier for international customers. Of the shoppers, 91% were able to see delivery information about their country on the retailer’s delivery information page, up from 73% in 2012.

On top of this, there has also been an increase in the number of retailers offering address look-up functionality for overseas customers. Only 6% offered this in 2012, allowing a customer to type in their postcode and select their address from a list, while in this year’s report 18% of retailers supported this feature.

However, there is still a lot that retailers could do to make their sites more user-friendly for international customers. Only 37% of the retailers allowed customers to change currency on the website, while a mere 15% of shoppers that lived in countries where English was not spoken natively were able to view the site in their local languages.

Nick Landon, managing director, Royal Mail Parcels, said: “At Royal Mail, we like to think of international as just another postcode, and aim to help businesses deal with customers expanding overseas as easily as any other. This is a key part of the market for the group, and across both Royal Mail and Parcelforce brands we continue to deliver the solutions that retailers want.”

“The improvements in this year’s report are very encouraging. The fact 31% of the retailers provide a choice of delivery options to overseas customers, while 34% offer free delivery over a certain order threshold, shows that retailers have been focusing on delivering the same quality of service to international shoppers that UK customers can expect.”

Martin Hawkes, VP of retail at MICROS, said: “The online channel has given UK retailers easier access to overseas customers, making international markets a key driver of future growth. Our research shows that many retailers are capitalising on that opportunity and honing their websites and customer propositions to attract overseas shoppers. There is still room for improvement, however – developing a truly international service relies on having an eCommerce platform with global capability, combined with local expertise, which is what MICROS delivers to retailers.”

Other key findings include:

  • 67% of UK retailers now offer an international delivery service
  • The average delivery charge for overseas shoppers was £11.23, with charges ranging from free to £59.95
  • 4 of the 112 orders failed on the websites, the majority failing at the check-out stage