Understanding the drivers of cross-border e-commerce in Europe


The world is getting smaller. Fuelled by advances in broadband penetration, internet speeds and increasingly sophisticated e-commerce solutions, consumers’ online behaviour is changing. No longer restricted to buying locally, today’s discerning consumer is travelling the world via the web from the comfort of their sofa to find unique products at the best price. Borders don’t apply online and international shopping is on the rise. According to Nielsen figures, in the UK alone there are 15.9 million online cross-border shoppers, spending £8.5 billion in 2013 – and that’s expected to climb to £18 billion by 2018.

This poses a significant business opportunity for retailers, but there are some major hurdles that must be overcome before this opportunity can be fully realised. The challenge lies in being able to effectively capture the attention of cross-border customers, as they roam the internet looking for the best deals. It’s the modern day equivalent of a man walking up and down the street with an eye-catching sandwich board, touting a company’s wares. Without search, businesses would be close to invisible online.


Moving past the recognition phase, search plays a multi-functional role in the purchasing cycle. It helps consumers cast a wide net over a vast number of potential solutions to whatever they are in the search for. It enables potential customers to compare selected solutions, based on criteria that matter to them. It introduces consumers to websites where they can make purchases, and it empowers the consumer to validate buying decisions by providing access to rich information about their purchase at a later stage.

With the rise in cross-border e-commerce, paid search becomes one of the most effective, cost-efficient ways for retailers to harness the web. It’s measurable. Businesses can set up multi-lingual, localised campaigns at the touch of a button, helping them reach out to potential customers in their mother tongue. For smaller businesses, paid search can help build brand awareness in new markets by ensuring the company name is in a prominent position when customers search online, helping to establish trust.


The Yahoo Bing Network operates in 35 countries worldwide and puts businesses in touch with people who are likely to spend 92 percent more than the average internet searcher. In Europe alone, there are 110 million unique searchers who contribute to over 1.3 billion searches every month. We help retailers get in front of hundreds of millions of unique searchers looking for products or services on bing.com, Yahoo, MSN, and Outlook.com but also when using their Windows Phone, Xbox, Windows 8 devices or even their Kindle Fire or Mac. Our Bing Ads Intelligence Tool helps marketers understand who is searching and what keywords they’re using. SiteLink Extensions direct customers to specific pages on a brand’s website, quickly routing consumers to the exact information they want, while location extensions ensure prospective customers see a local phone number and the nearest business address automatically.


But while global shopping certainly starts with search, it doesn’t end there. So we’ve curated a crossing borders white paper, which provides tips and guidance to retailers embarking on a journey towards internationalisation. We’ve included feedback from businesses that have successfully expanded their business beyond their domestic markets, and advice from digital experts and marketing specialists on topics such as targeting the right countries, finding the right payment platform and optimising mobile. We hope that these insights and guidance serve as a helpful boost for businesses seeking to capitalise on this fast-growing trend, as the product and the right search marketing strategy become more decisive than the business address of the retailer.

To find out more please visit Bing Ads to download the full whitepaper.

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