Cross-border sales account for a fifth of the e-commerce market, and are expected to surge to $900 billion by 2020. These three success stories provide instructive examples for companies eying similar expansions.

Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren beats apparel brands like Uniqlo and Gap when it comes to the extent of its cross-border e-commerce capabilities, according to L2’s Cross-Border E-Commerce report. The brand achieves streamlined scale by using the technology platform Borderfree, which wrangles together the necessary back-end systems and coordinates with local carriers.

Borderfree is integrated into Ralph Lauren’s site and e-commerce platform, so consumers receive shipping information that is both tailored and templated – encouraging out-of-market shoppers to continue exploring the site. For example, Mexico-based shoppers receive free express shipping, while Qatar-based customers pay $20 for express shipping on orders above $150.

Localization capabilities

To maximize the value of a cross-border business, L2’s study makes clear that brands should focus on localizing certain aspects of their international sites, especially language and currency. London-based Fashion e-tailer Farfetch delivers these essential features and more. Farfetch auto-detects the shopper’s country of origin, as well as allowing users to select their location manually if desired. Chinese customers can also check out using the major online payment platforms Alipay and UnionPay – a strategic effort to tap into China’s growing demand for e-commerce.


Italy-based online retailer Yoox focuses its localization efforts on high-volume cross-border markets, driving traffic with shipping perks. The homepage makes clear that the retailer provides free standard shipping on all U.S., China, and France orders, as well as free shipping with a $50 minimum order in Australia. While free shipping is the top driver of cross-border shopping, just 26% of brand sites with international shipping offer the service for free, according to L2’s study. Furthermore, only 23% percent of those sites advertise the perk on their homepage – giving Yoox a competitive advantage.

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