Crossing the Borders (Australia) – Globalized E-Commerce

“Is it safe to transact with a brand priced in a different currency? Will I receive my item? How much tax will I have to shoulder? How do I return it if it’s damaged?”

These are some of the questions that boggle a consumer’s mind whenever we come across a merchant that delivers from another country. Cross-border e-commerce is the very definition of online international trade. This involves the purchase of products online wherein the buyer and the seller use different currencies and are not residing in the same country. Sometimes, they even have to circumnavigate between different languages.

I’m a new business – how do I get in on the cross-border business

Established in 1999, Borderfree is a platform that provides the opportunity to hundreds of online retailers to ship their products to more than 200 countries. With this, you can checkout in your local currency whilst taking advantage of their exclusive offers without the fear of getting scammed no matter where you place your orders.

Pitney Bowes launched in Australia last 2016 and it has now given trustworthy and reliable reputation to home-grown brands such as Adore Beauty and R.M William.

In 2016, the value of cross-border e-commerce amounted to over $50 billion AUD and Australia was estimated to be the fourth most popular source of products, alongside with US, Japan and Korea.

I’m an Aussie – is it safe for me to enter the international marketplace?

Yes! Yes, it is. With language as the key driver in cross-border e-commerce, Australia is at an advantage since the main language, which is English, is spoken by approximately 80% of the population.

Studies have shown that Aussies are among the most likely online consumers to shop overseas at 63% followed by Canadians and Russians. Since Australian consumers are more understanding of the slower pace of cross-border purchases, 36% of the expected cross-border shipments only take up to 2 weeks.

How can I dominate the cross-border e-commerce?

It’s pertinent to note that there are a few things you need to have on your e-commerce website to enhance and customize your cross-border success. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What country are they buying from?
  2. Which time zone are they in?
  3. How is the weather in their location?

Since Australians typically follow a different climate pattern to the rest of the world, with just these 3 simple questions, you can adjust your products and services to cater to the needs of your target market. Customizing your online store to a region’s specific needs increases the likelihood of gaining cross-border shoppers.

What can I not ship in and out of Australia?

Even though cross-border transactions make it more convenient for consumers to possess items that are rare to find in their countries, keep in mind that each country may impose different prohibitions on the importation of certain items.

The Australian FedEx Cross Border has issued a global list of prohibited and restricted items that apply regardless of a shipment’s destination. Please refer to for a more detailed list of restrictions and prohibitions.

Australian Import Prohibitions:
a. All meat products
b. All wood products
c. Health supplements containing Hoodia, Yohimbe and DHEA
d. Paintball guns and ammunition
e. Fresh fruit
f. Items containing egg or dairy
g. Items of plant origin

Australian Import Restrictions:
a. Knives and daggers
b. Laser pointers
c. Woolpacks
d. Pornography and other objectionable material
e. Chewing tobacco and oral snuff
f. Ceramic ware, glazed
g. Incandescent lamps

There are various penalties and punishments for violation of such restrictions and prohibitions so make sure to check the guidelines of the country that you are transacting with to avoid such complications.

With the Australian cross-border e-commerce market growth of 16.4% since 2013, it would be foolish for a manufacturer to sit back on the opportunities that cross-border transactions offer.

In summary, Instead of just waiting for the apple to drop, take the initiative to venture out in knowing more about how to get your business into the international market with cross-border transactions. Businesses are all about risks and initiative, don’t fall behind and put your best bets by researching your best options.

With a team of global experts, with a deep understanding of their respective functions, Click & Connect ( provides expert management consulting services focused on your most critical business challenges and your largest opportunities.

Get in touch with us at for an informal discussion.

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