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back to article Report: Web firms must do better for foreign punters

More companies need to participate in cross-border online trading in order to improve competition and help attract more consumers with lower prices, a new report by consumer organisations has said. The report said the online shopping experience has improved for consumers, with 94 per cent of cross-border orders being …

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Languages.

"...only 61 per cent of online traders tested displayed information in more than one language...."

I'm surprised it's that high, unless they were including in that those based in countries where more than one language is "native" (e.g. BE, CH) and counting same. Which would be a bit cheesy in my book.

That's why I have Chrome installed and the only reason I fire it up. On-the-fly translation running over the rendered text works rather better than the web service options.

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Commentard experience

My experience is most companies are not interested in selling cross-border. Of those who are interested, postage will be 1€ to anywhere in France, but 1m over the border into Spain will cost 34€.

As for Language; Paypal Spain will not speak to me in Engligh (even though the whole site is already designed in English!), and will not let me register because my bank account is in the UK. Paypal UK will speak to me in Ensligh, but not let me put my correct address, because it is in Spain. Trying to speak to them, it is really the same company, and is based in Switzerland to get around all the annoying Euro laws... (The English / Spanish thing is just made up to make things harder for people)

Amazon and ebay are OK, but you don't find out that the marketplace seller doesn't ship to Spain until you actually try to order; it is not possible to search for only things delivered to your country.

As for rights, trading standards are not interested because I don't live in their patch, and the equivalent in Spain, the local police are not interested because outside Spain is outside their juristicion (no I can't spell),

I'd rant more, but it's after a 3-course lunch & cerveza, so I'm relatively relaxed.

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Spot on mate.

P&P is ridiculous within the EU. Most of the times, it's cheaper to get a similar thing shipped from the Far East or the US.

This malarkey regarding credit cards and addresses is a huge obstacle.

Not to mention applicable VAT....

And for the final nail in the coffin, look at products available in territory A within the EU but not (or not yet) available in territory B.

Which is why Ebay and Amazon are succeeding. They have removed most of the pain and allow you to get on with just looking for whatever it is you want to buy.

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The British seem to be worse than most

My Dad & Sister live abroad in the EU and both regularly have to ask me to buy something for them because the narrow minded UK company won't ship abroad. Yet I managed to buy motorcycle boots from a company in Germany and they even have their site in German, English and French. They have better service than any of the British companies I contacted at the time and they were cheaper even once you added in the extra shipping.

Growing up abroad I speak a few languages so I am used to navigating sites in French, Dutch or German, even Italian occasionally, but prefer to use English.

The only country more narrow minded w.r.t. languages are the French. Quelle surprise! ;)

Well, if you want business from people in the EU, you will need to display your wares in their language as many of them don't speak yours. You will also have to be willing to ship abroad and accept credit cards from abroad.

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