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Crossing the border

Are you thinking about expanding your website or webshop abroad? Or do foreign consumers know how to find your website themselves? That is good news, because it means you are growing. Other markets may also present other challenges. Read about what you need to take into account in this blog post.

Push your limits

With the growth of the international e-commerce market, we are ordering more and more, and more easily, from abroad. International platforms are accelerating at an incredible rate. This is also reflected in the popularity of nearshoring: large companies are increasingly moving their storage from large countries such as China to places closer to home. In connection with security of supply and making the entire chain more sustainable.

In fashion, for example, you see production being moved from Asia to Turkey or Portugal. Shortening the chain is very Europe-oriented.Because of this growth, there is a big market for Dutch webshops: Europeans are increasingly buying cross-border. 13% of visitors to Dutch webshops come from abroad. This growth is expected to continue: in 10 years' time, the laws and regulations will be much more harmonized and focused on cross-border business, making ordering something abroad even easier and faster. However, there are important things to keep in mind. In the EU alone, there are 27 countries: each with their own rules and preferences. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the country you want to reach. For example, read this article on how to use a webshop the German market best to enter.

Crossing the border with PostNL

If there is anything the foreign buyer values, it is reliability. The consideration is whether buying from a foreign website is as reliable as buying from a site from the home country. This depends mainly on the shipping and return of the order. The customer must be able to trust that his package will arrive properly, that it will be easy to return if he does not like it. In addition, everyone wants to know when their package arrives, and therefore the possibility of Track & Trace is also a requirement.


Fortunately, these days it is almost as easy to send your products across the border as it is within the Netherlands. PostNL offers a reliable and easy service to send your packages abroad. This can easily be done through your trusted and existing PostNL Account or you can create an account. PostNL offers different shipping solutions for this, depending on the size of the parcel. For parcels up to 2 kilos, they offer a smart solution sent through a more economical network. Within the account, any customs forms are automatically generated. It is also possible to link your webshop to the PostNL account. This automatically generates the shipping labels for you, easy right?

Easy return solution drives repeat purchases

Over 10% of all orders are returned. For sport & play articles this is even 15%, and for clothing & shoes as much as 25%! A good and reliable return process is therefore of great importance. Your international customer will also buy more quickly if he knows he can return his purchase without any problems. Fortunately, PostNL also offers a good service for this. Through cooperation with reliable partners abroad, always a drop-off point nearby, and the possibility of collecting returns. Depending on the weight of the shipment, there is an appropriate return process. In addition, within Europe it is possible to track your returns with track & trace.

Track & trace

With PostNL, your packages can be fully tracked via track & trace, in as many as 7 languages! This gives customers confidence: this way they know where the package is at all times. In addition, as mentioned earlier, PostNL also offers track & trace for returns. This allows you to track returns yourself and know when to expect them. When you offer track & trace with your webshop, this will therefore create more trust, which indirectly also ensures that the foreign customer is more likely to purchase things from your shop.


In addition to reliability, sustainability is also an important core value of ordering abroad. Whereas consumers now choose free and fast delivery, in the future sustainable delivery options will be the most common way for consumers to get a package delivered. In most European countries, more than 85% believe packaging should be recyclable, and more than 40% prefer sustainable delivery. In ten years, consumers will simply assume that every package is sustainably packaged. It is therefore important for buyers to understand the carbon footprint of their shipments and returns. It is crucial that you also have a good sustainable proposition for your international customers: for example, CO2 neutral storage and delivery. PostNL offers a good service here too: their international sorting center IMEC is completely CO2 neutral and they are investigating green air transport options for shipments outside Europe.

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