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Crossing the border

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. This is in connection with security of supply and sustainability of the entire chain. In fashion, for example, you see production being relocated from Asia to Turkey or Portugal. Shortening the chain is very Europe-oriented.

This growth creates a large market for Dutch webshops: Europeans are increasingly buying cross-border. 13% of the visitors to Dutch webshops come from abroad. This growth is expected to continue: in 10 years time, laws and regulations will be much more harmonized and focused on cross-border business, making ordering 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. Read about different countries and what to look out for here.

of visitors to Dutch webshops come from abroad

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 parcels abroad. You can do this easily via your trusted and existing PostNL Account or you can create an account. PostNL offers various shipping solutions, depending on the size of the package. For parcels up to 2 kilograms they offer a smart solution sent via a cheaper network. Within the account, any customs forms are automatically generated. It is also possible to link your webshop to the PostNL account. This will automatically generate the shipping labels for you, easy right?

Easy return solution drives repeat purchases

Over 10% of all orders are returned. For sports & game 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 is also more likely to buy if he knows he can return his purchase without any problems. Fortunately, PostNL offers a good service for this as well. Through cooperation with reliable partners abroad, there is always a drop-off point nearby and the option of receiving returns collected. Depending on the weight of the shipment, there is an appropriate return process. In addition, within Europe it is possible to follow your returns with track & trace.

Track & trace

With PostNL, your packages can be fully tracked via track & trace, in no less than 7 languages! This gives customers confidence: they know where the parcel is at all times. In addition, as mentioned earlier, PostNL also offers track & trace for returns. This allows you to follow the returns yourself and know when you can expect them. When you offer track & trace with your webshop, it will therefore create more confidence, which indirectly ensures that the foreign customer will be more likely to purchase things from your shop.


Besides reliability, sustainability is also an important core value of ordering abroad. Where consumers now opt for free and fast delivery, in the future sustainable delivery options will be the most common way for consumers to have a parcel delivered. In most European countries, more than 85% believe that packaging should be recyclable, and more than 40% prefer sustainable delivery.In ten years' time,consumers will simply assume that every parcelis sustainably packaged. It is therefore important that buyers have insight into the CO2 emissions 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 as well: their international sorting center IMEC is fully CO2 neutral and they are investigating green air transport options for shipments outside Europe.