Business, Ecommerce

Outlook towards inwards cross border trade in India

Man’s earliest execution of trade was barter, where he exchanged a thing he had for another, out of a desire or need. Today we have come into a world where, thankfully, civilization’s growth in leaps and bounds has resulted in expanding markets and revolutionizing how such a transaction can be done.

We now have the wherewithal to indulge in the luxury of shopping from our homes across borders, and purchase brands that aren’t available to us in our own markets. In India especially, the growing middle class has been capitalizing on eCommerce and looking towards a barrier-free shopping to exercise choice and get value for their money.

What is leading cross-border trade in India?

The American market is truly a dream-come-true for shoppers worldwide, owing to their well equipped range of products with choices in brands, colour, style, features etc. The informed Indian consumer has thus been drawn to American products like a moth to a flame; making the Indian market ripe for global trade to flourish. The lure of the exotic has, thus made cross-border trade a success right through history!

In a survey by Nielsen/Paypal, cross-border online shopping was predicted to increase worldwide by nearly 200% to USD 307 billion by 2018, across a worldwide online shopping base of 130 million. This staggering statistic clearly suggests that trade across the internet is the way forward in retail.

With internet penetrating even the remotest of villages across the world and in India (17% spike in Asia according to Plunkett Research), the customer is no more an imbecile. Empowered with information, they want to exercise their purchasing power in specific informed choices – be it picking expensive lingerie from Victoria’s Secrets or going for the new line of shoes from Prada.

Challenges faced in implementing cross-border operations

Since eCommerce is relatively a new field, fledgling companies find it challenging to establish and maintain cross border operations, owing to multiple reasons. While investments are a huge issue, managing logistics and abiding by the complexity of the laws and regulations of the nations involved in the trade, proves to be a Herculean task!

While there is nothing like cross-border trade in current times to introduce in the market what no one is offering yet, companies still need to find their unique selling points to distinguish themselves from the established brand names. This requires competitive pricing (which is truly a double-edged sword!), unique launches and aggressive branding and communication.

Innovations ahead

Keeping all this in mind, retailers are finding newer ways to let inward trade from across the globe. E-tailers are trying to come up with a transparent costing module which details all taxes and duties that the customer is paying for. Many consumers have ambitious expectations as they are unaware of the intricacies involved in cross-border trade, including longer procurement and delivery cycles. So, apart from setting an attractive pricing, competitive delivery timelines could be the trick to win the customer’s goodwill.

Cross border trade also ensures that international offers and sales are now a reality even in the home turf. While Indians have their own festival discounts, these international sale days shall make the market more competitive and hence, an exciting playing field for new and old retailers is created. The ultimate winner is the customer who will be spoilt for choice and gets products at the best prices. This is no utopian situation but very much a reality these days, with international sale days like the Black Friday and Cyber Monday having invaded Indian Territory in the recent years.

In coming times, cross border trade into India is only going to swell. Every passing day now sees a new shopping portal mushrooming with the next-big-idea in online retailing and the future shows a lot of promise for the consumer.

About the author: Sandip Shah is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of Shop Your World. He has over 20 years of experience and has been instrumental in setting up the logistics of major e-commerce companies across India, before he co -founded As the Managing Director of the company, he oversees and manages day-to-day business activity with a focus on logistics, operations, marketing, technology and customer service.

To contact the author, email at

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