We’ve had loads of clients that have chosen to use Global-e over the years, with a view to quickly and easily facilitating for international demand and supporting various operational goals. I’ve personally always struggled a bit with Global-e, but I can see the rationale for going down this road, particularly if you struggle with agility when it comes to development / your tech stack, need their fulfilment offering or need them to be the merchant of record and take away some of the finance / tax overheads etc. In this guide I’ve detailed our experiences but also put together some tips for getting the most out of your implementation. 

The reason I’m not a massive fan is purely the technology could be a lot better (hard to work with, only recently started working on APIs for pricing etc, the integration has always been quite painful etc) and then it’s expensive, with the average fee usually coming in at around 6-6.5% of GMV. I do think the first part will get better, as they’re a lot better to work with now and you can see they’re working on some of these areas since they raised money and IPOd over the last ~18 months. The only other thing I’d like to see them do is improve their checkout process.

One additional improvement with Global-e is their native checkout integration with Shopify, which is currently in beta. This should help to improve the end customer experience and reduce the overhead around the initial implementation. You can see two live experiences in Triangl and Netflix Store. 

Firstly, what is Global-e?

Global-e are a long-standing eCommerce solution provider that specialises in handling cross-border demand for brands and retailers. They provide end-to-end services around fulfilment and a checkout solution that splits off international traffic and handles all aspects of localisation and the transaction. They are also able to operate as the Merchant of Record and take away a lot of headaches when it comes to tax, duties and general paperwork associated with cross-border trade. 

Global-e are pretty big and they’re definitely proven – with lots of large brands like River Island, M&S, Reformation, Hugo Boss and lots of others. We then have lots of clients that use Global-e including Stussy, Sophie Allport, Joseph Joseph, Sunspel, Timex and various others. 

Why do people use Global-e?

Typically people select Global-e for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Finance team or internal stakeholders want to hand over the duties and taxes piece for international orders
  • Global-e are able to operate as the Merchant of Record
  • Operations teams want to improve fulfilment for some or all international markets 
  • Quick solution for facilitating for more international demand (local checkout is well optimized for simple and more complex international territories – payments, currencies, comms etc)
  • Struggling to localise more complex markets like the Middle East, Asia or African markets
  • Unable to manage currencies and price books properly within underlying eCommerce platform

Recommendations for optimising Global-e

So, if you’re already on or have recently selected Global-e, here are some things I’d suggest considering / working on in order to get the most out of the product and minimising disruption.

Improve or replace the Global-e popup

The Global-e popup is natively not great – there are a number of issues with it, such as:

  • The majority of changes need to go through their development team
  • It doesn’t natively allow for linking to other stores (alongside their scope with currencies, languages etc)
  • Where people do factor in links to other stores, these usually direct users to the homepage of that store, rather than the equivalent page
  • More customisation work is needed to prevent ineligible language and currencies from being displayed as options when switching to a different store that doesn’t have Global-e
  • The popup natively loads at the top of the screen on mobile with the drop-down already collapsed – not a great experience
  • The popup can’t be closed natively and often causes issues with Google (causing ads to be disapproved)

These issues can all be fixed, but I’d generally suggest going down the route of building your own popup for store switching (typically based on shipping country) and then using the Global-e welcome popup post-selection (giving the user the option of changing language, currency etc).

Make sure all redirects are page-level

As already touched on above, Global-e doesn’t have the data / access to the information to send users to the equivalent pages when redirecting between sites, so it’s important to either not use this part of the product or work with their developers to get this working.

Depending on your platform, this may be quite a challenge and again, you may want to use a bespoke solution for store-switching.

Data feeds for Facebook and Google Shopping with Global-e

So Global-e have recently developed an API for their pricing, which has made this area much better and it’s a much easier problem to solve. Some feed solutions even now have a native integration with Global-e (like FeedOptimise for example) and if not, it’s pretty easy to get a spreadsheet or Google Sheet updating regularly with pricing information, which can then be accessed for your feed.

Be aware of pricing mismatch on PDP

The biggest issue when it comes to paid advertising is that the Global-e pricing on the PDP is typically injected via JavaScript, which causes issues with Google for Shopping. It’s very challenging to get this working so that the price is actually in-line on the page / in the code, but we’re still testing a route that we’re hoping will work. 

Remember to integrate GA + Pixels etc

There’s some customisation work to get a standard implementation of Global-e tracking correctly with GA (inc converting the price back into the base currency in GA) and the obvious performance marketing pixles – such as ensuring you’re allowing for their dataLayer variables, having the right events setup and that you’re tracking the checkout. You’ll also need to add a couple of referrer exclusions as well, as with most payment providers. 

This is all quite straightforward, it just needs to be factored into a plan for implementing. Global-e have full documentation for the GA side of things. 

Don’t forget about other third parties

Another challenge of Global-e is getting their pricing working on-site with solutions like a third party search solution or personalisation engine. Now that they have the API available for pricing, this isn’t anywhere near as tricky as it was before and we’ve got it working successfully with solutions like Klevu, Algolia and NOSTO.

This will also require some development time and potentially also additional work from the third party vendors. 

Overall, Global-e is a good product that’s getting better and better, it just can be a bit challenging. If you have any questions on Global-e or any of the items above, feel free to drop me an email.