recently released their latest quarterly X-Border Payments Optimization Index, and it’s chock-full of fascinating information about the state of global cross-border payments today.

As we all know, cross-border e-commerce is the present and future of global commerce. If you have a website for your business, you have the opportunity to reach billions of customers worldwide. The big question remains: Is the average merchant ready and able to serve customers who reside both across the street and on the other side of the world?

One of the main goals of the index is to find out how prepared merchants are to meet this new business reality. According to the site’s aggregate X-Border Payments Optimization rankings, the overall situation doesn’t look that good: The average merchant e-commerce readiness score was a 60 (marginally above average).

Interestingly, U.S.-domiciled sites seem to be ahead of their foreign counterparts when it comes to attracting, serving and selling to international customers. Fifty-six percent of U.S sites have more than six languages and accept more than 11 currencies. Half accept over 20 currencies! American sites generally accept an average of 4.7 globally branded payment methods.

The Index is worth an in-depth read, but here are five action items that every merchant should consider adopting to optimize their cross-border e-commerce experience for their customers:

  • Speak the language: It might seem obvious to you, but, surprisingly, many merchants don’t think of translating their website to foreign languages. What better way to reach cross-border customers than to speak their language?
  • Translate your prices: Don’t make your customers leave your site to check exchange rates. Convert your prices to the customer’s currency.
  • Global card acceptance: Accepting only local in-country payment is for yesterday’s e-commerce. Today, cross-border optimized sites should accept at least the “Big 5”: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal and Diner’s Club.
  • Easy access site help: Make sure customers can get their questions answered quickly and easily. The best sites have rich FAQ content that was easily found via a quick site search.
  • Streamline your checkout: Sites optimized for cross-border commerce get their customers through with as little data and as few pages as possible.

3 billion people have access to the internet. If you are an online merchant, now is the time to optimize your site in order to reach and serve them!