Pros & Cons of Global-e for Cross Border Commerce

8 March, 2023


Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

Paul has worked in ecommerce across multiple platforms since 2008. Generally getting involved in the commercial and strategic elements of replatforming projects and ongoing roadmaps.

Founded in 2013, the proposition of Global-e is a compelling one to retailers - localising shopping experiences for customers and providing tools for the business to easily manage taxes, compliance and local regulations. Global-e themselves market themselves as a way for businesses to expand internationally with simplicity and are used by some of the biggest global brands including Marks and Spencer, Hackett, Kärcher and Nespresso.

Since the pandemic, the demand for Global-e has increased considerably with more and more retailers looking to expand the reach of their business. However, those retailers didn’t have the capacity in-house to deal with the increased cross-border admin complexities. These complexities have been exacerbated as a result of Brexit with international sales becoming more time consuming and difficult to handle. 

As such, retailers will often choose Global-e to help facilitate their internationalisation by handling the tax and duties for overseas orders, operating as the merchant of record and generally providing a faster route to selling in what would otherwise have been complicated, time-consuming markets.

From a platform perspective, Global-e as a platform has historically been reasonably difficult to work with and the checkout functionality and aesthetics were not great. Shopify merchants too had these issues with Global-e but now there is now a much cleaner implementation route with more flexible commercials. However, there are a number of considerations when it comes to implementing such a tool. This post explores the pros and cons of the platforms and based on our own experience, some of the pitfalls to avoid.

What are the pros of Global-e?

1) Increase customer base and sales

Global-e certainly does make it easier to sell internationally with more than 200 countries supported worldwide, which in-turn, opens the global audience up to retailers. In a current global market where many customers are cutting back on spending, increasing the reach of brands is becoming more and more important.

2) International services

Cross-border trade can be very complex which many businesses simply don’t have the time or resources to allocate to. Global-e provides a number of tools which can help with these complexities including:

  • Currency conversion

  • Customs clearance

  • Local compliance

These tools allow businesses to save many hours of time and ensure they can focus on generating more sales internationally.

3) Display local currencies

Everyone prefers to browse ecommerce sites that display the local currency to the user. However, implementing this is easier said than done and can often cause more headaches than solutions. Global-e supports over 100 currencies which allows shoppers to both browse in their favoured currency and also purchase (plus handling any currency fluctuations).

4) Local payment methods

Many customers will simply expect to see Visa and Mastercard options at checkout, but for many others these will not be an option. A huge number of sales are lost by retailers who ship internationally but do not provide the customer with a suitable payment option for them right at the point of purchase. Global-e goes a long way to solving this problem by supporting more than 150 payment methods.

5) Localised multilingual checkout

An obvious barrier to purchase is when the customer is displayed a checkout that is not in their native language. Global-e supports 26 languages at present which helps to overcome this particular hurdle.

6) Tax and duty calculations

The world is getting more complex when it comes to tax and duty within ecommerce. Customers are often finding when their package is delivered, they are then liable for further payments that weren’t calculated at the point of purchase. Global-e goes a long way to solving this problem by calculating and allowing shoppers to pay duties and taxes within the checkout

7) Multiple shipping options

A big reason for shoppers to leave the purchase funnel and look at competitors is the lack of appealing shipping options for their purchase. For a retailer to solve this problem themselves would take a large number of hours to research and then implement these into their checkout. Fortunately, Global-e is able to provide a solution to this by offering a multiple, local shipping options

8) Merchant of record

Global-e effectively replaces your current checkout with their own and becomes the shipment owner, thus becoming the merchant of record. This can alleviate a lot of legwork from the retailer when it comes to the general admin of overseas trade.

9) Ecommerce platform support

All of the major ecommerce platforms you would expect to see (Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magento, Vtex, Salesforce Commerce Cloud etc.) are all supported.

But what about the inevitable cons, challenges and considerations of choosing a platform like Global-e?

What are the considerations for Global-e?

1) Cost

The Global-e platform comes in two flavours - Pro and Enterprise. The pro version is designed for the up and coming retailers and offers a pay-as-you-go payment model. This can quickly get quite expensive and is often a reason for retailers looking for alternative options such as Shopify Markets.

2) Branding control

Whereas there are some brand elements you can control with Global-e, a lot of it is outside of the control of the retailer which means the customer experience and branding is often deemed to be sub-optimal.

3) Paid media feed issues

Global-e can cause one major headache for paid media teams when it comes to feed management. Javascript is used by the platform to insert the pricing into PDPs which can cause Google Shopping to believe there is a price mismatch and therefore may disapprove these products. There are ways round this but these solutions can cost time and incur costs.

4) Checkout issues

The Global-e checkout experience could certainly do with some improvements and is a source of frustration for both retailers and customers alike. The platform now has a native integration with Shopify which is welcome news but for other platforms, the problem persists.

5) Platform issues

There aren’t many retailers that love the experience of dealing with the Global-e backend technology and this is definitely an area that should be improved. Things are improving however and with a lot of money being invested in recent times which will hopefully be spent on improvements in this area.


In summary, Global-e clearly does solve a current ecommerce problem and is trusted by a large number of household names to handle cross-border trade. The platform can certainly be a struggle to work with but this is an area that has been improving over the past few years. If they continue to invest in the platform functionality and usability, Global-e will continue to be a valued, commercially beneficial tool for retailers.

If you need any help or advice with your platform selection, please do contact us.

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