Navigating Cross-Border E-commerce Challenges: A Comprehensive Guide

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Business ideology and innovation support the world’s shift towards e-commerce. An emerging example of e-commerce is Amazon, the king. Since the pandemic, businesses have taken a turn and moved their ideas of selling business online.

It doesn’t matter what you sell. If you sell software, motor parts, apparel, cosmetics and jewelry, ebooks, or even food and beverages, you only need a project management system with a manager managing it, a website, a shopping cart, and a verified payment method.

All it takes to set up your online business are these essential components. Setting up your business online takes huge commitments, efforts, and risks simultaneously, but that’s when you don’t have to stop thinking about its cons. Every business grows when new ideas are welcomed and applied to make it successful.

This article encompasses all the intricacies, complexities, and other challenges that e-businesses face when it comes to setting them up on a global level. Let’s get to know these hindrances in detail and their solutions as well:

E-commerce imports and IGST implications

Let’s discuss the difficulties that can be addressed in the IGST concerning the cross border imports:

  • IGST rates and exemptions

It covers rate variations, exemption thresholds, and valuation challenges.

The rate of IGST concerning e-commerce varies over time, considering inflation. It also depends on the type of goods and services. Every applied IGST differs for necessities, consumer goods, and luxury goods. The basic life necessities include life-saving medical devices, food, and medicine.

Consumer goods can be electrical appliances, goods, and apparel; luxury items can be high-end jewelry, perfumes, and bags. 

  • Specific goods and services

It covers goods and services and their activities, services and categories, customs, and IGST. IGST applicability can be well identified, resulting in immense digital downloads and challenges in identifying the supplier.

Digital goods can be ebooks, streaming services, and different software as well. The services can have a diverse range, including advertisements, web hosting, and online consulting.

Each of them has their own subscription methods and ways of transacting as well. There are certain scenarios when IGST is applied along with customs duty on multiple imported goods. 

  • Practical scenarios and case studies

It covers individual consumer imports, B2B e-commerce, and market platforms. It helps you understand the implications of IGST through the e-commerce pathway.

There are different considerations for businesses that import goods. GST implications can be a way to make things go smoothly for e-commerce businesses.

Many marketers get the IGST tax collected from different sellers. The market plays a huge role in IGST compliance, and it’s also responsible for both buyers and sellers in different cases. 

  • Impact on business strategies

It covers pricing strategies, logistics, management, and compliance. With the help of IGST, the pricing of the goods is optimal. It can have a massive impact on businesses concerning the pricing they have set.

Apart from this, your business growth and establishment need to choose the best shipment method. It’s better to learn ways through which you can have an idea about optimizing the supply chain and customs department.

Lastly, a robust compliance system is something that is needed in every aspect of your trading business. It not only empowers the overall business scenario, but it also changes the dynamics of your business by using the right tools and successful strategies.

Also Read: Import Of Goods And Services And Applicability Of Integrated Goods And Services Tax (IGST)

Place of supply for e-commerce import transactions 

The place of supply holds great importance because that’s when you get to identify which category and what amount of tax should be paid. There are different categories of goods, such as tangible and intangible goods. The category of goods greatly impacts the place of supply as well.

For the category of physical imports, the place of supply will be considered as the location where the goods will be delivered. Intangible goods can be classified as ebooks, software, and online subscriptions. The place of supply for such goods changes, and so does the taxation.

In e-commerce, the place of supply holds utmost importance and verification because it can verify the category of taxation as well.

For the betterment of the e-commerce supply of goods and services, what you should keep in mind is:

  1. Technological advancements: The best an e-commerce businessman can do is to inculcate the most advanced methods of technology because that’s when he can come into the competition effectively and win. With the old and ordinary technological methods, he may not lose but won’t win as well. 
  2. Regulatory shifts:  There can be changes in trading and tax regulations that can greatly impact the place of supply. The best way is to incorporate suitable compliance strategies for a win-win situation.

Also Read: Understanding The Place Of Supply For Import Transactions: Legal And Regulatory Framework

Tax registration and compliance requirements for e-commerce importers 

The foremost important subject is to get your business registered under the GST (goods and services tax) and get your business a number through which you can get your orders run.

Apart from this, any business has to undergo compliance requirements. This includes the filing of GST returns, record maintenance, and payment of IGST.

Then come the customs. Importers let their goods go through this process before they can be sold. Also, the businesses should be responsible enough to declare that the imported goods belong to nobody’s intellectual property and have no rights over them.

Even if it’s not an e-commerce business, trading is not an easy process. The best way to cope with the challenges that come along with the business of trading is by maintaining records of every step. When things are documented, there are fewer chances of mistakes.

Also Read: GST and the International Taxation of E-commerce

Customs formalities for e-commerce imports

The most important objectives that come across the customs formalities on imports include:

  1. Bill of entry: If it is considered a passport for the goods and services that you have imported. This document holds great importance in the overall process of import. 
  2. Customs valuation: Choose the right valuation methods so that the tax rate can be calculated on the goods that are imported. 
  3. Documentation: Gather all the documents, not only for customs clearance but for every step. You may file a bill of entry, packing list, transportation invoice, commercial invoice, and bill of lading. If you think any other document is also needed at the time of the audit, you should keep it. 
  4. Shipment: You should check if the shipment has qualified for express clearance or not. Smaller or larger shipments both have their challenges. 
  5. Post-clearance audit: It takes place to verify if the auditing is accurate. The best way to succeed in audits is by preparing documents and maintaining them when needed at the time of auditing.  

Protecting intellectual property rights in e-commerce imports

While this e-commerce business and the field itself are vast, it’s very important to safeguard your brand and interests. The points to keep in mind are:

  1. Know your territory: It’s important to know the territory that belongs to you. Protect your IPR (infringement of intellectual property) by any means. 
  2. Border control: Know what’s prohibited and don’t let it in your brand name for the sake of your brand’s identity. 
  3. Tools: Know the relevant tools that help with combating infringements. 
  4. Strategies for the protection of IPR: Learn all the new strategies to cope with infringement and the challenges that come with it. 
  5. Collaboration: When you work in collaboration with e-commerce platforms, you will help your brand protect IPR. 


The future of many businesses can outgrow it if things are taken into consideration in terms of compliance. A lot of businesses have shifted towards e-commerce seeing that it’s people/audience preference.

The best way is to properly conduct thorough research on the intricacies of the cross-border supply of goods and services under the umbrella of IGST. To thrive in the e-commerce business, it’s best to cater to it with the help of IGST laws and compliance.

It is recommended that businesses stay intact with emerging technologies, new ideas, and strategies so that they can compete greatly with new challenges and competitors.

E-commerce businesses will not prevail until the joint efforts of each one of them are attached. The regulators should come up with ideas that help in refining the framework, and the technology providers should help come up with better ideas. It’s a combination of efforts where every department should play its role for a seamless, successful business. 


Q1. What aspect of e-commerce allows for cross-border trade?

Global reach is one aspect that helps e-commerce with cross-border trade. When you have the reach to do trading globally, this aspect helps you achieve that. Global reach is also known as a business strategy. It aims to make the company’s connectivity stronger with its new client. 

Q2. What is the concept of cross-border e-commerce?

With the help of cross-border e-commerce, you can sell your goods and services to any other part of the world through a website.

You can run order summaries, trace orders, place orders, and make payments without any physical interaction. You can get the goods at your doorstep. It all becomes possible with the help of cross-border e-commerce. 

Q3. What is the tax on e-commerce in India?

Whatever gross amount is collected on the sales and services of the goods, 1% TDS is deducted from it. This amount is deducted in the name of e-commerce tax in India.

Every other country has its own tax methods and rates for the import of its goods and services. It can vary from country to country and from law to law being followed in that particular country. 

Q4. What is the purpose of the e-commerce framework?

E-commerce is a gateway to welcoming online businesses in various parts of the world. Through the website, there can be trade in exchanging goods and services. This e-commerce runs smoothly with the help of a project manager, an order management system, a digital storefront, and a shopping cart.

With the help of these elements, it fixes ways to operate an e-commerce business so that multiple businesses can be operated online. 

Q5. What is an example of cross-border e-commerce?

Examples of cross-border e-commerce include multiple online stores and shopping places. All of these places have their own separate transaction methods.

Some famous names of these e-commerce businesses are Amazon, Shopify, eBay, Ali Express, and Ali Baba. This way, it helps promote business all over the world and target the designated audience as well. 

Q6. What are the risks and challenges of cross-border e-commerce?

It can be cultural hindrances; it can be currency as well. The exchange rate differs and keeps changing with time. You may have to market your products in a market you have no idea about. Sometimes the logistics department can create unannounced hindrances. Paperwork can also bring chaos, and there are high chances of fraud crossing borders. 

Q7. What is the GST rate for e-commerce?

As per the GST law, e-commerce traders are supposed to pay a 1% tax every time they make a transaction out of it. Whatever gross amount the online seller has earned, he will get it after a deduction of 1% tax. 

Q8. Why do we need a framework?

Once the code is provided, the developers don’t have to manage it every time. A framework is any structural plan that can be used by the developers so that they don’t have to arrange it again and begin from the start every time. It not only saves time but also helps with a secure method. 

Q9. What is a cross-border supply chain?

Multiple working firms build a separate network among themselves, later coordinate on issues like production, delivery, and distribution of goods, and provide services all over the world.

This supply chain should be stronger and have a strong approach towards different clients and companies because it’s the backbone of any business’s success. 

Q10. What are the advantages of cross-border transactions?

It helps expand the customer base. It also allows for the control of the diversification of risks for the business, which is being imported into multiple markets.

It’s cross-border e-commerce that helps with control over international transactions. It is beneficial for good exchange rate management as well.

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Amitha Shet Content Writer
Amitha is a creative enthusiast, which gets her into educating the world about things she comprehends. Finance, business, and digital transformation are the topics that she is profoundly interested in so that she can make things simpler for the audience. She is currently a content strategist for a fintech company. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering, although finance is a niche that piques her interest to not just educate but to invest and gain experience.

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