February 2nd, 2008 | 2 MIN READ

A Sure Fire Way To Lose An International Conversion

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Losing MoneyI was comparison shopping for printer toner on the weekend and found some great deals South of the border (I'm from Canada). My comparison shopping experience usually goes like this: type in my keyword into Google Shopping, open up every result that's reasonably priced in a new tab, and start eliminating all the stores that don't ship to Canada.

What's disappointing is when you do find that kind-hearted merchant who will ship to Canada, but whose site usability causes me (and other international customers) to exit the site broken-hearted and empty-carted. Not because I don't think I'll eventually find the product somewhere else, I just hate to think an honest retailer is leaving money on the table.

Here's what happens when you add an item to your cart. Kudos for showing front-and-center international order details. Love it. There's even a link to "Estimate Duty and Tax Here." Now I'm getting excited!

But when you click on "Estimate Duty and Tax Here" you are taken to FedEx (Enlarged version):

Fed Ex landing page

You're going to make me work, huh? OK. I'll click on "Estimate Duty and Taxes" (Enlarged version):

Unbelievable. There's no way I'm going to sign up with FedEx to get a tax calculation. You just lost my sale.

A plea to online retailers, if you're using a FedEx duty and shipping feature opt for an on-site calculation, and please test your process to make sure it works.

After checking out a few more retailers I succeeded with a Canadian retailer. I was so happy I sent an email thank-you. Though you may think little flags are cheesy, they were a powerful signal that this merchant was Candian-friendly. There was also a Pepto-Bismol pink shipping calculator that was impossible to overlook. Badda-boom, I converted on this site and will purchase from this site again next time.

Monoprice shipping calculator

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