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.

I 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):

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.

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