Explosive growth in ecommerce has enabled retailers to quickly and easily achieve excellent national coverage.

However, the bigger picture is now about becoming an international retailer. Here are five easy ways for you to reach your customers globally.

1. Greet your visitors

Simple but effective, by using a visitor’s IP address, you can quickly determine their country. You can then greet users with simple messages, welcoming them to your website, while making it clear that you serve and deliver to their country.

For added effectiveness translate these messages into local languages.

This messaging is best targeted towards new international visitors, creating a strong positive start to your engagement with this segment.

ASOS does this in a powerful way. Through detecting the customer's geo-location, it can re-direct them to their local site, thereby offering them services using local languages and even sizes. 

2. Clarify export shipping at the checkout

This is important for all ecommerce but when a customer is looking to make an export purchase there can be a number of added complications.

If you have reasonable international shipping rates available don’t make users hunt and search for them, you will only drive them away.

Bring this information to the user and for added personalization target visitors with their specific country shipping rate e.g "Shipping to France is just £4.98" for a French user.

3. Clearly promote shipping rates

By default you will be predominantly offering services like Free Economy Delivery, First Class and Click & Collect. These create fantastic choice for local consumers but alienate international customers.

At the very least show international shipping prices at the checkout, but for a really sleek experience, dynamically select and display the users country without them needing to change or click anything. 

4. Offer local currencies

Technically this will present the greatest challenge to implement but will clearly have a lasting effect, you cannot avoid the fact that consumers are most comfortable interpreting their native currency.

This can also be used as a stepping stone towards developing independent websites for your biggest international markets.

The prudent strategy is to start with key currencies (GBP, USD and EUR) and expand from there, based on their success.

Booking.com is a great example of this, offering a full range of currencies.

5. Homepage content targeting

Finally, the method of retargeting home page content based on a user’s browsing history has proven successful in a range of cases.

Here we would look to target content based on the user’s country. For example, shoes may be popular in Germany while in France your range or perfumes might perform better. You would therefore want to tailor content for each market to maximize the impact. 

This is also not limited to basic homepage hero banners: the more content you can retarget the better. Examples include: recommended products, special offers and search results.

DFS did this really effectively. By targeting their European visitors with personalized notifications they increased their conversion rate by 23%.

Point of information

It is also important to remember that while a customer is visiting from another country they may not be ordering for themselves.

Don’t make it impossible for a user outside of your domestic market to order a gift for a friend or family to be delivered nationally.

Ian McCaig

Published 21 March, 2014 by Ian McCaig

Ian McCaig is Founder at Qubit and a contributor to Econsultancy.

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Comments (6)

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Excellent tips Ian. I would also add localised content, being addressed in a language you're familiar with makes a big difference in conversion.

over 4 years ago


Scott @ Kawntent

Wonderful tips indeed. It's easy to forget that while people might know how to use the internet, it doesn't necessarily mean that they understand English, or know how much the exchange rate is. Saves a lot of people from heartbreak.

over 4 years ago


Alex Peric

Great article! Localization doesn't have to be "all or nothing"; in fact, most often, the best strategy is to first localize only the most important landing pages into several languages. Then over time, the rest of the website can be localized into most popular languages. Also, virtually all external payment processors support multiple languages, so it's easy to redirect to the proper localized version once the user is ready to make the purchase.

At a minimum, localizing even parts of the page such as greeting messages that you mention, will provide you with a great ROI.

over 4 years ago


Adaywa Per, Author at http://www.tranvict.com

Very helpful tips....thanks for sharing!

over 4 years ago


Andrew McClelland

Ian, great article. I would also add that an in-country returns address increases trust and encourages that all-important first purchase with a brand that has limited or no brand recognition in that territory.

over 4 years ago



I would recommend to use always the user currency, f.i. rather then say: Shipping to France is just £4.98 i'would use the €

over 4 years ago

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