Memo #23

Selling Globally? Use this Tweak to Increase Conversion by 86% for Your eCom Store


What if I told you that small accidental mistakes may be losing you half of your potential sales?

As we’ve recently learned, proper localization is one such thing. By changing a minor detail at checkout we were able to boost our conversion rates from 1.54% to 2.87%.

In this brief article, we’ll tell you the story of a recent client of ours who wasn’t able to charge in the right currency and lost out on thousands of sales as a consequence.

The Problems of not Localizing Properly

Our client is a hemp product manufacturer that operates in Australia. And due to the fact that hemp is a variety of cannabis primarily utilized for industrial purposes, it carries with it some of the stigma associated with the drug.

Hence, when Shopify was set to approve our client for payment processing, they flagged and restricted the seller.

It makes sense for them - the less controversial the companies that use Shopify seem to be, the less likely they are to get into trouble.

But this created a problem for us.

While we were able to show prices in a wide range of currencies as well as ship internationally, we could still only charge in Australian Dollars.

Initially, this might seem like a minor issue, but let’s remember that most people don’t have a background in dealing with foreign currencies. Not only is there a high chance of users getting confused, but also incurring extra transaction fees for dealing in foreign currency.

If you’re not paying attention, it’s very easy to mistake US$1 for A$1.

The symbol is the same, and while we may specify A instead of US, it still leaves a lot of room for confusion.

After all, at any given moment, you’re not reading every word on the screen: you’re making educated guesses, following your expectations and so on, rather than read every bit of text you see.

The Right Currency for the Right People

Let’s imagine we have a user in the US who wants to purchase US$100 worth of our client’s products. They’ve made a mental note that they’re only going to spend a fixed amount of money.

On checkout though, they see they’re going to be charged A$127 - they don’t notice the A, they only see the $127.

Naturally, since there’s a perceived 27% price difference, a lot of people will be spooked.

This discrepancy between expectations vs perceived reality might be so large to some people that it snaps customers out of their purchasing mindset.

You would hope people would examine the checkout screen in more detail, and realize that it’s in Australian Dollars, instead of US Dollars, but sadly this is not the case.

Chances are that users won’t look into why there was this stark difference. The reason being that enough eCommerce stores slap shipping fees, taxes, etc. that customers more or less anticipate a difference between initial prices and final prices.

The issue wasn’t that there was a price difference, but the fact that it was an alarmingly large price hike.

This is why, for example, when Canadian users faced a similar situation, there wasn’t a large bounceback. The Canadian Dollar and the Australian Dollar share almost identical purchasing power between each other, sometimes one is above the other, but they’re in a similar range.

Fortunately, as our sales grew, we were better able to leverage them to appeal to Shopify.

It’s an unspoken truth: depending on the amount of revenue you bring to the table, the various tech and payment platforms will treat you differently. If you’re only worth a few thousand dollars of revenue for them, they’d much rather be conservative and not risk the outrage mob’s ire.

On the other hand, if you bring considerably more money to the equation, they’re likelier to be more amenable and help you with your needs.

So, after several denied appeals, we only managed to successfully appeal it once we grew to a large enough size, despite the obstacles.

Shopify then unlocked our accounts and we were subsequently able to accept payments in all major currencies.

This simple change increased our conversion rates from 1.54% to 2.87%.

And there you have it!

Small changes can make major differences in your campaigns, and so the most important thing you need when designing your sales funnel is to have a degree of intuitive empathy. This will allow you to build funnels and sales pages that better suit the needs of your prospective clients.

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