May 07, 2003
Internationalizing web stores

I mentioned before that I'm looking for a particular set of CD carrying cases. It seems Europe is a dead end for buying those, and I'm now looking for US-based web-shops that will ship internationally. The result is very depressing and to me it explaing why shops like are madly successful while mediocre dealers can't compare: there are real customers out here, with real money and credit cards that can charge US$ dollars even if we're not Americans!

Going through the top 10 results from Googling for CD 60 the results are either contentless referral-sites for, who are sold out (like or or referral sites for (like ). The sites that actually do sell something, like or display a mind-numbing ignorance for their potential, non-North American customers. See the below example from eTronics: you have the choice between "Checkout" and "Canadian Checkout". (Nope, "Checkout" is not for every non-Canadian citizen. Doh.)


I'm here, I'm willing to spend good money; won't someone except Jeff Bezos wake up, smell the coffee and create a proper, internationalized webshop?

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It's harder than it sounds. For a US merchant that wants to sell outside the US, there are some serious regulatory hurdles to overcome. Sell in Germany? Better make sure you abide by their very strict privacy guidelines. Sell in the UK? Do you need to collect VAT?

The differeing laws for taxes, shipping charges, and restricted items are complex enough in the 50 US States. Add other countries to the mix, and most small businesses find it more of a headache than it's worth.

Posted by: Adam Kalsey on May 7, 2003 11:36 PM

Fair enough. Still - usability-wise - for several of the shops, the information that the ordering is US-only comes only after I've filled the shopping basket and head for the checkout... Very annoying...

(and usability analysts wonder about all the abandoned shopping baskets on websites? Maybe this is (partially) why?)

Posted by: Anders Jacobsen on May 8, 2003 12:06 AM
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