Zonos conversion experience

Decoding cross-border conversion

Maximizing conversion becomes a crucial piece of a good ecommerce store’s thought-process, design, and flow. When optimizing cross-border conversion on your website, many of the same rules apply as in domestic ecommerce. Over time, you place the focus on items that improve your chances for a higher percentage conversion of your visitors turning into customers.

Cross-border conversion differs from domestic ecommerce due to increased variables for translation, exotic payment options, currency conversion, duties, taxes, regulations, and fraud. These differences in cross-border sales and website marketing can increase risk and cause unforeseen pitfalls to your company’s bottom line.

Each category listed below will speak to converting more international customers, maximizing your resources, and improving profits. Increasing conversion on your ecommerce website is still the goal, but adding the ability to ship internationally does not necessarily equate to increased revenue and enhanced resource consumption. Additional planning, goals, and support are required to get there.

Zonos Checkout experience


The foreign consumer’s confidence level elevates when you provide a checkout in their language. For shoppers, the checkout process is the most significant part of the overall experience and acts as the focal point for the financial and final buying decision.

Zonos™ recommends…

Conversion: With Zonos Checkout™, 18 languages are translated, representing primary languages of 152 countries.

Resources: If the consumer believes you can communicate in their language, they may expect a more global level of support; however, most international shoppers are savvy enough to use translation tools on the internet and typically use email for correspondence. Prepare your support group with some conversion apps to help translate those international emails.

Profits: With 18 languages available at no additional fee, you can worry less about where you are doing business and focus more on how you can increase profits.

Additional reference:

Shipping and billing address(es)

If the correct internationally-localized address fields are not presented during the checkout process (whether in a hosted checkout or using APIs), confusion can negatively influence your conversion. While the savvy international shopper can work through it, many consumers just jump ship. Also, incorrect address completion can make packages difficult (if not impossible) to deliver. Incorrect address and delivery challenges may cause a negative financial impact on an organization.

Additional references:

Zonos recommends…

Conversion: Can we say a HUGE plus? The right address increases consumer confidence and keeps customers on the right track. Consider getting your address fields translated.

Resources: Getting the correct address fields at checkout reduces the number of resources needed to fix errors, reship packages, or refund cancellations.

Profits: The billing address is an essential piece of the puzzle for international ecommerce. If you are capturing payment information, please make sure your payment provider does not immediately refuse the billing address if it is different than the shipping address. While this is a valid indicator of a possible fraudulent order, too many valid orders are immediately refused when the proper fraud monitoring tools are not available.

Additional reference:

Shipping options

Domestic ecommerce has focused on no cost or extremely low-cost shipping to drive website conversion. Shoppers are conditioned to immediately search for the word “free” when they get to the checkout. Typically, the international shoppers do not have the same experience due to the high cost of international shipping.

The same ecommerce conversion rules apply to both cross-border and domestic shipping. You can improve your conversion rate by giving customers a choice and providing cross-border shipping options during their checkout experience. Here are some choices to consider.

International parcel mail

Mail and international consolidators are commonly used services that offer low-cost prices to international customers. USPS does not have volume requirements; however, many providers require a minimum amount of daily volume to use their service.

LTL to Canada and Mexico

Zonos Checkout and Zonos API support LTL (less than truckload) shipping calculations. Since many LTL providers do not have an API, Zonos LTL rating capabilities are essential to calculating rates in Canada and Mexico. We support setting classes for your products, and we determine LTL rates based on weight, dimensions, and the Freight Classification. Examples of LTL providers supported would be UPS Freight, FedEx Freight, Yellow, XPO Logistics, YRC Freight, Old Dominion, Estes, and more.

International express shippers

Depending on the destination, UPS, FedEx, and DHL are integrated carriers. Other providers may offer express services, but an actual integrator utilizes and owns its trucks, equipment, and aircraft from pickup to delivery.

Rate and service level pricing

Once you have your carrier(s) selected, you need to consider the rate.

Some of the rate pricing options are as follows:

Rate-based pricing

A rate-based pricing strategy includes displaying the service and rate options according to the provided shipping calculations. The shopper is charged the calculated amount and will receive the package without surprises.

Flat-based pricing

A good flat-based pricing strategy begins by determining a flat rate that will cover all or much of your shipping costs. If you have the right profit margin for your solution, the international shopper has a cleaner experience and easier buying decision.

Flat-based pricing can improve conversion; however, many companies do not know the costs involved. We have found that many ecommerce websites are undercharging the market and negatively impacting their profits.

A simple conversion technique for flat-based pricing includes charging less to attract shoppers. Establish a flat fee that will cover our costs and don’t worry about international weight calculations. Charge less, risk profits, but attract more shoppers.

Flexible or rules-based pricing

Technology allows you to drive shoppers toward your product marketing goals. Rules-based pricing will enable you to quickly calculate shipping pricing based on country, product type, product brand, or a combination of products and product totals.

Zonos recommends…


  • Set the defaults to your lowest cost shipping option.
  • Frequently check your shipping costs.
  • Present options and always lead with your lowest priced option. Providing a choice of shipping options will keep them on your website.
  • Use shipping charges to drive conversion based on your marketing decisions.
  • If you have been undercharging for your shipping, and you raise your rates, your conversion will likely go down.
  • If you can provide a flat rate, consider it. If you use a flat-rate strategy, pay close attention to your margins.


  • Be diligent about reducing the dimensional sizes when shipping. Cut down your boxes and consolidate. Work with your logistics provider to figure out the best options. A little extra warehouse work can save money.


  • Create a plan that focuses on managing your shipping charges.
  • Review your choices, and select the right shipping options.
  • If you have an item that demands a low-cost shipping method, find one.
  • Pay attention, don’t let unplanned changes and losses sneak up on you.

Additional reference:


Allowing the consumer to shop in their preferred currency provides great comfort and a level of ease that will maximize your ability to convert visitors into customers. Converting and translating local currency is not as easy as going to the web, finding a conversion tool, and displaying that amount. Simple conversion tools provide the consumer the basic information, but not the full story.

Displaying their currency saves the shopper from having to understand the calculations needed to verify the true cost of their purchase. When the consumer calculates the shipping costs on their own, the conversion does not typically include exchange rates. This variable cost can be responsible for discomfort and buyer’s remorse, minimizing the opportunity for a repeat customer.

Another consideration that influences conversion is payment methods available to the shopper. Every country has a favored payment method. If your shopping experience includes the preferred method for that country, you drastically improve the chance of converting visitors to customers.

Zonos recommends…

Conversion: It seems like a great idea to display a foreign country’s currency, and it probably makes sense, but consider that USD may convert better than the shopper’s home currency, depending on the current exchange rate.

Resources: Currency conversion requires few resources. The Zonos app provides localized currency, improving your shopper support with minimal resource requirements. You provide an improved buying experience when customers shop in their country’s currency based on a guaranteed conversion rate.

Profits: Localized currency conversion improves your bottom line.

Additional reference


Why is fraud mentioned in a conversion document? Too often, non-fraudulent buyers are excluded from purchasing based on the fraud tools provided by payment processors. If you can lose potential purchases due to fraud, it is a conversion issue.

Zonos recommends…

Conversion: Your fraud tools should not only be able to stop a purchase; they should allow the right purchases.

Resources: Create a report or list of international customers that ask why their order was declined. Highlight ones that should have gone through and estimate the impact. The losses may justify changing the tool you are using.

Profits: When you have the right tools in place, you are mitigating the risk of fraud and maximizing the opportunity for sales and conversion.

Additional reference:

Landed cost (duties, taxes, and fees)

When ecommerce retailers seek to make their site global, a landed cost that includes duty and taxes is the first step toward internationalizing. Providing the landed cost calculation is of great value to shoppers. Correctly calculated landed cost can help eliminate the unnecessary emails and calls managed by your support team.

However, displaying landed cost can have a negative impact on conversion. We know that high total price impacts purchase behavior. When you add the potential of another cost to the purchase, it may negatively impact your conversion rate. Accurate landing costs will generally increase your customer satisfaction scores and improve return business.

Zonos recommends…


  • If you provide international shipping but do not display a landed cost, take steps to understand its impact.
  • If you do not provide landed cost to the shopper, what extra resources will be required to manage inquiries and complaints?
  • If your conversion tools go down, have a strategic plan. Be proactive, not reactive.
  • We have seen many customers successfully manage landed cost for specific countries by subsidizing the amount within the calculation rules. Including a cost buffer provides a secure method, increasing product sales while achieving the conversion metrics needed.


  • When a landed cost is provided, it reduces the customer support effort.
  • The user can receive the landed cost calculation within the pre-built order confirmation email.


  • Your landed cost strategy should align with your marketing and revenue goals.
  • Have a strategic approach. Each country may have different landed costs.
  • If you are comfortable managing duties and taxes for a specific country, use messaging to give shoppers confidence and increase conversion.

Additional reference:

Terms and conditions

Who thought we would be talking about the often overlooked area of a website - the terms and conditions? The EU GDPR has changed the way that consumers interact with your terms and conditions, and you need to understand how to limit the impact of the privacy act on your website conversion. We will inform you of the requirements for the EU GDPR and highlight considerations for all countries.

Terms and conditions can no longer be passive. They must have an opt-in option with clear and distinct language of how you will use personal information.

You must clarify how you intend to use collected information and allow the shopper to accept your usage policy. Even if you are only using collected data to manage orders, communicate order status, and add them to your internal general mailing lists, you need notify shoppers of your intent and allow them to provide acceptance.

If you want to use a shopper’s personal and purchase history data for product-specific marketing or if you wish to sell it to an outside entity or marketing list, the shopper will need to opt-in and accept the usage terms. Be clear in your description and where to place the usage terms. Record how often the box is not checked, how often your usage terms are not accepted, and how often the order gets abandoned. Your policy may be negatively influencing your conversion.

Zonos recommends…

Conversion: With the right rules, you could have a passive opt-in for customers outside the EU. You may want to consider opt in for all customers. Pay attention to conversion rates.

Resources: Try an A/B test if you have a couple of ways to do the opt in for the terms and conditions. Don’t forget the opt in; you don’t want to get fined by the EU.

Profits: Do the right thing, and stay out of trouble with the EU. Fines are expensive, even if you don’t have to pay money.

Additional reference:

Custom messaging

Conversion is negatively influenced when a shopper becomes distracted or looks for answers to typical questions but cannot find the answer at that moment. The right messaging, in the right place and time, impacts the consumer’s engagement and eventual purchase decision.

Having custom messaging allows for:

As you evaluate your consumer’s shopping experience, ask shoppers and your employees what didn’t they know and what would they like to know, that wasn’t available during the shopping process.

Zonos recommends…

Conversion: Well-placed and properly-translated messaging keeps the shopper engaged rather than lost or bewildered.

Resources: Take the time during setup and after you go live to enrich your messaging. Continually try to refine, measure, and improve. When developing international marketing plans, look at custom messaging as a method of connecting with your shoppers and customers.

Profits: Higher conversion leads to increased profits

Additional reference:

Conversion: the shopping experience

Zonos Hello was built to assist the needs of the cross-border shopper before they reach the checkout. The most significant shopper loss happens between the time they come to the site and before they check out. Hello is dedicated to improving those results.

Zonos Hello

Technology has expanded our ability to market to the ecommerce consumer, and GeoIP is one of those items that can improve conversion. When an international shopper arrives on your site, they are greeted with a welcome message that lets them know they can shop on your website and safely complete the purchase.

Shopping in the right currency

As with the checkout experience, the ability to see the product total displayed in the preferred currency enhances engagement by keeping shoppers from guessing.

Surfacing duties and taxes estimations

When the product price is displayed in your shopping cart, you may also decide to display the duties and tax. Please refer to the duties and tax section above for more guidance. Pay attention to the results of a consumer seeing that price early in the purchasing decision and how it influences the conversion rate.

Custom messaging

Use custom messaging to drive your shopper as they navigate your website and products. Create a custom message based on specific products or by country and product. Use localized messaging to highlight items that will provide additional information and improve conversion.

Other conversion thoughts

Conversion optimization goal

International ecommerce conversion is a long-term strategy. When engaging in discussions about domestic conversion, see how those ideas, concepts, or tools will help international engagement and conversion. Identify those conversion stoppers and continue to develop and tweak your strategy for success. Continually look to adjust, measure, and improve.

Repeat customers

Focus on increasing the number of repeat customers. International shoppers want confirmation that they can trust where they made a purchase. Once they have found a trusted source, they are far more likely to repeat the purchase experience. It is easier to market to existing customers than find new customers. Repeat customers can lead to higher revenue and profits, helping you meet and exceed your company’s revenue targets.

Foreign exchange

The value of money is not the same between countries. Currency fluctuation can impact the final price and landed cost of a product. If the purchase price is higher than competitive standards, your conversion may drop.

For instance, if a shopper purchases an item from the US that’s normally $100 but based on the local conversion rate, the product displays as $120 in another country - the conversion rate can negatively influence your conversion. Nevertheless, the opposite effect is also true. If the $100 US product is $90 in another country, this can increase your conversion rate.

Pay attention to exchange rates with your top countries. Record the trends between your top countries and the related conversion rates. This information will allow you to improved forecasting conversion and revenue for your business.