How often would you be visiting a website, and you find a product that you really want, and decide to actually make the purchase. But at the end of the purchasing process, you are taken to a page where it says… “Sorry! shipping to your location is not available” or… “Sorry, shipping outside of the USA/Canada is not possible” – its terribly frustrating!
It surprises me how many website owners don’t realise this, but the web is REALLY world wide. Once you put something online, everyone who is connected to the Internet can see this information.
This fact occurred to me some days ago while browsing around some online shopping sites. I was trying to find a particular product, and I was lucky enough to find a ton of sites that offered this particular item. However, when I was going through the usually painful purchasing options, the sites would not offer shipping outside of their own region/country.
This really surprises me since this information would be best shown to the user well in advance, not right at the end of the purchasing process (that most of the times require a long user account registration form and e-mail address verification!!).
Current technologies allow the sites to understand where the visitor is coming from, and therefore, it would be relatively simple to notify the visitor that the website accessed does not offer any shipping to his current location. If this is not possible due to any imaginable excuse… it would be extremely simple to just add a small banner/image saying that “We only ship to X, Y and Z” No big deal right?
A good example of a website ordering system done right is at www.overstock.com. Once you visit the website, it shows you right near the search bar that shipping to your country is possible. Well done to Overstock for such functionality! On the opposite side, a shopping system done wrong would be Amazon.com. They allow you to browse their entire catalog, and by the time you are almost finished to order, you are taken to a page that informs you that “Sorry, this item cannot be shipped to this address!”. I understand that companies would have some restrictions where they might want to sell their products, however, please do let us know in advance!
This lack of “international” thinking is also often present when certain companies organise events, webinars, web conferences etc… they usually just point out times and dates in their own local format and time zone, whilst completely ignoring other country time zones.