How to increase international conversions with country optimization

Some of your site's International Traffic varies in converting qualities from country to country. This is due to country or region specific metrics, key performing indexes and qualitative / cultural factors. Your shipping costs and methods are a lead contributing variable when it comes to converting overseas. As are product specific variations based on Geo-global specific visitor location. Lastly, shopping cart factors such as security / authentication verification or international currencies processing capabilities - can all contribute to international website conversion performance.

  • Traffic Volume [country specific traffic components: visits or sessions & unique visitors]
  • Language Preferences [website language messaging & rendering options]
  • Browser Technology [country specific technology and browser adoption levels vary]
  • Shopping Cart [shopping cart SSL encrypted payment data collection]
  • Payment Processing [capability to process varying international currencies]
  • Shipping Methods [shipping costs make or break eComm including shipping mail carriers]
  • Product Restrictions [international selling rights can vary product by product]


International Traffic can vary in quality due to: traffic volumes, language preferences, shopping cart international currencies checkout, shipping costs or product shipping restrictions.


You should check the specif countries with under-performing conversion metrics and low revenue per visit ratio alerts. The conversion rate is lacking due to one or several of the following Primary Contributing Factors.

  • Traffic Volume [country specific traffic components: visits or sessions & unique visitors]
    • Each international country has varying population size and within those populations there is varying internet access. Additionally, countries vary in purchasing potential in terms of GDP & buying power.
    • First step is to determine if an under-performing country falls within the category of low population size and or low buying power in terms of currency strength and affordability.
    • Second, determine if the traffic to your site from a specific countries is in line with it's overall population size. Are you over indexing for traffic or have traffic volumes on the low end of the countries potential.
    • Think of traffic arriving from the United Kingdom vs traffic from Thailand, both countries have population sizes ranging around 65 million, but the UK has a per capita GDP of $41k while Thailand's per capita GDP is $6k. 
    • This would indicate that Thailand's web traffic is bound to under-perform for non-specialized high AOV items.
  • Language Preferences [website language messaging & rendering options]
    • While English is the defacto language of the web, in many countries with highly developed internet infrastructure and domestic web industries the national language might be the language of choice for most web content consumption and shopping.
    • Take the example of internet in South Korea, a country with high internet penetration and well developed internet culture, major global conglomerates like Nike will offer the entire eComm experience through a domestic South Korean lens. Likewise if your site lacks this capability and is relinquished to only offering web content in your default language such as English, the eComm conversion rate will suffer. 

  • Browser Technology [country specific technology and browser adoption levels vary]
    • International technology adoption varies greatly from internet networks, to computer operating systems, browser usage and website accessing technology such as tablet or mobile, etc.
    • The main technology culprit is Geo-specific due to internet network speeds, certain sites will render slowly, which in turn leads to high bounce rates and limited engagement, both of which are high contributors to eComm conversion rates. 
    • Certain browsers that have high country saturation might not render your site properly or work with either you server-side or front-end website implementation, by functioning as intended or not functioning at all.
    • The website accessing technology of Mobile Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops or Desktops highly influence conversion rate due to site rendering, resolution, content interactivity or website fluidity. Likely this issue will affect not just international traffic, but also domestic traffic and content specific sites.
  • Shopping Cart [shopping cart SSL encrypted payment data collection]
    • SSL (Security Sockets Layer) the security technology for encrypted data transfer between the website and data server needs to properly authenticate the secure connection. This is done through a well reputed service like digicert which contain public identifier keys that validate the website security compliance.
    • SSL site security technology needs to be ensured to be properly available and trusted by the particular country web authority.
    • Assuring additional extended validation (EV) SSL Certificates adds website security trust markers which often aid in increasing conversion rates.

  • Payment Processing [capability to process varying international currencies]
    • International customers have varied website checkout payment needs.
    • Need to ensure that your site has a payment gateway integration that allows for cross border international order processing using domestic credit card options and foreign currencies.
    • To additionally enhance website payment options adding non-cart-embedded options such as PayPal, Buy with Google Wallet, the internationally known Skrill Account or Paymate the Australian and New Zealand checkout of choice.
    • Lastly, international sales are subject to the import regulations of the customer's country. Customs departments levy duties & taxes upon incoming imports that are dependent upon: Order Value, Trade Agreements, Intended Product Use (personal or resale) the Product Harmonization Systems (HS) Code of tariff categorization.
  • Shipping Methods [shipping costs make or break eComm including shipping mail carriers]
    • Depending on the distance and shipping duration requirements, shipping costs can vary extensively.
    • Cost is also heavily influenced by the carries, with several domestic and international carrier options, additionally tracking codes & granularity; all lead to dictating shipping costs.
    • In order to increase Shipping Cost / Method conversion opportunities there are several tactics to employ: Clearly identifying and posting shipping costs, offer flat shipping and absorb the additional cost out of the AOV, or absorb only the Duties and Taxes by factoring them in the product margin and factor the customers end-cost for Duties & Taxes and remove that from the total order sales price in the form of a discount. 
    • Testing shipping methods and pricing / discounting by key Geo-global market is key to enhancing the country specific conversion optimization possibility.
    • Lastly, start with you largest foreign market for example Canada. Go over the shipping options and test varying combinations that are designed to incentivize the customer to convert and make a purchase.
  • Product Restrictions [international selling rights can vary product by product]
    • There are products for sale on your site that might have shipping restrictions due to: product licensing, international trading rights and trading agreements, weight restrictions or shipping method specific restrictions due to pressurized gasses or materials.
    • Product performance can also be highly affected if the product mix does not align with the Geo-global customer demands. Such as selling Parka's in hot regions or Electronics that also carry international electrical outlet configurations or use different voltage (North America uses 110 volts while Europe uses 220 volts).

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