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Doing some Google Analytics analysis for one of our e-commerce clients the other day I was surprised to see that despite not having any locations in the US, their conversion rate for US visitors ranged from 15% to 60% higher than for Canadian visitors over a 4 month period.  The average was about 35%.  This struck me as surprising and led me down the Analytics Analysis rabbit hole.

My first assumption was that because they are a Canadian retailer, their Canadian conversion rates were lower because of local pre-shopping and web site features like checking for inventory in local stores.  US traffic was much lower than in Canada so it appears as if US consumers are coming to the site already familiar with the brand.  To test that theory I roped in our SEO guy who compared keyword positions and clicks on and and we determined that the US traffic was actually less brand specific than in Canada. We still had doubts though because of the heavy traffic to Locations and other local shopping specific data.

To investigate further, I looked at a couple of our other Canadian e-commerce customers that have multi-currency ecommerce sites but no physical presence outside of Canada.  I was surprised to get the same results ranging from a 5% to a 100% difference in US conversion rates (B2C) over periods of at least 1 month.  Both the other sites I looked at (neither were Canadian retailers) actually had significantly more traffic from the US than from Canada as is expected because of the much larger market. 

We have always been a proponent of multi-currency e-commerce going way back to our first e-commerce implementation in 1998.  Our main reason to promote this to our customers has always been because of the vastly larger size of the US market compared to Canada and we have seen it born out time after time.  Until today though I was unaware of the higher conversion rate for US shoppers.  Combining those two factors means that if you are not running a multi-currency e-commerce site you are missing out on a significant opportunity.

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