Shoes Around the World: Introduces Free International Shipping, the online shoe store launched by Amazon before they acquired Zappos, is rolling out free international shipping on orders over $100 for more than 50 countries. {TechCrunch} International orders under $100 ship for a flat rate of $10. Australia, Canada most of the European Union (France, Germany, etc.), Mexico, China, Japan and the UAE are just a few of the countries included.

Even though Zappos is officially part of the Amazon empire now, it’s good to see that both sites are continuing to innovate. For Zappos, that’s meant expanding their product offering to include apparel and homeware, while pulling out of Canada to focus exclusively on the US market.

Endless clearly has different ideas about non-US shoe shoppers, and seemingly thinks international sales are an area that can be profitable. On the help page detailing the shipping options, we learn that purchases will go through the Amazon Global program that estimates and collects an import fees deposit at checkout.

For US readers who’ve never had the pleasure of dealing with customs fees and duties this may not sound like a big deal, but here’s why it is: though it seems antiquated in the age of the internet and online shopping which is supposed to break down borders, the taxes, duties and import fees on an item can sometimes cost as much or more than the item itself. We’re not talking some remote country you’ve never heard of either; from personal experience the UK and France can levy some heavy duty duties on everything from Forever 21 tank tops (cheap products) to higher priced luxury items sent from stores outside the EU.

It may just be dumb luck, but in our experience it doesn’t seem to work the other way, and that must-have dress you spot on a UK site never arrives with any costs beyond the exchange rate and shipping.

So while shipping costs are only part of the problem, by making that free Endless can slightly reduce some of the burden on international shoppers looking to take advantage of lower US$ pricing and wider selection than what’s available on domestic sites. By working those fees into the checkout process from the beginning, international shoppers won’t have to worry about spending $100 on a pair of shoes to find out that they have to pay $80 in import fees.

Interestingly, Endless has a sister brand called Javari that operates sites in the UK, France, Germany and Japan. The selection on those sites is much smaller than the US site, so the new shipping offer could find its way on to the localized sites as a cross promotion.


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