Barneys Outsources International, But Customers Still Can't Tell What That Givenchy Purse Costs In Real Money

In a valiant but half-measure approach to international E-Commerce, luxury retailer Barneys New York said on Tuesday (May 31) that it has outsourced sales outside the U.S., so customers in 90 countries will be able to pay in their own currencies and the retailer won't have to deal with shipping, customs and customer support. It still leaves international customers as second-class citizens, though—they'll pay shipping (U.S. customers don't) and they won't know what the conversion rate will be until checkout time.

Yes, farming out international-customer logistics and customer support isn't a perfect approach, but it beats letting an independent third-party own the customer relationship or pretending that using local currency doesn't matter. Still, if you're selling a $1,790 Givenchy purse or a $195 straw hat, it seems like showing the price in a customer's preferred currency should be possible—at least once the item is in the shopping cart. Then again, to paraphrase J.P. Morgan, if you have to convert it to your local currency, you probably can't afford it.