As I continue to search for Christmas presents online, I have to admit I still get quite frustrated with Irish retailers online.

Over the weekend I search for an online jewelry store to purchase a gift for my mother. Instantly I was bombarded with jewelry websites that I can only say have been “left behind” in terms of the Internet. It was extremely difficult to find any decent Irish jewelry shop where searching.

I did find one that looked like it did everything I was looking for – the famous House of Ireland store. Everything looked good for a while as I browsed through the site, there was plenty of choice unlike other sites I had visited. One thing stroke me though, the prices were displayed in US Dollars by default. As their shop in Dublin is hugely targeted at the US tourists, I thought, ah no big deal, I’ll just choose Euros from the drop down menu.

After doing this, I noticed the price difference was staggering. A Waterford Crystal vase was $260, but when converted to euro it was a huge €240. With today’s exchange rate, it should have been in the €200-205 price bracket. I assume the difference in price is because they have displayed the dollar price minus the VAT and when you change to euros, it instantly adds the VAT price on. This is all well and good if they didn’t display dollar prices by default.

From a technical point of view, there is quite a lot they can do to prevent this sort of confusion for the customer. IP location software is widely available on the Internet, it would have taken a programmer a few hours to display the currency based on the customers location. Not 100% reliable I know, but in most cases would work pretty well.

The site itself is built in some flavour of either osCommerce or Zen Cart. Both of these packages have ready build modules to handle situations like this.

Better still, a simple notification that the dollar price didn’t include VAT would also prevent people from getting suspicious in the difference in price.

All in all – it looks like there really are no decent Irish Jewelry stores online. If you know of one, please let me know!

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