International Marketplace

Multi-Currency eCommerce for International Sales

Updated   |  4 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Accepting multiple types of currency is crucial for online stores engaging in international sales, as it caters to the preferences and conveniences of a global customer base by accepting foreign currency.
  • Multi-currency support reduces the friction in the purchasing process, as customers can transact in familiar currencies without worrying about conversion rates or additional fees.
  • Multi-currency also fosters trust and encourages repeat business by demonstrating the business’s commitment to serving diverse markets.
  • ECommerce software with multi-currency features broadens the business's appeal and accessibility, providing a competitive advantage and driving global market expansion by attracting customers from various regions and countries.
Multi-currency eCommerce lets international markets pay with local currencies.

Multi-Currency Functionality for International eCommerce

International eCommerce is an in-depth technical capability that frequently demands tailored adaptation by region, language, and culture. The optimal extent of customization is essentially unending; it heavily depends on the respective environment, culture, location, and laws of each individual application. This presents a huge business opportunity with a multitude of benefits if implemented correctly.

It's quite possible to become a literal expert in a particular region (or regions) and provide significant additional value to the end user, just by continually executing at a very high level of quality and customer experience. From an end-user perspective, a buyer in this case, international eCommerce transactions should be a very streamlined, elegant, simple, and noninvasive process to what they are used to and have come to expect.

Multi-currency payments can be displayed in customer's preferred currency.

As you're evaluating potential vendors, we would encourage you to consider some of the different facets of international eCommerce, one of which being multi-currency. The aspect of multi-currency is a simple, yet critical, component of international and global eCommerce. The ability to make purchases in the particular currency the end users are accustomed to—and already have their funds available in—is effectively reducing friction during the checkout process.

The ultimate goal is to continue to leverage best practices with multi-currency throughout the customer journey process, and generally be able to offer the currency each end user is looking for. There are a lot of different ways to handle this with alternative key options that can be employed, depending on the situation.

Selecting a Suitable Solution for Multiple Currencies

Let's briefly review the most common approaches to multiple currency pricing and payment processing. One solution is to simply make a multiplication and practically apply the specific exchange rate multiplier from the original product pricing. The base price of the product could be in US dollars, on which the exchange rate is applied for the particular currency that the end user has selected (for example, euros). It's important to ensure that there's a high enough degree of accuracy so that the rate is within an acceptable tolerance of precision at any given time. ECommerce sites should display multi-currency pricing that is fair to both seller and buyer.

Exchange rates may be updated once a week, daily, or every second. It effectively depends on the circumstances and the preferences that you might have in your business or the particular industry where you operate. But it's a solid fact that the exchange rate should be getting updated often.

The level of detail regarding how many decimals of exchange data you're getting must also be determined when accepting multiple currencies so that there's no loss of funds whenever the exchange rate is applied on top of the base product costs, sale price, and offering price. A way to go is basically a multiplier simply adjusting the rate on the fly through the application so that the end user is paying using a current exchange rate.

ECommerce stores need the best exchange rates when accepting multiple currencies.

It's also possible to take a different approach, where customers in many countries or regions are able to go ahead and do a conversion of their selected currency as they checkout. During the checkout process, there's messaging for the user, informing them how the funds are going to be processed in a different currency and the conversion will result in a small fee.

Finally, it's possible to do things like essentially building out a model where someone can purchase points, tokens, or a form of digital currency, which can be leveraged in order to have a universal kind of digital currency. It may be actual digital currency or just a representation of that through the site, where users are purchasing points that can only be used to purchase items on the website.

What Currency Option Offers the Customer the Most Value?

The first option of actually applying a multiplier and exchange rate to the currency is most likely the optimal scenario for an end user, as everything is seamless for them. In this case, the vendor has a single base price for items, at least when the distribution center(s) are in a location with a different base currency than the payment options available through the eCommerce application.

Examples of Accepting Multiple Currencies

Let's consider a scenario where we're currently selling in US dollars while manufacturing in a location that does all of the ERP and accounting in US dollars, but would like the ability to sell in Canadian dollars or in euros. That would require the end user to be able to calculate the rates and have some sort of notification about what the offering is going to cost in their respective currency. The selection might include Canadian dollars, euros, yen, pounds or another currency. What we want for the end users is a simple procedure, where they can simply click a drop-down menu or a flag and select their preferred language and currency.

That should be the only required step for end users and, as far as they're concerned, everything on the site must be translated to their particular expectations for currency and language. Users are accustomed to seeing their currency represented in the familiar format, with the appropriate symbols and currency denominators. So, if they're European buyers they will see euros, if they're in Canada they'll see prices represented properly in Canadian dollars, and so forth.

Using the Customer's Preferred Currency

These are really critical aspects for the end user and contribute to a smooth customer experience. In order to enable that capability, without physically performing a currency conversion that applies at an exchange rate, the payment processor is typically required to be set up in a way that allows payment processing in the different currencies.

So, if we offered pricing in US dollars and Canadian dollars, then we need the added ability to actually process the payments for both of those types of currencies. As the end user completes checkout and provides payment information, we must be able to process that payment with the specific currency they're sending over.

The Map to the Multi-Currency Feature You Need

A possible approach is to gradually phase into the desired scenario where everything is seamless and tightly integrated. This could be accomplished by starting out with a conversion rate and perhaps a small fee while making sure the end user is made aware of the fact accordingly.

There could be a particular market—or markets—where it makes sense to initiate business with the direct currency purchasing functionality. While strongly encouraged, it's simultaneously time-consuming to validate, test and work with the payment provider to process payments for each different currency.

The final option is to set up some form of representative digital currency. As mentioned above, this could be an actual digital currency that has to be purchased and converted from the local currency beforehand; or it could be bought in a strongly integrated way, by getting purchased behind the scenes in a seamless fashion. Alternatively, instead of an official external digital currency, the payment method could literally be just a token or point system within the application. A pay hub can help in such a scenario.

In other words, each item available for sale in the application isn't represented as a specific currency, but as a token amount instead. The currency conversion would be from the local currency to the specified token amount. The drawback of this approach is how it frequently creates confusion for the end users, hindering their ability to understand what the token amount is actually worth in real money.

Support Multi-Currency on Your eCommerce Platform

This problem can be easily overcome by showing the selected currency amount alongside the token value. The idea of a token system can be really helpful, especially with a diverse pool of users (buyers or sellers) of the platform, who trade in different currencies. A token system can also avoid the substantial logistical overhead of multiple active currencies and attempts to process them through payment providers. The exchange rate or logistical issues surrounding the setup of excessive payment providers can be noticeably reduced by a token system in the payment gateway.

Payment Gateways for eCommerce Stores

The best solution for your eCommerce application depends on a number of factors. During the early phase of initiating international eCommerce, all options are acceptable. As online businesses continue to grow and build an international eCommerce presence, it makes sense to leverage multi-currency for enhanced integrations that literally push the payments directly to the payment provider in each local currency via a B2B payment gateway.

Choosing a payment gateway option from the beginning can result in excessive overhead, so we encourage starting small on your eCommerce platform and then iteratively growing into more complex and streamlined offerings. Clarity is here to help you on that journey, no matter the cross-border eCommerce sales you want to make. Learn more about our payment hub and what it can do for you.

 

Ready for the Benefits of Multi-Currency?

If you'd like to start or optimize your multicurrency feature, Clarity can help. Contact our expert team today for a free discovery session or demo, where you can discover the best solution for your business.

A multi-currency strategy offers local currency prices.

FAQ

 

Multi-currency eCommerce is a feature that enables online businesses to display product prices and accept payments in multiple currencies. It simplifies international transactions by automatically converting prices—multi-currency pricing—based on the visitor's location or selected currency that are different from local currencies. This capability enhances the shopping experience for international customers, providing transparency in pricing and eliminating the need for manual currency conversions.

Multi-currency eCommerce facilitates cross-border sales by catering to diverse audiences, improving conversion rates, and fostering customer trust. Accepting multiple currencies and performing currency conversion is essential for businesses seeking to expand their reach and engage effectively with the preferred currency of international customers.

 

Multi-currency eCommerce is vital for international sales because it removes barriers associated with currency conversions, enhancing the overall customer experience. By displaying prices in local currencies, businesses can establish transparency and build trust with global customers wanting to pay in their preferred currency.

Accepting multiple currencies minimizes confusion over currency fluctuations with exchange rates and eliminates extra conversion fees for buyers. Currency conversion simplifies the purchasing process, encouraging more sales and reducing cart abandonment rates. Multi-currency pricing also demonstrates a commitment to global customers, fostering a sense of inclusivity and personalized service. A company offering multi-currency eCommerce options may be hit with conversion fees, but the wider audience often makes up for this.

Ultimately, multi-currency eCommerce expands market reach by accommodating diverse audiences, improving conversion rates, and positioning businesses competitively in the global marketplace. It's a strategic investment that drives sales growth and enhances customer satisfaction on a global scale.

 

Conversion fees for multiple currencies refer to the charges incurred when exchanging one currency for another. Financial institutions and currency exchange services usually apply these fees to cover the costs of the conversion process. They can be a fixed charge, a percentage of the amount being exchanged, or a combination of both.

Conversion rates fluctuate due to market conditions, and the fee helps institutions manage risks associated with these fluctuations. Being aware of conversion fees is essential for international travelers and businesses involved in cross-border transactions, as they can significantly affect the total cost of currency exchange.

 

Multi-currency acceptance is important for an online store as it enhances the shopping experience for international customers by allowing them to make purchases in their local currency. The convenience of currency conversion can lead to increased sales, as customers are more likely to complete a transaction when pricing is transparent and relatable.

Multi-currency helps in building trust and customer loyalty, as it demonstrates the store's consideration for its global audience. Additionally, multi-currency acceptance can provide a competitive edge over other online retailers that only transact in a single currency, and aids in the expansion of the store’s market reach internationally.

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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, enterpise SEO, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.