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Multi-Currency Marketplace Capabilities

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Multi-Currency Solutions, Applications, & Benefits

OK, this is going to be an overview of marketplace multi-currency and some of the concepts to consider whenever you're reviewing a marketplace platform. So, currency in and of itself is a pretty detailed component for any marketplace, especially one that's international or is going to be taking payments in different currencies. It's possible to go with different levels of currency conversion where there's a concept of completing the currency conversion as a multiplier that is relatively static which might change occasionally. This could be set up as a sync with an ERP system and maybe the sync runs nightly or something of that nature.

More commonly, it would be possible to set up a live currency conversion rate. Where the currency conversions are done consistently via an API and then cached. So, maybe every minute or during each transaction there's a check to get the exact correct currency conversion. Many times, it's possible to simply have the products and items on the store currencies originate from the store that is selling them and where these items will most likely be sold. This can then be shown or hidden it if it's not available in another currency or to simply have the conversion run against other currencies using the dynamic currency calculation capability. As a result, you might have 20 different currencies on the marketplace and many products that are originally listed in different currencies.

So unfortunately, it's pretty complicated as well. It is imperative to try to get the vendors to convert and keep their product prices up to date. Ideally you will want to have some kind of an automated process so that the currencies are always accurate within reason and auto-calculating based on what currency someone is purchasing in.

Now, in addition to the purchasing currency, it's also important to consider the actual payment processing and what currencies the payment gateway or gateways that are in use will accept. So, there may be a need to calculate a currency conversion and only accept currency payments in certain currencies. You might list product prices as a certain currency, but then actually have to convert to an accepted currency value during the checkout process in order to process the payment in a more common currency.

Creating a Unique Experience for Each User

Dynamically Generated Content

So, effectively what you end up with is this concept of having a selector. Typically, this selector will be placed in the header of the site. It will need to be consistent through the site, no matter where it's located. The selector can either display the currency signs, the name of the currency, and possibly this can go right along with a country selection for the multilingual capability.

Commonly based on those selections, the UI could actually change dynamically and show the selected currency values for the products. If the product's base currency pricing information is different than the marketplace, then you would need to accurately translate the product pricing information to reflect that currency that is selected. Once selected, the pricing will automatically update in the UI and allow the user to determine if the prices within their price range in all the filtering and searching that's driven based on the pricing data. Which will need to dynamically adjust to incorporate that different currency.

When using an automated system, it is important to consider the upwards of 50 to 100 different components throughout the application that need to change dynamically based on the currency selected. This is pretty pervasive from the catalog and product details, to the cart and checkout, through all the screens in the user dashboard where the user is going to review their orders and their pricing information, etc.

Maintaining a Data Standard

Persistent Information Across Transactions

Now one of the things that you also want to consider with multi-currency is the ability to persist pricing data throughout the marketplace. Whether this is at the time of sale vs the catalog, sales orders, order history, invoicing, etc. Regardless of which currency is currently selected, the actual underlying price or currency data should not change going forward as it should be a reflection of what the price was at the time of the transaction and in the appropriate currency.

So, it's important to make sure that the marketplace platform that you're considering has the ability to dynamically calculate currency, but also is intelligent enough to know where to correctly persist the information whenever there's already a transaction that's been completed. Ultimately, the actual calculation that's occurring would be configurable so that you could modify it manually if you wanted.

Improve Accuracy & Automation of Data

Currency Data Acquisition and Management

In a very simple scenario, you could have it look at an external API. There are a lot of external APIs that can be called on to get the exact currency data at any given time. Quite often it makes a lot of sense to go pull the API endpoints that are available so that you're not constantly hitting them. It’s much more efficient to just pull their data for changes in currency values on a periodic basis, say every minute or 5 minutes or hour or what have you, and then the rest of the site pulls from that cash value. Then once it updates the value gets updated across the system.

It's not uncommon to see currency data set up in an ERP accounting system and pulled into the eCommerce marketplace from the accounting back-office system as the source of truth. Now, ultimately once you've gotten that underlying information, then processing payments correctly is another component to dig into and consider what your options are. Typically, whenever there's a payment provider that's an international capable payment provider they may have limitations based on country. Often times, they will accept the most common currencies, and many of them will accept most all currencies.

Scalable, Robust, Intiuitive Solutions

Planning for Future Growth

So, it's something that we encourage you to dig into to confirm and identify a solution if the currencies that you'll need now or in the future with the marketplace eCommerce platform are not immediately available. In other words, you’ll want to dig in and make sure that it's physically possible for the payment provider to accept multi-currency payments in those various currencies. If it's not for a few of the currencies, then you can also have someone see the currency values and their currency that they selected, but then during checkout notify them that the payment will actually process in a different currency. You can even give them the option of choosing which currency it will be processed in if that is the case.

It's not a bad idea to show just a little conversion screen, so they can see this is the currency rate for the currency you've selected to show the site in. then here's the conversion value that we're using from cash or from calling the API endpoint or from the ERP, etc. Then ultimately, here's the actual price that you're going to see hit your credit card, debit card, or ACH. So, your kind of explicitly showing them all of that detail in a visual way, to bring value to your marketplace by showing them that it’s the right currency conversion rate.

How Can Clarity Help

Clarity Marketplace Experts

Ultimately multi-currency is a pretty detailed component for any website, and there's a lot more that you can do here, including things like insurance on some of these larger transaction sizes. For currency exchange rate change is being able to do things with the actual currency conversion where they have different options to select from. I mean, even possibly working with financing or banking so that they can become involved in the process if there needs to be an escrow or a holding of funds as they’re transferred or anything like that so that the currency conversion is accounted for within that process.

Multi-currency is an absolute win for different marketplaces that are international and really need to be able to provide local users with their familiar currency when they're making purchases. So, we highly encourage you to dig in and make sure you understand what the pros and cons are of the marketplace platforms you're looking at with regards to this capability. Of course, if you have any questions or you'd like to review, we also welcome you to reach out to us here at Clarity, and you're also welcome to click on any of the links below to see additional information about this and other topics regarding marketplace eCommerce.

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