Handling International Currencies On An Ecommerce Platform

23rd April, 2019 by

One of the barriers preventing ecommerce from achieving a greater proportion of total retail expenditure concerns payment gateways. We’re still waiting for a payment option which seamlessly dovetails with online shopping carts and checkouts. Services like Stripe and PayPal are perhaps the best compromise, as conventional credit card transactions are clumsy and slowed down by 2FA. Cryptocurrencies remain the volatile playthings of stock market investors, while cash and checks are clearly inappropriate for online transactions.

Sols, shekels, and Sterling

Americans spent $3.3 trillion on ecommerce last year, making up more than a quarter of global online sales. For businesses unwilling to look beyond state lines or national borders, a combination of PayPal and credit card payment options should prove sufficient. But what about companies taking a broader outlook, where international currencies come into play? Firms targeting Mexico should be willing to take payment in pesos, while the United Kingdom has retained Sterling as other European nations adopted the Euro. Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating between 180 different currencies, so pricing products and services to reach a worldwide audience represents a major logistical challenge.

Accepting international currencies requires a website with geolocation functionality built in. This will identify someone in Tijuana or Tokyo, at which point a currency calculator can display domestic pricing. It might be advisable to publish prices in dollars too, since this will remain fixed irrespective of domestic currency fluctuations. It also provides an easy benchmark for comparing prices against other American distributors. However, transactions should always be completed in-country, with an integrated and automatic exchange rate facility accurately reporting what buyers have to pay on completion of their order. Few buyers in Spain or Singapore would proceed with a purchase from an American platform demanding US dollars.

Automatic for the people

Software solutions in this specialized marketplace handle fiscal calculations on behalf of sellers. They’ll calculate destination taxes like VAT in the United Kingdom, as well as working out shipping fees. Never hide shipping or taxes away until the end of a transaction, after which customers have entered personal data: cart abandonment will spike, and those clients may be lost for good. Other necessary components include a multi-currency merchant account, which would preferably not impose punitive conversion or transaction fees. Happily, it isn’t necessary to pay a fortune to acquire a multinational ecommerce gateway. Suitable WordPress plugins include WooCommerce Currency Switcher and Tribulant Multiple Currencies.

A truly effective ecommerce website won’t merely accept international currencies – it’ll also display content in that country’s native language based on geolocation data. Registering a .com domain name rather than a country code TLD gives ecommerce brands a global footprint. Effective SEO work could establish a brand in search engines as a world leader in the sale and supply of specific products. Despite the maturity of today’s online ecommerce markets, there are still niches waiting to be claimed within growth industries like vegan foods and plastic-free goods.

Walking before running

However, it’s vital to understand overseas markets prior to investing in software capable of accepting international currencies. Creating a worldwide ecommerce brand is pointless if demand is negligible outside America, or if products and services can’t be exported cost effectively. Multi-currency software is expensive to install and may impose significant per-transaction fees, while an effective international website requires hosting on multiple continents to minimize page loading times. At 100TB, we’ve assembled a global network of 29 data centers, combining military-grade security and scalability with ultra-fast connection speeds and 24/7 access. After all, it’s always five o’clock somewhere…