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Is multi-currency the secret solution to going global with your e-commerce brand?

Going Global|24.09.2018

Customers from all over the world are visiting your site with intention to buy, but are you losing them at checkout?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably realised that going global with your e-commerce brand can be the key to scaling at speed, yet it can also be a very complex process which needs a lot of time and careful consideration. 

If you want to increase your e-commerce web traffic, expand your customer base, and boost the annual revenue of your business, you’ll want to know the best ways to reach and engage an international customer audience.

In order for you to do this, your e-commerce brand should adopt two critical features that complement each other: the multilingual and multi-currency solutions. 

First read our article on building a successful multilingual store, then come back to this one and explore the many opportunities of a multi-currency setup when scaling your e-commerce business at speed.

What is a multi-currency solution? 

Multi-currency is extremely important to going global with your e-commerce brand. By adopting this solution, you will have the ability to sell in many different local currencies and offer a variety of payment methods that appeal to customers worldwide. 

A good multi-currency solution will automatically translate product pricing depending on the locality of the customer, based on their IP address.

What are the benefits to adopting this solution?

Building a multi-currency setup provides your international customers with an easy and more enjoyable shopping experience, allowing you to branch out and sell to a larger international audience with no relevance to where your HQ is based.

Local Payment Methods

In order for your e-commerce brand to be successful in scaling internationally, you need to constantly remind yourself (and your team), that not one country works in the same way, and cultural differences affect the way consumers prefer to make payments online. 

So take the time to learn the different local payment methods across the globe, and tailor your checkout process to your target audience and the payment methods they prefer and trust, (there are thousands!). 

For instance, do your international customers prefer to use online bank transfers or direct debit? Do they prefer to use Stripe or Paypal? Getting this right can make a huge difference to your international conversion rates. 

Pricing display consistency 

Imagine a Chinese customer visits your e-commerce store that’s based in the U.K., with full intention to buy from you. Your listing prices are converted to Renminbi, but when they complete a payment, it hits their bank account in pounds and the customer ends up paying more than they expected in fees (on top of the regular price) but they don’t find this out until they check their bank balance. 

It’s likely they will feel lied to, lose trust in your brand and probably won’t return to your store based on this disappointing experience. In fact, 35% of Chinese consumers say they fear extra charges when purchasing items from British brands online. Additional charges could include added tax (VAT) in Britain, credit card exchange rates and foreign transaction fees. 

The multi-currency solution will cover you here; any additional charges that are applicable to the location of the visitor are automatically added to the final price in their local currency. Avoiding any nasty surprises when they check their bank account.

Geolocation detection

You can integrate a geolocation detection to your multi-currency store if you choose a multi-currency setup that includes a built-in geolocation detection functionality. 

Using geolocation detection, your store can automatically detect a visitors’ IP address and shows the price of listings in their local currency, including calculated exchange rates based on real-time data. This allows you to show customers local currency prices based on accurate and current foreign exchange rates.

Reduced cart abandonment

Often customers from overseas will delay or abandon transactions when asked to pay in an unfamiliar currency or payment method. 36% of Chinese shoppers prefer to make online purchases in their local currency, and are likely to abandon a site before even reaching checkout when product listings are displayed in a foreign currency.

When your international customers have reached the checkout, ready to hand over their money, the last thing they want to do is spend time trying to figure out an unfamiliar way of making a transaction. If you don’t have their preferred way of making a payment, they’ll likely get confused, and abandon their cart, never to return again. 

However giving your international customers their preferred payment method provides a familiar, quick way for them to buy products from your store, preventing them from abandoning their cart at checkout.

Stand out from the competition & improve customer loyalty

Accepting multiple currencies and payment methods for various regions across the globe will give your brand the edge and help you to stand out from the competition. Implementing a multi-currency solution can boost customer loyalty since it’s obvious you’re going the extra mile to cater for their cultural preferences.

If you trade in China, and accept their local currency, but a competitor selling the exact same products in China only accept pounds, you are more likely to win over the customers. Plus, they are more likely to return to you when they need something again. 
International customers will know straight away that they can trust your brand and will appreciate your simple, upfront approach to pricing. 

Conclusion 

Going global is an exciting yet complex process and can offer your e-commerce brand lots of opportunities. In order for your brand to reach a global audience, you should consider adapting your site to cater for foreign customers. You can do this by adopting two key features: multilingual and multi-currency. 

Offering product listings in a variety of currencies and giving customers the choice to make payments using their preferred payment methods gives your customers an easy way to buy from you rather than abandoning your site and their shopping carts due to currency confusion and a frustrating time at checkout. 

Going for a multi-currency solution will support your multilingual store and your efforts to increase international sales. 
If you want your e-commerce business to experience lots of new and exciting opportunities by reaching a larger international audience, it’s important to take things slow to ensure you’re doing things properly, for a more thorough long-term solution. 
Being consistent with a multi-currency solution throughout the customer buying journey will improve your customer loyalty and you’ll keep seeing them come back, again and again. What are you waiting for? 

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