The world is getting more global, and Shopify users are poised to get the most out of new markets opening up around the world. However, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it will be easy. Because we’re (quite selfishly) motivated to ensure that as many Shopify store owners do well as possible, we’ve decided to condense all of the complicated, conflicting information that’s floating around on the internet about internationalization into one three-part series.
Make sure to catch the first article of this trilogy, Why Localizing Your Shopify Content Matters, And How To Do It, where we talked about how to make sure you’re using the right language and content to win over your customers, no matter where they are. Next up in the series is Global Fulfillment For Shopify: Delivery & Inventory Management Overseas, where we show you how to make sure all of your products are delivered on time and in great condition.
Take My Money
One of the most wonderful things about running a Shopify store is that you can sell your products around the world. You aren’t limited by having physical locations or domain issues abroad - but that doesn’t mean that you’re home free so as long as customers can find you. You’ll also need to make sure you can actually accept their currency, or you’re in for a world of confused and unhappy customers - or none at all.
While many banks and programs are able to convert currencies, your site will be much more appealing if it displays the cost of products in the currency of the location it’s being viewed, and accepts that currency without complications. Yes, it’s likely that your payment gateway will accept the credit card of the country the customer is in, but without additional software, it’s likely that you’ll not only incur fees, but also confuse your customers. You’ll also run the risk of your gateway not accepting the card, and losing that customer - potentially for life.
By investing in payment conversions, processing and geo-targeted pricing, you’ll prevent those visiting your site from leaving due to confusion about how much your products cost, or a total inability to convert their currency and complete the purchase.
How to Convert Currency In Shopify
There are a few ways to offer currency options in your Shopify store, depending on your budget and level of technical ability. Remember, getting their currency correct is a big part of showing the customer that you recognize them as an individual and have some idea of who they are. With, according to Infosys, 74% of customer reporting frustration when websites aren’t personalized, you can’t afford to forego currency accuracy.
Customize Your Theme
The first is to customize your theme, which should be done by the designer who built your theme, but can be done by whoever is technically managing your store. You can find a full tutorial on how to customize your theme to show multiple currencies here. This tutorial will trigger a drop down at the top of your page:
As a warning, while the tutorial is fairly easy to follow, it will not work on all themes, especially sectional ones. If you’re inexperienced with web design languages and HTML, it’s a good idea to hire an expert or work during a time where you’re expecting very slow or no sales.
If you aren’t up for customizing your theme, or you have a theme that won’t allow you to add a drop down currency changer, you can also plug in one of many apps available in the Shopify store.
Our favorite is Auto Currency Switcher, which has both a free version that enables a manual currency drop down, and an inexpensive paid version ($9.95/month) that automatically detects the viewer’s country of origin and currency. You can see this app in action on LayBag:
How (and Why) You Need Regional Pricing
As an entrepreneur, you know that picking an appropriate price for your product requires a mix of market research, prioritizing, and trial and error - and that’s just for one market.
While converting your store to the currency of the viewer is extremely important, if the number they see seems to be way too much (or way too little) for the product, one or both of you will be unhappy with the experience. If you fail to check your price against others in the same market, you put yourself at risk for being seen as too expensive - or losing out on profit you could have made if you had adjusted accordingly.
Additionally, if you’re shipping a physical product, make sure to also factor in the additional costs of moving items across country lines, overseas, and more. If you’re planning on advertising, make sure you research the budget that will be required for success before you set prices, to ensure that your store is still at the level of profitability you’re aiming for.
Processing Currency The Right Way
In order to actually accept all of these currencies you’re now catering to, you’ll need software that can hold the money and convert it to the home currency of the seller’s account. This can be quite easy if cards like MasterCard and Visa are popular in the markets you serve, but can get increasingly complicated with smaller countries with less popular currencies.
One option for offering multiple currencies is to make multiple stores - which you may already be doing if your Shopify store exists in multiple languages. However, if you don’t have another reason to duplicate your store, there are many companies that can help with pricing via plugins. Our personal favorite is iGlobal Stores, which offers a suite of tools for international ecommerce stores, and has a Shopify app that can specifically help with adding in accurate landed costs, duties, tax and localized checkout. This package also comes complete with fraud protection software, to make sure your store is never compromised.
Lastly, by accepting currencies other than your native one, you open up the possibility of making a profit simply on strategic processing of that currency. This is a very simplistic level of Forex trading - you’ll want to stay up to date on exchange rates and the news that affects them to ensure that when you convert the foreign currency to your own, you benefit as much as possible. While holding currency to optimize the exchange value is not required (most stores automatically convert currencies at time of payment from the customer), it can be a good way to boost profits.
Make It Easy To Pay
When a customer is interested in one of your products in your Shopify store, they’re so close to hitting “buy” - don’t make it hard for them to check out! By investing in currency conversion, marketing pricing and currency processing, and showing them the information they need without having them jump through hoops or do their own research, you’re showing the customer that you value them just as much as your local shoppers. This taps into a principle that sellers have known for centuries - when shoppers feel valued and comfortable, they’re more likely to grab their wallets.
Stay tuned next week for Part 3: Global Fulfillment For Shopify: Delivery & Inventory Management Overseas, where we’ll foreign tax & VAT issues, international fulfillment of physical goods and inventory management. If you missed it, check out the first article in this series, Why Localizing Your Shopify Content Matters, And How To Do It.If you have any questions about this series, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.