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Single vs. multi-currency Online Stores

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When you are setting up an online store you should consider in which currency you charge your customers. Either you accept only one currency or you offer your customers the opportunity to choose from different currencies. In this article some of the of the Pros and Cons of single and multi-currency stores are discussed.

Single-currency Store

  • Allow anyone around the world to purchase - but in your currency.
  • The customer's bank takes care of the currency conversion.
  • Are easy to set up - one payment gateway, one set of prices, one set of shipping options.
Here's an example: You set up your store on a site. Every visitor on that URL will be shown US product prices, US shipping options, US tax codes an so on. The visitors will be charged in US dollars via the payment gateway that is assigned to the USA.

Multi-currency Store (Localized Store)

  • Allows customers to choose from a set of countries.
  • The site owner has to deal with multiple currencies.
  • Requires more administration - multiple payment gateways, multiple sets of prices, multiple sets of shipping options.
  • Are only worthwhile if the site is doing enough international volume to justify the extra overhead.
Here's how it works: Assign a URL to each country you want to support. You may need to set up separate payment gateway accounts for different countries. Visitors on a site will be shown US prices, taxes and shipping options. They will be charged in US dollars and through a US payment gateway. Visitors on a site will be shown UK prices, taxes and shipping options instead. They will be charged in Pounds and through a UK payment gateway.

If you don't want to offer your customers the opportunity to pay in their currency a good thing might be to provide a currency converter. You could for example create a link your customers can click on it to get a real-time price for a product in a different currency. Provide a 3 letter currency code. A currency converter is a good half measure instead of a complete multi-currency setup.

Hope this helps,

eCommerce Consultant
BigTurns Professional Services Ltd 
Vancouver, BC V6E 4R1

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