The Internet has made the world a much smaller place, and global credit card spending is set for a rapid increase. However, even if your ecommerce business doesn’t attract a worldwide audience now, that isn’t to say the number of international customers won’t pick up in the future. Should this occur, accepting payments in your own currency might seem like the simplest solution, but many consumers are far more comfortable purchasing in their own currency, which is why you might want to consider introducing multiple options
The growth in the global credit card sales
Ease of access to the Internet, the growing use of tablets and smartphones, and the sheer convenience of shopping online is all aiding the rapid rise in ecommerce. By the end of 2016, credit card sales were expected to be worth $399.48 billion in the United States alone, and payment card transactions worldwide were also predicted to make considerable gains. Moreover, by the time the year is out, global credit card sales are likely to have exceeded $1.95 trillion.
And this growth shows no signs of stopping. In 2020, research indicates that global ecommerce sales will have exceeded $4 trillion, and they will account for a considerable percentage of retail spending.
Ecommerce growth is strong in the United States and Canada, according to the research, however, it is emerging markets and a wider, global audience that ecommerce retailers should be ready to serve.
Preparing your Business for International Commerce
Pitney Bowes state that “two thirds of the world’s purchasing power is outside of the United States”. This means your business needs to have a strategy in place if international customers – who might not necessarily have used cross-border retail before – are going be comfortable buying from your ecommerce store.
As Pitney Bowes says, your global ecommerce strategy should go beyond the usual aspects of cross-border selling, such as managing customs requirements and the import/export part of your business: it also means making it clear that your ecommerce business has an understanding and respect of other cultures.
In addition, purchasing from your site should be as easy for global consumers as it is for local shoppers, and this means accepting payments in local currencies.
Accepting Multiple Currencies
If you are thinking about implementing multi-currency payments into your ecommerce business, there are a few ways of doing this: a multiple currency or a dynamic currency conversion approach are two common options.
With a multiple currency approach, consumers have the choice of selecting from a list of currencies. However, using this method can lead to additional administrative work.
A dynamic currency conversion is favored by larger, international ecommerce businesses that already have localized websites established. However, it is also used by bricks and mortar stores, ATMs etc. This approach will let consumers pay in their own currency and view the exchange rate, however, it can cost the customer more in card fees.
A further option is to use a multi-currency payment processor, which will allow you to accept credit card payments in hundreds of currencies.
Whichever option you decide to go with, you need to take into amount any additional admin costs for setting it up and moving forward. It is also imperative to think about the number of overseas customers you currently serve and whether the costs can be justified.
In addition, there are international trading laws, customs and the potential of overseas fraud to think about, and there is need to undertake risk assessments before offering multiple currencies as a payment choice.
International Shoppers and Shopping Cart Abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment cost retailers a significant amount in sales every year and there are many reasons why consumers do not complete a purchase; these include complicated check outs, security concerns and high shipping costs for international shoppers.
However, a further reason is the fact ecommerce owners haven’t taken into consideration international shoppers: the prices aren’t displayed in their local currency and shoppers cannot pay in their own currency.
Figures show that up to 13 percent of customers have abandoned a cart because the prices are presented in a foreign currency. However, offering consumers the opportunity to pay in their own currency provides many advantages to the consumer, and to the ecommerce enterprise.
The Advantages of Accepting Multiple Currencies for Businesses and Consumers
Detailed below are some of the advantages of accepting multiple currencies:
- As well as reducing cart abandonment, taking payments in multiple currencies allows you to target a much wider global audience
- Accepting multiple currencies can boost profits.
- Consumers know exactly how much paying when they make a purchase, without having to use a currency converter to find out.
- Taking payments in multiple currencies could lower the risk of chargebacks as consumers should be less likely to file a dispute over the amount they have been charged.
Fees Associated with International Credit Card Processing
Merchants need to be aware of the cross-border interchange fees associated with international credit card processing. The fees, which were first introduced in 2005, are charged to the payment processor by Visa and MasterCard. The payment processor can either pass these fees on to the merchant, or cover the fees themselves.
The cost of the cross-border fee is based on where the business is registered and the location of the bank who issued the card. Cross-border fees can be both domestic and foreign. You’ll find an extensive breakdown of the various interchange fees, including cross -border fees here.
Ecommerce is on the rise across the globe, and emerging markets and ease of access through mobile commerce are likely to further fuel this growth in the future. For any business that wants to optimize their online sales opportunities, it makes sense to consider reaching out to global customers by making the purchasing process as simple as possible.
This includes having a site that talks the language of potential global customers and that allows them to pay in their own currency. However, you need to consider that accepting multiple currencies is not without its complexities, so you need a full understanding of the potential risks as well as the benefits to your business.