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Expand Your Commerce Cross-Border in 2020: BigCommerce Multi-Currency Supports Your Global Growth

Halie Adams / 5 min read

Expand Your Commerce Cross-Border in 2020: BigCommerce Multi-Currency Supports Your Global Growth

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The world is getting smaller. Globalization means products that were once available to a select few can now zip across the world at frankly astonishing rates.

In the year 220, it would take over a year for a piece of Chinese porcelain to travel on the Silk Road from China to customers in Europe.

In the year 1820, it took 30 days for tea aboard a merchant ship to reach the Americas from Europe.

And in the year 2020, it takes 3 to 5 days for a fleet of novelty t-shirts to travel by air from Asia to the U.S.

Ecommerce is increasing as consumers in developing countries are embracing online shopping. Many businesses are taking the opportunity to expand their businesses beyond local markets to extend their reach to new customers across borders.

Forrester Research predicts that by 2022, cross-border ecommerce sales will reach $627 billion, up from $284 billion in 2017, and account for 20% of total ecommerce sales.

In fact, already one out of every seven online transactions is conducted across borders.

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Data from Statista.

While more and more shoppers are open to buying from international retailers, they still have some concerns — primarily with pricing, shipping, and transparency.

Global brands competing to earn their business are offering unique products and working to build relationships that address potential customers’ top concerns.

As international shopping grows more and more mainstream, merchants are continually seeking ways to build trust amongst global audiences. They can achieve this by offering full translations of their pages, allowing customers to transact in their local currency, and offering a number of payment and shipping options that are recognized and trusted in the region.

BigCommerce is empowering merchants to build these trusted relationships with international customers and optimize selling cross-border.

Our multi-currency functionality allows shoppers to see and buy in their local currency. Also, our payments API allows us to partner with the best global payment providers, giving merchants the freedom to choose the gateway they are familiar with. This improves the experience for international customers and ultimately improves conversion rates. BigCommerce also offers a wealth of shipping options to further simplify selling cross-border.

Globalization is driving consumer expectations, and there’s a lot of competition out there with merchants trying to meet those expectations. In this article, we’ll demonstrate how BigCommerce can help you grow your business internationally and share success stories from businesses that are doing just that.

The BigCommerce Philosophy Behind Multi-Currency

BigCommerce is devoted to our merchants’ growth. In our globalized world that growth can’t be limited by borders. We built our multi-currency product to help our merchants grow internationally and help them build secure relationships with new customers and audiences across borders.

We focus on an open SaaS platform approach. This means we’re committed to and have made significant progress in opening up key areas of the platform and partnering with best-in-breed solutions across the globe. This enables our merchants to have everything they need to run a successful online store — no matter where they’re located or where they sell to.

Here’s how it works:

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The frontend experience layer can be whatever the merchant wants it to be to suit their customers. It can be customized to local language and, as mentioned above, local currencies, so all audiences can get a personalized experience and transact with familiar pricing.

The parts in blue are the core functionality of the BigCommerce platform that allow merchants to operate their shopping cart, manage multi-channel selling, shipping and fulfillment, and more.

On the backend the 2-way REST API layers allow for seamless connection to your critical business management systems, like an ERP, allowing you to manage inventory, orders, and pricing all in one place.

What’s Happening Now

At the start of 2019, we opened the Shipping Provider API, allowing merchants to bring their own third-party or custom shipping service to provide real-time rates in cart and checkout.

This allowed for a new partnership with EasyShip, the all-in-one shipping platform for global ecommerce, connecting to 250+ shipping couriers, offering discounts of up to 70%, and managing customs and duties.

In the second quarter of 2019, we opened the Tax Provider API, which allows merchants to send a request to a third-party tax provider to calculate sales tax at checkout and submit order data to the third-party tax provider for future tax reporting and returns.

This allowed us to expand our current partnership with Avalara so we can now offer tax automation in not only the United States but also in and between Canada, the UK, and 27 EU countries. Along with the expansion of Avalara, we also released Vertex Cloud for enterprise U.S. and Canadian merchants and TaxJar for U.S. merchants.

In 2019, we began working on our platform and with payment providers to make multi-currency possible. This started with offering multi-currency credit card payments using Stripe, which enables businesses to not only display, but also allow customers to transact and settle in their local currency.

In January, we extended multi-currency capabilities to PayPal Express Checkout, a powerful market leader in payments, used by merchants and shoppers across the globe, Adyen a global payment platform offering local payment methods, and Elavon, consistently ranked in the top five global payment providers in the world. Throughout the year, we’ll be offering multi-currency through even more payment providers. More on that below.

Benefits of Multi-Currency

I touched on this in the introduction, but there’s a reason why BigCommerce has focused on advancing our multi-currency offering and why we think it’s so important for merchants as part of their international expansion strategies.https://www.adyen.com/

1. Avoid unhappy shoppers.

No one wants to be surprised at checkout. Customers are looking for transparency when buying from international companies, especially when buying from a new store for the first time. Seeing a sudden price change at checkout or discovering they will have an added fee for paying in their local currency can lead to a steep drop off at checkout.

Multi-currency lets merchants not only display product pricing in the local currency but also improve customer satisfaction by letting them transact and settle in their local currency.

2. Improve conversion rates.

Happy customers = more customers. By providing your international customers with the localized experience they expect, you will likely see an uplift in customers in global markets converting on your site.

“Since changing to the multi-currency we have seen a 20% increase in sales cross-border, and the customer feedback has been really positive.

— Mark Harrison, Ecommerce Manager, Quality Bearings

3. Customize for different markets.

BigCommerce multi-currency supports 100+ currencies, so shoppers around the globe can transact in their local currency. However, the product goes beyond that in the level to which you can localize the experience. You can customize how currencies are displayed to follow best practices in each region. You can also set up payment methods by currency, so shoppers can opt for the payment providers they know and trust.

4. Have complete control of pricing.

With BigCommerce multi-currency, you can set fixed pricing by currency through prices lists. This enables you to charge prices that make the most sense for your business in each market. You can further optimize profit margins by setting discounts and coupons by currency, so you can localize promotions by target markets too.

Quality Bearings Sees Quality Growth in Overseas Markets

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Quality Bearings is another business that has benefited from expanding to global markets. The UK-based online retailer of bearings and engineering supplies noticed their site was getting overseas traffic and wanted to capitalize on it.

Selling cross-border is a major focus for them, and currently 80% of their business is outside the UK. In fact, they’re now selling in 110 different countries and counting.

Prior to using the multi-currency features on BigCommerce, they were using a simple currency converter, but customers were often dismayed to discover at checkout that they would be transacting in British pounds. The result was that they saw a drop in their conversion rates in markets overseas.

Mark Harrison, Ecommerce Manager, Quality Bearings explained the positive result they’ve seen after adding multi-currency. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for our customers throughout their whole journeys. We’ve heard from a few of our regular customers excited they can transact in dollars now.”

What’s Next?

At BigCommerce, we’re excited to be offering multi-currency as part of our product as a way to help our merchants optimize selling cross-border. BigCommerce is built for growth and helping merchants expand beyond borders is one way we’re facilitating that growth.

We’re also committed to continuing to expand the payment providers who can support multi-currency.

In early 2020, BigCommerce merchants will be able to use multi-currency with Klarna, one of Europe’s largest banks used by 80 million global shoppers and BlueSnap, a payments provider connected to 30 global banks and offering over 100 global payment methods.

In the coming months, we plan to continue to improve our multi-currency features by adding new payment providers like Barclaycard, a multinational credit card and payment services provider with over 10 million customers in the UK, and Braintree & Paypal by Braintree. Learn more here.

The speed at which items can travel the globe is only increasing, and so too is the appetite for international goods. Competing in our globalized world means reaching new markets first and not letting political borders limit your selling.

Multi-currency is a key piece of the puzzle for merchants seeking to seize these new opportunities and expand cross-border. At BigCommerce, we’re continuing to invest in multi-currency as part of empowering our merchants’ growth.

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    Halie Adams

    Halie Adams

    Halie Adams is an Associate Product Marketing Manager at BigCommerce, where she strives to understand and advocate for what merchants need to run a successful online business. She has spoken to thousands of merchants, from aspirational businesses to established enterprises and has collaborated with agencies, tech partners and internal resources to make sure that merchants understand their options and can feel successful in opening and operating an online store.

    View all posts by Halie Adams

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