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I've just converted an ecommerce site to support multiple currencies rather than just one and was looking for any feedback or experience in how to display the fact that the site can now be viewed in multiple currencies.

Whilst we still mainly sell in GBP, we do sell to a significant amount of people whos natural currency is USD or Euros too, so making them aware that they can see the price of an item in their currency is the prime goal.

Some of our current thinking....

  1. Currency selector along the top with the rest of the account controls (display a flag as well?)
  2. Do an IP lookup to guess the users location, working out currency from that and displaying it for them to confirm in a popup
  3. The etsy.com way - show a users main settings at the bottom

Any other options, thoughts or interesting implementations?

current favourite implemention : http://www.asos.com/Men/

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Another way to get the user's location - and which is probably more accurate than IP lookup - is the HTML5/JS geolocation API. Mind the browser compatibility issues, though, and the fact that it'll show a dialog asking for the user's permission, which might scare them off. –  André Paramés Feb 18 '12 at 3:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I am sure this has been asked before, but I cannot find it. Anyhow, there are a few of rules generally to apply to this sort of thing.

  1. Do not confuse currencies with countries. It gets very complex. They are NOT the same, even though many countries and currencies do match one-to-one.

  2. Do not use IP lookup to guess users location. This worked for a while, but as most personal users on broadband have IPs that are nothig like where they actually are, so it is a poor indicator. At least this applies across Europe.

  3. Let the users choose their currency, then forget about it and always use their choice in the future. Of course, they should always be able to change it if they want.

  4. Consider how many currencies you are liable to need. If it is a few - dollar, pound, euro, yen for example - then you can list them using their symbols across the top of the page. If you are planning to apply it to 100 currencies, this will not work, and you will need a drop down. Then consider how you will order it.

  5. Not quite on this subject, but do also consider whether you are converting prices, or price-pointing them ( that is, setting the right price for a currency, irrespective of the coversion rate ). These question do impact how you work on other aspects of your site, like whether you allow anyone to buy anything anywhere in any currency.

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I had a good look before asking but there wasn't anything like this. The flag with currency was more of a visual indicator of currency - for example, I'd use the EU flag for Euros rather than different country flags. –  Doug McK Feb 17 '12 at 16:14
    
Giving this as the answer for its completeness. You raise some good points for people to think about when implementing multiple currencies (also happy that we've already thought about them and addressed them!). –  Doug McK Feb 17 '12 at 16:19

I suggest using a dropdown with currency codes in alphabetical order (if you know a majority of your users use one currency, you can have these duplicated at the top). This gets past the problems other posters have flagged re: country code and IP lookup.

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Yeah its just a bit nasty looking –  Doug McK Feb 17 '12 at 16:15

I definitely wouldn't go by IP address. On my work computer, I've seen my own IP shown as Orlando and Germany even though I am in Pennsylvania. Orlando is where our US headquarters is located and Germany is the worldwide headquarters, but neither is correct for location.

I like the way FastSpring E-Commerce does the country selection. The image shown below is taken at 3 different times. 1. Defaulted to US, 2. select the drop-down to view additional countries and 3. select new country for correct currency. You can try it here: Example

enter image description here

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But this is a country and language selection, that is not, apparently, translating the site text into Spanish for an Argentinian. At the moment, having it in the language of the Oppressors and Userpers might be a challenge. And country/language/currency may be in pretty much any combination. –  Schroedingers Cat Feb 17 '12 at 15:20
    
Nice example. I'm leaning towards something like currently after seeing Asos's implementation. Seems the tidiest way of doing things. –  Doug McK Feb 17 '12 at 16:17

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