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/


3 Answers 3


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.

  • 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
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 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
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 16:19
  • Old but, but i just landed here looking for something, @DougMcK why would you use EU flag for any country? some users might not know the actual flag of the EU, i don't know it, however i know most of the European countries flag's. (No i don't live in EU)
    – DJ22T
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 20:15
  • The EU flag would be used to donate the euro currency. Whilst it might not be a completely correct mapping of currency to countries in the EU, its still a reasonably well recognised indicator.
    – Doug McK
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 7:57

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

  • 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. Commented Feb 17, 2012 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
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 16:17

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.

  • Yeah its just a bit nasty looking
    – Doug McK
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 16:15

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