International localisation: Correct currencies and local payment preferences

So, your brand has diligently localised its website content and considered international SEO, but there is one crucial final step in the customer journey before that coveted conversion – payment. 

When marketing your products and services to consumers in different regions, offering customers the option to make purchases in their local currencies with convenient payment methods is critical to ensure a seamless user journey.

The way people pay matters. In fact, Croud’s recent report on international localisation tells us that 26% of respondents across all markets would be less likely to purchase from a brand that was using non-local currencies on their website. If you’ve invested in a comprehensive localisation strategy for international growth, it’s essential that this seemingly minor detail is not overlooked.

Why is payment localisation important?

Payment localisation is important for two main reasons. Firstly, to inform and protect the customer; by displaying prices in the local currency, they’ll know exactly how much they’re spending. Secondly, to protect your business; if you’re paying too much to offer products or services, then your profits could suffer.

Displaying an accurate price is also more than just the number, and in order to avoid confusion brands need to have a complete understanding of the market’s currency, as each has its own format and display. In the UK, for example, we put the GBP sign in front of the value (£10,000), whereas in Germany or France, the Euro sign is added after and the comma is replaced with a full stop (10.000€).

Getting this format wrong can have a negative impact on your brand, as consumers’ trust is affected. Furthermore, it’s interesting to note that this carries varying significance in different regions. In Western Europe (France and Germany), 26% of respondents said they would be less likely to purchase from a brand that displayed non-local currencies, compared with 31% in APAC (China and Japan). Similarly, 30% of respondents in APAC said they would be prompted to look at alternatives, with a lower figure of 24% for Western Europe.

Different country, different payment

Pricing is one thing, but the actual payment is another. The option – or lack thereof – to complete a purchase in the local currency plays an important role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. In fact, there is a significant drop-off rate of 20% when customers are not offered the choice of paying in their preferred currency.

Payment preferences and options can vary dramatically around the world, so this needs to be carefully considered for country-specific sites. In the US and Western European countries, for example, services like PayPal, Apple Pay and pay by debit are common, whereas in Eastern Europe you’ll need to consider offering alternatives like cash on delivery services.

Cash on delivery is when a recipient pays for a good or service at the time of delivery and is also used by the majority of digital consumers across the emerging markets, including Mexico, Thailand and Indonesia. In these countries a significant proportion of the population still doesn’t have bank accounts or access to wider financial services, therefore cash on delivery means that consumers without credit can still buy products and the payment period is shorter for sellers, too.

This is why it’s important for the international localisation process to understand local customer behaviours and payment systems for each country you’re doing business in; reducing friction to maximise conversion.

Final commerce considerations

The payment process is a crucial step to get right for international markets and to maximise sales, but the customer experience doesn’t stop there. Cultural differences mean that consumers have different behaviours and expectations when it comes to delivery and customer care.

In some countries, online shoppers expect free shipping regardless of the order value. So despite all of your localisation efforts, potential customers could be put off if you’re including an ‘unreasonable’ shipping charge in some markets. What about when they’ve finally paid and received the goods – do you know what the expectations are regarding return policies? This also involves local regulation and it’s common to see vastly differing terms for delivery, returns and taxes from country to country, yet extremely important to get right to avoid damaging your brand’s reputation.

This requires a deep understanding of the expectations that your customers have wherever they are in the world and ensuring that your localised country-specific pages are consistent with these preferences and consumer protection laws.

Get started with international payments

To get international customers to pay, you need to know how they want to pay. If you’re looking to expand into new territories, localisation should be a vital part of your global marketing strategy. If you would like to discuss your localisation challenges, or how we can support your global growth, get in touch.
Croud’s 2022 International Localisation Report features a survey of 1,600 people across France, Germany, China and Japan, as well as a quantitative analysis of companies across finance, software and retail sectors, to explore the realities of brand localisation across these markets. Download it here.

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