Cross-border e-commerce: Seamless shopping or a regular pain?

In the early years of online shopping, many e-commerce vendors priced their goods in dollars or pounds to drive international business. More than 25 years later, many still use that tactic. But regardless of whether your goods are priced in dollars, pounds, euros or yen, today’s online shopper expects to be able to shop in their own local currency.

In the old days we frantically ran around department stores, hoping to (soon) find whatever it was we were after. When successful, we gladly queued for hours, sweat trickling down our faces, waiting to purchase what we came for. In contrast, today’s customers are used to sweat-free shopping sprees that require little more than swiping an index finger up and down a smartphone screen. They are used to effortless browsing around your online shop, and that also applies when they hit your virtual register.

A survey, conducted earlier this year by Shopify, showed that 92 percent of online shoppers prefer to make purchases that are priced in their local currency. Thirty-three percent of the them are more likely to abandon a purchase if the pricing isn’t in local currency.

Based on these numbers, it seems online shoppers seek solutions with a local feel, where they do not have to factor in currency fluctuation. And if they have to, 33 percent of them will leave the shop empty-handed.

Their demand for seamless shopping may seem like a recurring pain as you then have to price your goods in local currency. It doesn’t have to be pain, according to Thomas Morten Jensen, FX automation & digitalisation specialist at Nordea Markets. You don’t even have to get your hands dirty.

For many companies, currency management is something that’s done manually and takes an inordinate amount of time. Replacing time-consuming manual tasks with automated FX solutions makes it possible for you to accept payments in local currency, says Jensen.

Automation can relieve the pain

Nordea’s award-winning robot AutoFX and FX Listed Rates API are two FX solutions that help customers handle their currency dealings in a more effective way.

“Monitoring and keeping track of your currency flows and liquidity is an important task, but let’s be honest, it can also be a bit boring”, says Jensen. “AutoFX is a rule-based automated solution that monitors and manages currency account balances, FX transactions and liquidity in close to real-time”, he adds.

If you run a business with cross-border cash flows, AutoFX automatically handles the exchange between your home currency and the foreign currencies in question through a sweeping and topping functionality. With sweeping, you automatically sell excess liquidity in foreign currency and buy currencies where you need the liquidity and/or have expenses and costs. Topping on the other hand caters for currencies where you have outgoing payments by automatically monitoring and topping up negative balances, thus reducing unnecessary interest costs on your foreign currency accounts, explains Jensen.

According to the rules

It isn’t often in life that you get to decide the rules, but when it comes to Nordea’s rule-based automated FX solution, AutoFX, you do. The same goes for our FX Listed Rates API, where we provide a fixed FX rate that is valid for a pre-defined period and you decide the underlying triggers for a FX trade (for example an online purchase made by a foreign credit card). Your rules. Our solutions.

Wondering what rules to set for AutoFX?

You could, for example, apply a rule of always sweeping EUR to your home currency if the EUR balance on the account exceeds 100,000 EUR. Add the rule of never letting your USD account go below zero or never trade on the last banking day of the month, just to name a few.

If you’re in doubt, Nordea can help you map out which rules to apply that best suit your needs. Contact us on +4533439786.

Currency management is unavoidable

Aleksander Subosic, co-founder of the Swedish fashion brand, Ivyrevel, notes that currency management is an unavoidable part of a global online business. Before adding AutoFX into the mix, it was also an area that took up a lot of time – time that ideally could have been spent on growing the business.

Ivyrevel is based in Stockholm, which not only means long summer nights and cold winter days, it also means that the majority of Ivyrevel’s costs are in Swedish krona. The company’s income, on the other hand, originates from many different currencies.

Before Ivyrevel automated its cross-border flows, it put a lot of manpower into monitoring and managing its currency account balances and FX transactions.

“Since April 2017 we haven’t spent a single minute on exchanging currencies”, explains Subosic, adding, “It also gives us a good average exchange rate as the exchange transactions take place on an ongoing basis”.

“As AutoFX is a rule-based automated FX solution, all you have to do is define the rules you would like AutoFX to follow when handling your currency flows”, says Nordea’s Jensen.

Nordea’s FX Listed Rates API is an automated solution that allows you to show prices and accept payments in local currencies based on a pre-defined price list. How? The API provides fixed tradable currency rates that are valid for a duration of up to 24 hours at a time for FX SPOT, TODAY and TOM value dates. You can also do weekend rates – a rate that is valid over the weekend when plenty of purchases and transactions happen, but the FX market is closed. The API is therefore suitable for e-commerce or any application or service wishing to show local pricing to end customers.

 

By integrating fixed currency rates into your systems or platforms, your customers will be able to see prices and pay in local currency, you eliminate currency risk as the exchange rate is known for an agreed period and you protect your margin, regardless of which currency your customers prefer.

Thomas Morten Jensen, FX automation & digitalisation specialist at Nordea Markets

API: What is it and how to implement?

An API, short for the tongue-twisting Application Programming Interface, is a software intermediary allowing two applications or systems to talk to each other. By adding, for example, the FX Listed Rates API to one of your systems, you enable your own system to communicate with Nordea’s systems. Tasks previously handled over the phone or via digital trading platforms will now be conducted automatically.

The FX Listed Rates API is available to customers on Nordea’s Open Banking platform. Minimal IT integration is needed. Want to register? Click here.

“By integrating fixed currency rates into your systems or platforms, your customers will be able to see prices and pay in local currency, you eliminate currency risk as the exchange rate is known for an agreed period and you protect your margin, regardless of which currency your customers prefer”, says Jensen.

Not familiar with all the foreign exchange lingo? Don’t miss this article about getting to grips with the foreign exchange basics.

By adding the FX Listed Rates API to your system, Nordea can help you grow your business by securing currency rates when dealing with cross-border offerings.

Still not convinced you should automate FX-related work tasks? Here are five reasons to automate your work processes that might change your mind.

Having your cake and eating it too

It isn’t often you get to have you cake and eat too, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could? AutoFX and FX Listed Rates API are designed to co-operate, which means that you can enjoy the benefits of both automated solutions.

AutoFX focuses on account balances. It monitors and keeps track of your currency transactions and liquidity. It automatically tops up and sweeps off in close to real time. The FX Listed Rates API, on the other hand, focuses on FX pricing and FX trading and can be directly connected to your online shop, making it possible for you to price your goods in local currency.

By combining AutoFX and the FX Listed Rates API, different parts of your money flow are handled automatically.

Seamless shopping or a pain?

Using the same pricing tactics as they did at the dawn of the Internet might seem like seamless shopping to you as you don’t have to factor in currency fluctuations by selling your goods in only one or a couple of currencies. But unfortunately, your customers don’t see it that way, a fact that most likely will end up costing you in sales.

Will adding multi-currency pricing to your online shop become a recurring source of pain? Turning your online shop into a seamless shopping experience for your customers by adding prices in local currency doesn’t have to be a pain. By automating your cross-border flows, you can accept payments in local currency without filling up your day manually handling this.

The information provided within this website is intended for background information only. The views and other information provided herein are the current views of Nordea Bank Abp as of the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The information provided within this website is not an exhaustive description of the described product or the risks related to it, and it should not be relied on as such, nor is it a substitute for the judgement of the recipient.

The information provided within this website is not intended to constitute and does not constitute investment advice nor is the information intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The information provided within this website has no regard to the specific investment objectives, the financial situation or particular needs of any particular recipient. Relevant and specific professional advice should always be obtained before making any investment or credit decision. It is important to note that past performance is not indicative of future results.

Nordea Bank Abp is not and does not purport to be an adviser as to legal, taxation, accounting or regulatory matters in any jurisdiction.

The information provided within this website may not be reproduced, distributed or published for any purpose without the prior written consent from Nordea Bank Abp.

Further reading