Transacting in International Currency

Summary: A Volusion store with international customers would like to display the prices in international currencies including transmitting prices to paypal while keeping the backend and reporting in Volusion in US currency.

Problem:
(a) Automatically identify the currency of the visitor’s country.
(b) Display the prices in foreign currency based on the visitor.
(c) Convert the price of items in real time using the proper and current exchange rate.
(d) Transmit the cost to Paypal in foreign currency.

Challenges: Volusion’s default mechanism allows an admin to configure the store’s display with a dropdown list of international currencies from which a customer may pick a currency. Once the a currency is picked, all pages display the corresponding currency.

The exchange rate used for conversion is a manually set value in the Volusion backend administration. If administrators do not update exchange rates manually and frequently, then the price displayed to the customer will not reflect the most current or correct exchange rate based pricing. This can be a huge problem when exchange rates fluctuate.

Another challenge is that even though the prices are displayed in a different currency, the currency transmitted to Paypal is USD. Depending on how and where you run your business, you might want the transaction to occur in a visitor’s currency. And a third challenge is that Volusion doesn’t provide a dynamic system where it recognizes a visitor’s country automatically, nor the currency of the visitor.

Solutions:

Virtina’s solution consisted of three parts:

  1. IP Sniffer: This component will call an external API to detect the IP address of the visitor. The API returns the currency of the Visitor.
  2. Currency Updater: Calls another API to get the currency exchange rate and updates volusion back end, real time.
  3. Paypal Handler: This converts the USD to foreign currency and transmits the foreign currency amount to paypal.

Technical Components: JQuery/Javascript, HTML, Volusion APIs, PHP