Shopify Plus Multi-Currency Selector

This highly anticipated development from the global eCommerce heavy-weight, for the moment at least, is only available to Shopify PLUS partners. This said it is Shopify’s intention to role this out to all of their clients down the line.

This article is going to outline the features of Shopify’s new multi currency checkout as well as addressing some frequently asked questions.

First things first – what does selling in multiple currencies mean?

The customer who arrives at the store will have the ability to complete the entire checkout or buyer experience in a currency of their choice. Until now, the customer could only check out in the currency that the store had set up.

The new Shopify multi-currency option adds a number of features to both the customer and vender experience.

Customer Experience

  • Prices are set initially by the merchant in their preferred currency
  • IP address will indicate where the user is and automatically select the most appropriate currency
  • There is a currency selector in the top navigation – when a new currency is selected the page will refresh automatically showing the new currency
  • When a new currency is created they are generally friendly and accurately reflect the price in each one of the countries i.e. you will not get peculiar decimals like £85.99 > $109.36 – instead it is rounded appropriately
  • The selected currency will flow through the cart experience and once they arrive at the checkout, the currency also remains in this currency – beforehand it would revert back to the vendors default selection
  • Discounts are applied in the customers selected currency
  • Rates do not update every minute – they are generally pretty stable throughout the day.
  • The authorisation on the credit card will come through in the currency the customer has selected, regardless of what currency the card is in.

Merchant Experience

  • Merchants can select default from nine different currencies – USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD and merchants can enable whichever ones they require
  • On the orders page there is an indicator showing whether or not the order was multi-currency or not. However the currency displayed to the vendor is the one they selected
  • When you click on the details of each order the default is in the currency of the buyer. There is an option to change this into the vendor’s own shop currency
  • In the timeline you are able to see all of the conversion rates that have been implemented throughout the process
  • In the product description page you can see each one of the different prices associated to that product so that you can judge whether or not the automatic currency selector is sensible

Once setup the multi currency feature is relatively intuitive to use, but getting there is a different kettle of fish. Fortunately Shopify have published a detailed migration guide that is constantly evolving based on customers feedback and lists all of the different setup options and functionality. This being the case I’m not going to try and turn it into something more palatable – apologies if this comes across as a copout, but some things just can’t be shined and its better for everyone to go straight to the source.

If you are a Shopify partner you can now find a development store in your partner dashboard which you can make use of to play around and test some of the newest features.

 

 

 

Multi-Currency FAQs

Does the merchant need to update prices in different currencies or does the currency conversion happen automatically?

In this particular release all prices are generated automatically. Shopify takes the prices that the merchant puts in. The merchant sets the Shop currency and all of the prices and then Shopify will apply FX rates and rounding roles to generate a price for every other currency.

What if the merchant needs to offer a different price in a different currency instead of automatic conversion – is this possible?

In this particular release that is not possible however Shopify is working towards this in the future. So, currently the prices can only be set in the shop currency and then the automatic conversion is implemented.

There are rounding rules with currency conversion. What are these rules? Does it only apply to the sub total or does it apply to discounts as well?

Rounding rules apply to the specific line items and there are a few options that can be changed per currency. Currently these numbers only round up so as to minimise risk to the merchant. This may change in the future as more is learnt about the strategies that merchants are interested in using. There is no rounding added to totals, it is only at the line item level and it doesn’t apply to Shipping, Discounts or Taxes.

If I wanted to send a refund request through the API, which currency value should I be sending?

You should always use the presented currency used for the particular order.

When will multi-currency be rolled out across all Shopify tiers?

There is no specific release timeline at this point but there is no doubt that Shopify is going to role this out too more plans

Are all the current templates compatible with multi-currency?

Shopify are working with their theme partners to update their code to enable multi-currency option

Optimise Your E-Commerce Store This Black Friday

Post-Black Friday Review

 

Another Black Friday record has been broken this year, with the British retail sector enjoying £7 billion in profit. Unsurprisingly, the majority of this expenditure took place online.

The shift in consumer behaviour this year has resulted in a changing nature of Black Friday. We’ve seen a decline in reports of horror stories of shopper stampedes and never-ending queues due to a reduction of in-store traffic and an ever-growing increase in online retail traffic.

 

Who were the winners and who lost out?

Every year, we hear of success stories whereby stores fully take advantage of the holiday shopping season and maximise their revenue by following the Black Friday strategy which we laid out below in our previous blog. Black Friday horror stories do still exist, however, especially for e-Commerce businesses.

Let’s take a look at who were this year’s winners and losers…

 

Who was prepared?

As we noted prior to the big event, it is vital to inform potential customers of holiday sales and deals in advance.

Amazon reaped the rewards of the bonanza, by informing consumers of their free holiday shipping service to non-Prime members at the beginning of November. By doing this and expanding their physical footprint by creating a paper toy catalogue, Amazon sure were winners in this year’s retail frenzy.

 

Who rewarded their customers?

Promotions and rewards to loyal customers were implemented by many online retailers. Kohl’s hit a record number of online sales this Black Friday, partly thanks to their “Kohl’s Cash” loyalty program.

Kohl’s were also on the ball with their in-store experience for consumers, placing this offer both online and in-store.

 

Who optimised their website?

It appears J. Crew overlooked this vital point of preparation this year. Although they offered 50% off all items online, the brand left many consumers frustrated and confused as to why such a big franchise hadn’t ensured optimal website performance for the most profitable day of the year.

 

“Black Friday is an incredible opportunity for online retailers to offer their best deals, but preparation is key. There’s nothing more frustrating than spotting a product you like and clicking through to a website that’s too slow to load.” – Lawrence Jones, UKFast

 

Who maintained their inventory?

Stores such as Nintendo Switch did not best prepare their stock inventory, as they sold out way before Thanksgiving was over!

Multiple out-of-stock popup messages appeared on customers’ browsers, which amounted to an approximately $120 million loss for the retailer.

 


 

Optimise Your E-Commerce Store This Black Friday

 

Black Friday has been a key part of Thanksgiving celebrations for decades. Although, surprisingly, its roots refer back to something much darker than the joys of discounts, rewards and freebies. Instead, the term “Black Friday” was first coined in the 1800s in light of a stock market crash.

Over time, those negative connotations have worn away and Black Friday has transformed into a 24-hour retail frenzy, which sets the tone for generous spending over the holiday season.

Last year saw a new Black Friday record, with UK consumers collectively spending £1.4 billion online and the US generating $5.03 billion from online sales – a huge proportion of which took place on mobile.

But have the gloomy undertones of Black Friday’s history disappeared for online retailers?

Let’s check out some lessons we’ve learnt from past Black Friday events while we anticipate what’s in store for us this week.

 

black friday e-commerce sales laptop

 

Start early

 

Research shows that over 50% of US retail consumers begin planning their holiday shopping months before Black Friday.

This only creates more opportunities for e-Commerce stores to lure in their existing and potential consumers. It’s important to give these retail enthusiasts a taste of what’s to come by sending out targeted email marketing campaigns, offering rewards to loyal customers and circulating promotional content across all social media channels.

 

 

Plan your sales

 

Not only should retailers prepare their marketing strategy, but it is also essential to plan which discounts will be applied to which products and on which dates.

Shopify has drafted a Black Friday sales plan to help online retailers avoid a last-minute rush to try and get rid of everything in their store.

 

Create an attractive Black Friday landing page

 

Having a clear and engaging landing page is a great way to take advantage of early bird buyers. AO.com’s landing page for 2017 exemplifies how this should be done:

 

ao.com black friday 2017 landing page

 

A clear contact form to keep potential customers updated with upcoming and present Black Friday deals, a direct link to the shop and promotion of their free delivery service form a great strategy to increase conversion.

 

Prepare for increased demand and traffic

 

A steep increase in traffic and conversion to your online store is exactly what you want. Right? But not if it’s going to freeze and crash your website.

This is the last thing any consumer or online retailer wants to see on their screen amidst the Black Friday mania:

 

argos black friday landing page crash

 

currys black friday landing page freeze

 

To avoid going down the same road as Argos and Currys, make sure you test your server load capacity.

As well as this, ensure that all other areas of your supply chain are prepared for an increase in demand, for example, suppliers, shipping service, inventory levels, and make backup plans incase worst case scenario arises.

 

Check out what we can do for your online store here!

 

 

The “phygital” trend

 

As we are all aware, digital influence is rising within e-Commerce. But that’s not to say that physical retail is dead. In-store experiences drive around 37% of online traffic, therefore it is crucial that retail businesses combine their physical and digital (“phygital”) efforts to promote Black Friday.

 

Responsiveness

 

To keep user experience at an optimal level, e-Commerce sites must be responsive across all devices and browsers. According to eMarketer, around 58.9% of online transactions over this past year were made through mobile phones, therefore, this Black Friday a huge proportion of purchases can be expected to be made on mobile.

The Evolution Of Artificial Intelligence In eCommerce

There is no denying that advancement in technology is one of the key driving forces behind the 10% year on year growth in eCommerce sales which is expected to reach $706 billion annually by 2022, according to Forrester Research.

 

There is also no denying that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are defining factors in this extraordinary growth.

 

From predicting user behaviour to intelligent product suggestions, the speed it takes for a customer to pass through a digital shop is increasing all the time and not because they dislike it and want to leave as quickly as possible, but because merchants are able to put the right products in front of the right customers eyes more accurately and with greater speed.

 

artificial intelligence digital image

 

When was Artificial Intelligence created?

 

AI has been used in eCommerce for many years, one of the most obvious examples being personalisation through targeted products, which has infuriated many for the last decade or so.

 

It is now rare to land on an eCommerce site that doesn’t implement AI somewhere on their site and even off their site in that retailers and brands are are able to personalise the experience of the search results pages or the category listing pages based off the visitor behaviour from their website.

 

AI technology is increasingly set to replace marketers and merchandisers in selecting which adverts to place where and at which time across the Internet.

 

Predictive analytics is an extremely important field of AI and increasingly it’s becoming more accessible to smaller companies. It gives the opportunity to provide deeper insights into what consumers want and need and suggest to marketers and advertisers what the next action should be. So if you are able to analyse all of the activity on a website and serve this to a merchandiser and say which customers are likely to purchase next if you send them an email or offer them a promotion. Because these machine learning algorithms detect patterns that human beings often miss, it is able to serve a lot more intelligence to marketers a lot more efficiently and catch things that we wouldn’t normally find, at least not as efficiently as AI.

 

The ability of artificial intelligence to connect dots that would be tricky for humans to do, combined with it’s capacity to crunch numbers on a massive scale is an extremely powerful tool to possess.

 

eCommerce and Artificial Intelligence Cartoon with lots of products in a basket

 

AI Merging with eCommerce

 

We’ve all heard the rumours about being tracked around brick and mortar shops by cameras tracking what is in our shopping baskets, what are shopping trends are and even the route customers take around the shop.

 

Granted this is designed to make retailers see more but, whilst it is a bit (well, a bit more than a bit) of an invasion of privacy, we, the shopper, gain from it as well.

 

Customer experiences are becoming tailored to the individual which is great! No?

 

Personally, and I know I speak for many others out there, I want to spend as little time as possible traipsing around shops trying to find that illusive product, whether it’s cotton buds or ink pots, and if someone makes this easier for me then I will welcome it with open arms.

 

For some time in America billboards have concealed cameras behind the motorway billboards to track which cars have been exposed to the ad it’s displaying.

 

So when Brett Bushkin (for some reason this is the name that has sprung into my head when trying to come up with an American sounding name) drives past the ad displaying a package deal on some Jesus sandals and frog socks, when Brett later drives up to the store in his olive green Chrysler to follow up on the ad, the store knows that Brett is likely to have seen the its billboard and they can now build a detailed profile on Brett which it can then use to apply to others. The stores can machine learning system can now sort this data and roll out ads at the correct time of the day to when Brett, and those like him, are likely to see it.

 

This style of marketing has now been stepped up and advertisers can target specific cars with specific ads. Indeed a year ago Britain’s most famous billboard in Piccadilly square started doing exactly this. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/piccadilly-circus-new-massive-advertising-screen

 

The leading digital researcher Gartner predicts that by 2020 around 80% of customer interactions will be handled by artificial intelligence and in as many as 95% of all customer journey’s, artificial intelligence will have been employed at some point.

 

Should we be weary of this or should we embrace it?

 

AI disruption in eCommerce

 

Disruption is a loaded word and it is often used as the link between AI and eCommerce. To me ‘disruption’ undeservedly carries various negative connotations, especially when associated with eCommerce. Invasion of privacy jumps to mind.

 

So when it comes to AI and eCommerce, I don’t think ‘disruption’ fits the bill.

 

Revolutionising, enhancing and refining are words that should be sandwiched between Artificial Intelligence and eCommerce. We must accept that we live in a data driven world and when handled correctly it has the power to turn the mundane into the sublime.

 

Shopping experiences are truly bespoke and whether you want to spend an hour or a minute in shops, you will increasingly leave more satisfied as AI enhances these often tedious experiences.

 

On a personal level, as I’ve already mentioned, I cannot stand the thought of wandering around shops, either online or in real stores, looking for the colourful cotton boxer shorts that I’m particularly keen on, or what ever the product is… If I can be signposted to them more efficiently, or better yet them brought to me, then I’m going to be happy.

 

Over the past decade we have seen how much AI has changed the way we spend our time, most of the time unknowingly. However most people don’t appreciate that AI has been around for considerably longer.

 

Learn more about our leading digital Agency Here

 

Past Predictions – Where are they now?

 

Making predictions around technology has become increasingly tricky and, as Moore’s law demonstrates, the speed of technological advancement makes making predictions nigh on impossible – especially when thinking about timings. However, as the law also suggests, the ceiling preventing us from progressing further is also fast approaching and current human knowledge will not be able to enhance the machines we have created.

 

Over five years ago, when AI and eCommerce was a lesser-known beast, leading qualitative and quantitive analyses firm McKinsey Quarterly wrote an article that looked ahead at where this space was moving. The following is a version of one of their predictions

 

Near Field Communication

 

The rise in NFC (Near Field Communications)

 

1.

Intrigued by his friends headphones, Brett taps his NFC enabled phone against them, they too have these NFC powers.

 

2.

Brett’s phone then asks her to take a selfie.

 

3.

In the app Brett can now see what he looks like with a pair of headphones and can select the colour.

 

4.

Brett can now share the image with his friends who can vote directly on which colour they prefer/suits him best.

 

5.

Brett now receives a message from Shopify offering him a free months membership subscription or a free premium plan if she buys the headphones

 

6.

Brett loves the beige headset and decides to make the purchase. Yay Brett

 

7.

When Brett opens the recently delivered box the next day he is asked if he wants to take a picture to share online online with his friends. The more shares the more perks he gets such as a Spotify subscription from, for example, his mobile phone provider who has a partnership agreement with the headphones.

 

Whilst all of the above isn’t completely familiar, generally speaking they got it pretty spot on and most of what is described is seen during our every day lives. Now where is all this going?

 

The Future of Ecommerce 

 

Where is AI and eCommerce heading?

 

In some cases we’re already there, in others we’re almost there and others are speculative, however the following is a list of a few areas where Artificial Intelligence heading:

 

  1. Albert – A trustworthy sounding AI led marketing platform.

 

Albert is a software that automates the campaign management of your paid and non-paid media campaigns. Making use of predictive analytics, machine learning, language processing and feedback, Albert keeps a check on campaign execution, optimisation, analysis, testing and insights.

 

Now for those businesses who have neither the time or the inclination to run there own marketing campaigns themselves Albert might be a good alternative to the expensive agency fees that they would otherwise be facing.

 

  1. Boost Conversion – stop those slippery customers from getting away

 

As more and more data is being collected on customers we’ve seen a rise in the number of AI driven strategies aimed at engaging these customers and helping them to convert

 

Chatbots

This is one of the big players in conversion marketing today and the statistics out there are fairly irrefutable. For example Kia introduced their digital friend Kian (a Facebook messenger chatbot) to their website in late 2017. Kian is programmed to answer any question a user might ask and if Kian didn’t know the answer guess what, through machine learning, the next time he will. Since the Chatbots introduction Kia reported that it had tripled its conversion rates in the space of 4 months – and something tells me this wasn’t down to a ground breaking new car design. From improving customer service to shortening the sales steps, to up-selling and cross-selling, chatbots have revolutionised digital marketing in recent years.

 

Retargeting

Retargeting is a key part of digital marketing as it keeps your brand in front of previous visitors to your site thus increasing the likelihood of them converting. Shoelace is an example of an AI tool designed for retargeting. With some leading agencies estimating that only 2% of shoppers convert the first time they are on a store, the benefits of keeping your brand at the forefront of your customers as they move around the internet is invaluable and can save a considerable amount by avoiding targeting the wrong type of customer.

 

KeaText

Time is of the essence in this increasingly fast moving world we find ourselves in, and if you’re able to address customer reviews as soon as they make them then the chance of conversion can be dramatically increased. Through machine learning and AI, Keatext is able to sort through positive and negative reviews and pass them onto you in real so that you are able to address any issues head on and even create a ‘feedback loop’ so that you are able to display a more relevant product to the customer straight away.

 

  1. Content Recommendation

 

As we know creating engaging content is a key factor to driving traffic to a site and boosting your page/site authority in the eyes of search engines. Many companies are now experimenting with bots that not only suggest potential trends but also analyse and provide feedback on the likelihood of that content generating shares or engagements. For example Rocco AI is a social media bot that recommends more attractive content. Rocco can even be integrated with Slack where it can analyse a brands tone of voice and make recommendations for original content ideas.

 

  1. Image Recognition – shining a light into the shadows

 

For years bots were unable to see or understand what an image was however, times a changin. Google, Facebook, Amazon and every other big digital player have developed bots that recognise what an image is and can provide a detailed description of what the subject matter is. So for instance, if you take a photo with you smart phone you can then carry out a search on that image and you will be delivered products that are similar to the image in the results.

 

  1. Voice Commerce – “Talking to oneself – the first sign of madness”

 

Now if speaking to robots isn’t your thing then you better change your tune because there is absolutely no denying the direction we are moving in.

 

Voice commerce is the interaction with an eCommerce site when there is no screen to engage with – Amazon Echo, Google Home etc. This is great for repetitive orders or things that you have already put onto your shopping list and like it or loath it, we are getting more and more comfortable talking to machines and inevitability this trend is going to continue.

 

It hasn’t quite reached the level of product search or product comparison, so there is still a need for traditional eCommerce experiences and this will not change. However the way voice search will augment how we shop by providing greater convenience is certainly where we are going to see a lot of growth over the coming few years.

 

  1. Combatting Fake Reviews

 

Reviews are an essential part to modern day shopping with Shopify estimates that as many as 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site with product ratings and reviews. More often than not you’ll be able to find an alternative product for a similar price on a different website and people’s decision as to which to buy is largely based upon a star rating or product review as well as expense of course. However, who is writing these reviews? Well, it could be real customers but increasingly over the past decade machine learning AI has evolved to be able to write reviews that are nigh on impossible to tell are not written by a human. This being the case how can we combat it? Well, through AI obviously.

 

Whilst it might be tricky for us to decipher between fake and real, AI is being developed to spot behavioural patterns in reviews that can indicate whether or not the review is genuine or not and remove or flag up those that is suspects to be fabricated.

 

The Dangers of AI

 

But Alas – That Which Glitters is Not Always Gold

 

What are the negative effects of AI? I admit I have been waxing lyrical about artificial intelligence and how it is going to help me minimise the time I spend in shops, which is great. However of course there are consequences; some more concerning than others.

 

In the last few years there are several embarrassing examples of people being caught out. Take for example Microsoft’s chatbot Tay being provoked into becoming a racist back in 2016 when social media users bombarded it with confusing quesitons. Within a day Tay was tweeting about anti-semitism, racism and dictators, to name but a few.

 

But this isn’t eCommerce I hear you say. Well, true. However the principles of manipulation still apply and depending on what questions are asked to your eCommerce chatbot, its effectiveness and the results it returns can be varied. This can have a devastating impact on your brand.

 

Useful AI is based almost entirely on the quality of the data that is collected meaning consequences could be disastrous should their be discrepancies in the data from which AI is learning. JJ Guy, the CTO at Jask – a leading AI security provider, said: “The algorithms themselves are easy. Collecting, classifying and labelling datasets used to train the algorithms is the grunt work that’s difficult – especially datasets comprehensive enough to reflect the real world.”

 

  1. You might end up living a sheltered existence

 

Whilst it is great to be presented with your colourful boxers that you had been searching for as soon as you land on a page, think of all the things that you might be missing. Whether it is ‘Recommended For You’ Netflix films or ‘You Might Also Like’ popups that appear across countless eCommerce stores including, and perhaps most dangerous of all, publishing and news sites, gradually someone else – or something else – is tailoring our lives for us.

 

Our ability to choose is being diminished and this is dangerous on so many levels, not least that our lives will become blinkered and driven by what brands think will make them the most money.

 

  1. Anything you can do I can do better

 

Artificial Intelligence doesn’t bode well for the job market as, as we have pointed out in this article, machines are increasingly becoming more efficient than humans, which ultimately means that people are going to start losing their jobs.

 

The Future is Bright, the Future is Artificial Intelligence

 

It might sound obvious but Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. From self driving cars to fully customised eCommerce shopping experiences, soon enough every part of our life will involve sound element of artificial intelligence, whether we are aware of it or not.

 

In 2019 expect to see an upshift in eCommerce stores implementing AI technology to help drive sales. In fact I would predict that by the end of 2019 the vast majority of online merchants will be making use of AI somewhere on their site, whether it is voice powered shopping, virtual fitting rooms or computer-generated assistants offering a hand.

 

My only advice would be to try and avoid being hit by a self driving car and remember to take shopping online with a pinch of salt and recognise that there are some very clever machines out there getting us to open our wallets.

 

As a leading digital agency Diffusion Digital would be happy to answer any questions you may have – feel free to get in touch through the form below or alternatively you can call us on +44 (0) 203 141 2000