s3As I’ve been travelling Europe over the last week or so I have come to realize just how confusing currency conversion can be. Of course I had to choose three countries to visit, all which use different currencies, Iceland (krona), England (pounds) and France (euros), making life even more confusing as I hop from one nation to another. Luckily my bank card functions at almost all these places, meaning I don’t have to use much cash, but as we shop (or should I say, as my wife shops) we constantly find ourselves performing complicated mathematical equations in our heads.

As I sat here in Bath, England trying to figure out how much money I spent for dinner and drinks last evening, I found it rather ironic to stumble upon a recent bit of news coming from Shapeways this morning.

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Back in 2007 when Shapeways was founded, there was little concern over exchange rates as their main focus was on growth. Back then 3D printing was in its infancy and CEO Peter Weijmarshausen likely never considered how inconvenient it may be for someone from Australia or England, for instance, to jump onto their marketplace and easily understand the costs of the hundreds of products they were potentially viewing. Here we are, 8 years later, and Shapeways has grown tremendously. With tens of thousands of items now available on the 3D printing marketplace and with customers from all over the globe, currency conversion issues have become a real concern. That is why this week Shapeways has rolled out a handy new feature.

Starting yesterday, customers in Europe, The United States, Canada and Australia are able to browse the marketplace using their own currencies. This means that those in the UK will no longer have to browse with a calculator by their sides to tabulate the price of an item each time they find one of interest. What may seem like a simple update, actually is a very important one for the company as they look to continue their expansion on a global scale.

Before this update, Shapeways only permitted users to browse the marketplace using USD or EUR, so this move will certainly make things a lot easier for those outside the US and EU. To change the default currency while browsing users simply have to scroll to the footer of the page. Here there is a simple drop-down box where the various currencies may be selected. Once selected all subsequent product pages will list the prices in the user’s desired currency. It is important to note that while a new currency may be displayed, when a user goes to purchase an item they will still be required to pay either in US dollars or euros.s1

Shapeways brings to our attention the fact that this new feature could be very useful for shop owners who can now view the prices for each of their items in these new currencies, allowing them to adjust their prices to perhaps look more appealing to certain areas.

Let us know your thoughts on this new update by Shapeways. Discuss in the Shapeways Currency Conversion forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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