Shopify’s time to market and opportunities for scaling growth are the very things that make this e-commerce solution so popular. Its intuitive interface and feature set make it a blast to use. Merchants have a great deal of control over their store’s strategic direction, including targeting new markets.
Last time, we published a piece on setting up a global e-commerce brand powered by Shopify. Below, we explain how to expand your store from a local market to foreign ones. Let’s go.
How to open up your online store to foreign markets?
You have a running Shopify shop, but you want to acquire foreign customers. You picked the countries you want to enter, but you’re looking for advice on how to structure the whole endeavor. Above all else, we would recommend you start slow. It’s no need to restructure all of your activities to serve the global market, unless you are certain it will drive sales and loyal customers.
Before you do anything, analyze the market, check the competition and calculate whether selling abroad is profitable for you. What’s your product going to cost? Can a prospective customer find something like that? Do you know what a delivery process would look like?
Start with translating your current Shopify store
The first step in acquiring customers from abroad is to translate your existing store into the language of your target market. The majority of Shopify themes are translation-friendly. Similarly, they are prepared to host shops that have more than one currency. If you asked our agency to design a custom Shopify theme, we can translate your store’s content and configure another currency for you.
You can find Shopify apps that automatically detect where the user is from and show them your store’s content in an appropriate language. The instruction for installing the app are in the help center. We usually recommend Langify, an app that has similar features. Likewise,
Geolizr make it easy to convert prices, configure popups and banners for foreign customers.
Translating your shop, showing prices in foreign currency, clearly signify that you’re ready top open up your shop for foreign markets. It is really useful for those of you who are just experimenting to sell abroad. Nevertheless, merchants who are certain of success on foreign markets should consider opening up an additional shop or trying Shopify Plus. We will discuss that in a moment.
What are the advantages of translating Shopify store?
- low entry threshold
- no need to invest in a new shop infrastructure
- collecting data about users from different countries
- Shopify’s themes are built for hosting translations (see this guide)
- many apps assisting in store localization
What are the drawbacks of selling abroad via a single Shopify store?
- limited freedom of personalizing experience for foreign users
- showing the same offer regardless of location
- price rounding with Shopify Payments
- search results work only for the main language of a store
- product pages’ URLs are not translated
New domain, subdomain, plan upgrades – How to launch online sales focused on foreign clients?
The next step in getting your Shopify store ready for selling abroad is getting a separate store that addresses the local customers and their needs. Once you verify your product-market fit for a new audience, check your competition, and get ready to export your products on a large scale, you’re ready to scale your international sales and launch an additional store.
Such a move gives you flexibility to customize the offer, plan promotion and localize the buying process. How to run a localized shop on Shopify? Let’s see.
Does your plan give you an additional store by default?
Higher subscription plans let you open an additional store. Shopify Advanced (299 dollars per month) allows you to run more than one online shop. Shopify Plus (starts with 2 thousands dollars a month), on the other hand, gives you 9 additional stores, each of which you can customize for different markets by setting up different payment and delivery systems.
If you’re on a lower plan, be it Shopify or Shopify Basic, you can upgrade your plan or get the same plan and build a new e-commerce store for targeting foreign customers.
Get a new domain or subdomain for localized experience
If you want to separate your first online store from the one you will use to sell abroad, set up a new domain or subdomain. You can buy a domain with your brand name, a dash and a region you want to dedicate it to (“Shopify-fr.com” for France) or add a domain extension that has a region in it (“Shopify.fr” for France). You can also set up a subdomain for that (“cz.Shopify.com” for Czechia).
Do you remember when we discuss shop translations above? If you translate a Shopify store, a translation are kept in folders. The URLs look like this, “Shopify.com/br” (for Brazil).
Configure new Shopify store
Setting up a separate store means that it is independent of the original. So, you need to go through the configuration process, that is picking the design, adjusting it, integrating it with desired apps, uploading products, etc.
If you need to build an app or connect with an ERP system, PIM, CRM and the like, write to us. We have a wide experience in creating integrations and customizing Shopify to fit your business.
Before launching the store, set up your email and add SPF TXT record to your domain settings, so Shopify can send automatic messages on your behalf. Plus, install tracking codes, such as Google Analytics.
What about Shopify Plus?
A lot of our clients asked us to open shops for foreign markets based on Shopify Plus. As we mentioned in the previous article about global sales, Shopify simplifies international reach, allowing us to run multi-language, multi-currency stores, and opening up a wholesale channel, which can be a profitable extension of our international sales strategy.
Would you like to hear more about Shopify for international brands?
International sales based on Shopify and Shopify Plus is possible. It’s especially effective on Shopify Plus. If you have any questions about selling internationally via Shopify, we will gladly answer them. We helped numerous brands launch their sales abroad, so we are able to help you. Contact us whichever way you find the most suitable.