The decision to start a global business is not an easy one. It involves a lot of research, yet the risk of something going wrong still remains. While it’s important to us to learn about foreign markets, export rules and regulations, logistics, the choice of an e-commerce platform is often left to the very last moment.

That said, we often forget that an e-commerce platform can stall our growth. So, it’s crucial to consider the positives and negatives of every platform, and pick one that suits us the most. In this article, we describe Shopify’s benefits and limitations when it comes to hosting a brand with an international reach. Let’s go straight to the point.

Which subscription plan is the best for global business?

Shopify is a SaaS solution (Software-as-a-Service). The monthly fee grants us access to features which depend on the subscription tier we’re on. Although Shopify doesn’t limit the number of products we can add to the shop, the features that enable global sales are reserved for two of the higher plan.

  • Basic, it doesn’t support international sellers that much
  • Shopify, you can translate the store and use Shopify Payments with currency exchange feature
  • Advanced, you can translate the store, use Shopify Payments with currency exchange feature, and open an additional one to localize the experiments for other market

Besides the three regular Shopify plans we posted above, Shopify has an enterprise version – Shopify Plus, which is dedicated to the shops with larger inventories or the ones who sell all around the world. How come?

Shopify Plus is the best for global e-commerce sites

Shopify Plus is a go-to platform for those of you who want to launch an international brand. It has a great infrastructure for global sales, such as local currency transactions, without worrying about exchange rates. It also gives you a total control over store localization, since you have up to 9 other stores to your disposal with that plan. You can adjust the buyer process to the region you target or start a wholesale business.

Read more: Shopify Plus services at WeCanFly

There are two things you need to consider when opening a global business based on Shopify Plus. You can open a centralized store or a couple of localized stores. Let’s see what the difference is between those two options.

  • centralized shop experience – your clients can switch between languages (multi-language Shopify Plus) and currencies  (multicurrency Shopify Plus) they want to shop with. There’s a plus side to a solution like that. All your work is centered around one shop experience. On the flip side, you can’t personalize your marketing and sales strategy to the region you operate in.
  • regionalization of experience – opening several regional shops makes it easier to compete with local online brands. You can integrate with local payment and shipment systems, adjust your marketing and sales strategy and optimize user journey for each of the shops.

Shopify Plus starts with 2 thousands dollars per month, so if you’re just testing your idea, consider starting with regular Shopify plans. We can show you how to do this.

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Launching global stores based on other Shopify’s plans

Selling internationally via regular Shopify plans requires managing a store per region as far as we’re concerned. With that, you can customize currency, payments, shipping, customer journey as well as marketing and sales strategies to the audience you want to serve. It allows you to personalize the offer, too.

The downside of opening up multiple online store is that the databases stay separate. The alternative to that is launching one shop that is translated with Langify (automatic language detection). Still, translations aren’t a perfect solution, since the search results work solely with the main language of our store.

Similarly, Shopify payments can help your customer see product prices in their currency if the shop is based on the Shopify and Shopify advanced plans. Nonetheless, you can struggle with price rounding, which makes returns problematic.

All in all, Shopify Plus has a better infrastructure for global stores. But if you’re just starting out, launch separate stores for two or three regions. See if a global e-commerce business is for you.

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Sell all around the globe with Shopify

Global sales needs the right set of tools that Shopify Plus might offer. You can build regional online stores that are tailored to the needs of local customers, including currency, customer journey, sales & marketing infrastructure.

But if you’re interested in targeting two or three regions, try regular shops. Either way, we can help you launch and scale your Shopify business. We worked with many Shopify global stores, and we’re here to help you grow on Shopify. See our portfolio of projects.