4 essential steps to going global with Shopify Plus
Written by Erin Hynes, diff Marketing Coordinator
Today, ecommerce has gone global. Asia and Europe are fast-growing ecommerce markets, with Australia, Africa, and South America close behind. The global demand for ecommerce presents an opportunity for merchants to tap into markets in regions across the world.
The thought of scaling your ecommerce store to foreign markets might be overwhelming, but given the selling potential, it can be highly rewarding. Read on to learn our 4 essential steps to going global with Shopify:
1. Do your research before scaling your ecommerce store to global markets
Advance research can give you insight into which international regions are most interested in what you are selling, what operational hurdles you might encounter, and what licenses you might require. Google Analytics is a great place to start you research. This analytics tool is easy to set up, and free!
Using Google Analytics you’ll be able to see data reports that show where your site traffic is coming from, globally. This is your first clue about what international regions might be worth targeting. For example, if you notice that your site is receiving the most international traffic from Australia, then it makes sense to leverage that traffic by creating a localized store and checkout to serve Australians. This way, you can boost that traffic into conversions.
Another data point worth analyzing is bounce rates at the checkout and returns page. This information will tell you what is deterring purchases in international regions. To continue with the Australia example - if you notice that Australian users exit your site from the returns page, then you might consider creating a returns policy that is catered to Australians. If you notice that Australians are exiting from the payment page, then the payment methods that are available to them might be inconvenient, and you’ll want to look into what payment methods Australians prefer.
2. Consider laws and licenses before scaling your store
Global expansion will come with unfamiliar legal requirements, regulations, and tax structures. Failure to comply with local laws can result in financial penalties, so it is important to cover all of your bases in making sure you’re following local rules.
Luckily, most official government websites reliably describe regulations around international ecommerce. Government sites will explain what licenses you require, and how your store should handle local tax structure. Most countries have unique laws and requirements. For example, if your sales in Australia exceed 75,000.00 AUD per year, you will need to be registered for Australia’s goods and services tax (GST).
3. Focus on localizing when selling internationally on Shopify
Once your research into the international market and legalities are out of the way, it’s time to think about how you will localize your store. Localizing your store is all about making the shopping experience for consumers in other regions of the world feel “local.” This is key to maximizing your sales abroad. There are three details that are crucial to localizing your store:
- Use the local language. Up to 75% of shoppers won’t consider buying from a site that isn’t in their language. Therefore, making sure your store is translated into the language of your target market should be a priority.
- Simplify payments. You’ll want to consider accepting multiple currencies for payment, and various methods of payment. Credit cards aren’t used all over the world, so it's important to identify how consumers in your target international market prefer to make their purchases.
- Pay attention to detail. Elements of your store like receipts, return policies, and sizing should adhere to local standards. For example, sizing charts for apparel vary across the globe. If consumers don’t understand the sizing of your products, they’ll be less likely to convert.
4. Use Shopify Plus tools to help scale your store
There is a lot to think about when preparing to sell internationally on Shopify. Luckily, Shopify Plus merchants have exclusive access to two tools that make the process of expanding much simpler.
This feature gives store owners the option of displaying prices in nine different currencies (CAD, USD, AUD, EUR, HKD, JPY, NZD, GBP, SGD). It will automatically display the appropriate currency based on the customer’s location, and has the option for a default currency should your customers be located outside of the areas of the nine offered currencies. This is a fantastic option when growing globally because multi-currency is easy to implement and manage.
This method requires more set-up on Shopify Plus, but has valuable customizable features. With multi-store you can cater promotions, content, and products to specific regions, allowing you to create a localized shopping experience.
Multi-store comes with other advantages too. Use of native language means your store will have improved SEO ranking, and each store can be designed to reflect the local culture. Using multi-store to sell internationally on Shopify Plus can improve sales by creating individualized shopping experiences, but does require time and resources.
It’s time to go global!
Going global has the potential to expand your business’s reach to broader markets, and increase your sales. To set yourself up for success, follow these four initial steps: do your research, consider laws and licenses, focus on localizing, and take advantage of the tools provided by Shopify Plus. And remember to focus on localization from start to finish.
By providing for your customers a shopping experience that is in their language and currency, you create a path to purchase that is familiar, and familiarity is valuable. It builds trust and increases loyalty with your customers, which will ultimately improve your sales. If you don’t know where to start, consider hiring a Shopify Plus Partner agency (like diff!) to help drive your retail business forward.