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How to sell internationally on Shopify and Shopify Plus.

As the rate of businesses selling internationally on Shopify increases more and more with each passing year, it makes sense for businesses to adapt by expanding their Shopify store globally. By targeting a worldwide market, merchants have access to a much larger customer base resulting in more potential transactions and sales revenue generation. In fact, recent research shows that 35% of all Shopify traffic comes from international visitors highlighting how important it is to tap into the global ecommerce space. What’s more, is that 92% of those visitors want to browse and buy in their local currency, with 33% of Shopify shoppers likely to abandon their purchase if pricing is stated in US dollars only.

While a dynamic product offering which caters to a seemingly infinite range of customer needs may seem impossible, Shopify offers tools which makes selling internationally online much easier than you think. This is our ultimate on how to sell internationally with Shopify and Shopify Plus.
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Identifying international markets to sell to on Shopify

The first step to internationally expanding your Shopify store is identifying which geographic markets are best for your business to target. On the face of it, a ‘one size fits all’ strategy might seem like a productive idea to reach as many customers as possible, however different countries and markets around the world have their own unique browsing and buying habits. A good place to start would be looking at analytical data within your Shopify store. By looking at the sessions by location report, you can examine whether you have international visitors from other countries already, and if so, funnel these countries down to a select few to investigate further. In the event that your online store doesn’t have any international traffic, you should still have a go at identifying a select few markets which you predict will have potential demand for your products or services. Our recommendation for selling internationally on Shopify would be going for markets which are geographically close to you, or countries which speak the same native language / have cultural similarities. We strongly believe it’s vital to understand your customers when selling online.

Setting up multi-currency and international Payments with Shopify

Please note there are two key ways to achieve selling globally on Shopify; firstly using one single store and offering multi-currency, languages, shipping and duties settings or alternatively having a separate Shopify store for each market and using geolocation technology to divert customers to the correct associated store. The latter is mainly associated with Shopify Plus which you can find more information about later in this article.

Once you’ve decided which international markets you wish to sell online to, it’s advisable that you set up your store to allow customers to pay for your products in their own local currency. Historically you could show the price at the exchange rate however the checkout reverts back to the original store currency. With Shopify Payments you can offer true multi-currency on Shopify and Shopify Plus. Learn more about multi-currency and Shopify payment. Selling in a local currency can reduce cart abandonment rate by 33% as data suggests a large portion of international customers refuse to make a purchase decision based on the currency offered. Once you’ve changed your Shopify Payment settings to accommodate for new geographical regions, buyers from these regions will be able to view prices in their local currency which is automatically calculated using the base rate of your products, and real-time foreign exchange market rates. Shopify’s Geolocation app is an effective way for international customers to identify and display their local currency wherever they are in the world using intelligent IP address tracking. You may require some development support with integrating the way currency selectors are used. Shopify Payments allows you to change the price of your products per currency to avoid the annoying exchange rate giving your customers very strange prices. The ability to have unique prices when selling internationally with Shopify is a great way to consider and account for additional costs within each region. We wrote a guide all about Shopify’s international pricing here.

International taxes and duties

A complication with selling internationally is the various tax laws that are specific to different countries and markets. European markets typically display product prices including any related taxes, whereas markets in North America typically display products exclusive of taxes and instead add them up later in the checkout based upon where in the world the buyer is shipping their order to. Tax being calculated incorrectly can result in delayed shipping time, fines and reduced profit margins, making it paramount to get taxes correct when selling internationally.

Thankfully, Shopify takes the international variables into account by including or excluding necessary taxes in product pricing automatically depending where the customer is in the world, making the process easy for merchants. If you want to be extra cautious, a fully integrated tax compliance solution such as Avalara Avatax can be set up and implemented to protect your business and ensure all tax rules are adhered to.

Shipping internationally with Shopify

Shipping zones are required in Shopify to send products worldwide. Create shipping zones specific for your new target markets in the Shipping settings within the Shopify platform, with considerations to the shipping strategy you will use when creating international shipping rates. Merchants should factor in the size and weight of their products as this can affect shipping prices greatly depending on the destination; packaging might have to be altered so it is suitable to travel longer distances and so size and weight might differ from domestic parcels. It is also important to do research into the international markets that you are shipping to in case there are any rules or requirements specific to that region, or if your products fall under any problematic categories such as “dangerous goods”.

After all these variables have been factored in, it is recommended to choose an international shipping and fulfilment app within the Shopify platform such as ShipStation(, ensuring that the app that you choose has adequate coverage for the regions that you plan on shipping to. Returns are usually built into Shopify shipping apps, but if not, it is recommended to use a specialised app such as Clicksit for easy returns labels and automation.

International domains

International domains can be set for different countries to create a more localised experience for the user. These international domains can improve customer confidence that they are browsing a local version of your website. As a result, customers are more likely to pay in their own local currency as domains set pricing and language defaults specifically for each market that is being targeted. For example, when a European user browses your website which has a domain targeting Germany, prices will automatically be displayed in EUR. What’s more, SEO is automatically done by the Shopify platform with hreflang tags on each domain to let search engines know which international domain relates to which area of the world, meaning that the correct domain, pricing and language is displayed in the user’s online search results.

Translating languages

Research shows that nearly 80% of international buyers ‘strongly prefer’ to browse ecommerce stores in their native language, meaning that stores which are properly translated is a likely strategy to improve sales from international customers. With the Shopify platform, multiple languages can be dynamically set for an individual store so that customers from all over the world can be catered for without the need for creating a separate store for each region. Apps are readily available to help translate your store and its content.

Global marketing strategy for internationalisation

Now you’ve got your international store setup and ready for the world to see, congratulations! Tapping these worldwide markets should prove to be a worthwhile investment. To help speed up the growth process, it is recommended to implement a marketing campaign to help bring in international traffic to increase the demand of your products. Advertising using region-specific campaigns is a great method to target specific markets and send them to the correct localised version of your globalised website.

Shopify Markets

Shopify Markets is a brand new feature set that is currently in beta released by Shopify this year (September 2021). Although the exact functionality isn’t clear yet, we can expect improved duties management, language and currency control from one single store. You can learn more about Shopify markets here.

Selling Internationally with Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is built for enterprise-level scalability including tools to maximise efficiencies when selling globally on the platform. Firstly, of course you have all of the amazing features that standard Shopify has to offer in regards to selling globally such as currency, language, pricing and shipping settings. However, Shopify plus offers upto 9 expansion stores meaning you can create duplicate carbon copies of your store with relative ease - usually used for each market of an international selling strategy. Although this approach does naturally create some extra work, planning and consideration, it is the ultimate way to have complete granular control of each region you wish to sell to.

Multi-store approach to selling internationally with Shopify

Selling internationally with Shopify can involve one single store or alternatively you can have a dedicated Shopify store for each region you wish to sell to globally. There are a number of considerations to consider with the multi-store approach when selling internationally with Shopify.

Firstly, the main benefit of an individual Shopify store per country or region is that you have complete control over every single element when setting up that store. Unique products are a given as you can offer entirely unique ranges with ease when you separate your international selling strategy. Another key benefit is the ability to have complete linear control over the content and copy of each store - you can run entirely unique campaigns, imagery and style based on the market you are selling internationally to. Many merchants like to change the tone of voice to target a particular international market. Unique products and content from one store is technically possible however it can become confusing to manage when all mixed within one Shopify account. It is important to note that you can run multiple non-Plus stores and use geolocation technology to redirec them between based on the users location however Shopify includes upto 9 additional stores are no extra charge.

Challenges to multi-store approach selling

Some of the challenges around multi-store approaches include inventory management, increased marketing and site update workload and finally logistics consideration. Firstly you are likely to require a third party inventory management tool to keep track of your inventory and stock levels when managing multiple channels. Secondly, your internal team will have to update multiple stores instead of one which can prove timely - remember each product might need to be updated multiple times across all your stores or alternatively you can consider a product information management system (PIM) to update product information and sync all your stores such as Akeneo.
Finally, you need to consider the edge-case scenarios of selling internationally on Shopify using the multi-store approach - consider what happens if customers want to purchase for a customer in another region they are in, will you allow them to change their currency or store.

When considering the multi-store approach you may wish to consider Shopify Plus as the overall monthly cost could be lower than pay singularly for multiple single stores with Shopify - especially when investing in Shopify Advanced as this is around $299 per month.

Why choose Shopify Plus for international selling?

Shopify Plus is not only incredibly powerful to manage high demand and large spikes in traffic, but it also is equiped with some great features that we see hugely beneficial to ecommerce and marketing teams as they scale globally. Shopify Flow allows merchants to automate key tasks such as flagged VIP or managing inventory - great for when you are managing mulitple stores. Shoify Launchpad also allows you to schedule changes to your store meaning you can launch new themes at times relevant to particular market's timezone. We cannot forget the power of checkout scrips that allow you to offer the most advanced in-cart discounts too. Learn more about the benefits of Shopify Plus.


Generally speaking, selling internationally with Shopify can be simple, however there are a number of areas that you need to carefully consider to ensure a streamlined ecommerce experience for your customers is delivered. We’ve helped many merchants such as Club L London launch a geolocation driven multi-store approach. Get in touch today if you’d like to discuss how we can help you launch your international selling strategy with Shopify and Shopify Plus.
Learn more about international pricing on Shopify
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