The first step to internationally expanding your Shopify store is identifying which geographic target markets are best for your business focus on. 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 for merchants to understand their 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/fx 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 currencies wherever their location is in the globe 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 fx exchange rate/currency conversion 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 for internationalisation on Shopify and a merchant looking to start 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 wherever your audience is.