Selling Internationally on Shopify: Planning Ahead
Expanding your ecommerce business globally on Shopify can be a great way to increase your sales and customer base, and it should be approached with care and planning.
One of the most important factors to consider when planning your international rollout is ensuring your website is optimized for international customers. From app compatibility to checkout variances, there are many aspects to consider to provide a seamless shopping experience. In this article, we will highlight 10 key things to consider when planning your international rollout to help you successfully execute your global store expansion, based on our recent internationalization for Carbon38 and DOEN.
1. App Compatibility
Ensure that your current Shopify apps are compatible with your selected internationalization platform. Some examples of potential incompatible apps to pay close attention to include apps that show pricing (custom search or collection apps) or apps that only store dollar values in USD (gift cards or loyalty point values).
For gift card apps that are only able to store values in USD, many merchants decide to hide gift cards from international visitors. Sellry has a number of solutions to solve for this issue to ensure that USD-only gift cards are not visible on collection pages or search for international visitors. One possible solution to discuss is whether or not you want to automatically remove the gift card from the customer’s cart if they add a USD gift card, then change to an international country.
2. Currency Displays
Consider any areas of your ecommerce store that show the price (Homepage, PLP, PDP, etc) and start thinking about how you want your pricing to show up in different currencies. For example, USD and CAD are both $12.34 format, but will be different amounts depending on the current exchange rate. Consider adding the 3 letter currency code in addition to the currency symbol, ‘$12.34 CAD’.
3. Price Related Rules
Consider any price-related messaging that may appear on your site. For example, “Shipping and taxes calculated at checkout”. This may be untrue for certain countries. For example, Canada typically includes taxes, but excludes duties from the price. For many EU countries, both duties and taxes will be included in the price listed on the site. The messaging should inform different users from different locations about what is included/excluded from the displayed price.
4. Shopify Sandbox Capabilities
Ensure that you or your development team has the ability to create and manage a Shopify sandbox store. You’ll want to test your theme’s compatibility with the various changes required by your solutions provider to enable international selling on your store.
5. CSS Skills
Your developer will be able to show/hide different elements of your site based on certain CSS classes. While this is not a heavy lift, the team does need to know what the effects will be when adding the CSS classes, in order to avoid breaking elements of the site.
6. Country Selector Placement
You will need to add a ‘Country Selector’ to your website. Common locations for this are in the navigation and footer, but a skilled UX expert can help you make the best decision for your brand. Many Shopify merchants also choose to create an auto-detection pop-up for users when they first visit the site, which can then store that information for future visits and reduce friction in the shopping experience for your customers.
Your website URL pathing will need to change. Many links will link back to the domestic site, unless properly updated. Sellry recommends a gTLD With Country-Specific Subdirectories, for example:
Old link: shop.com/collections/all
New link: shop.com/en-ca/collections/all
From a technical perspective, it is easy to set up. Ensure your development team updates links to include proper routing. Set dynamic links on the site by selecting pages from Shopify’s link selection tool, and avoid hard-coded links that may lead users back to the original domestic store.
8. Email Templates
Customer emails – your email templates (in Shopify, Klaviyo, warehouse, customer care team) will need to be updated to show duties and taxes, as well as accurately reflect the customer’s currency for order confirmations.
9. Where You Ship
Make note of unsupported countries. Youwill need to set which markets you’d like to make available for your ecommerce channel, and which countries you’ll need to exclude. Countries may be excluded for any number of reasons. For example, some shipping carriers will not ship to countries deemed unsafe due to war or the political climate.
10. Checkout Variances
Your checkout will change slightly for international customers. Certain solutions will control aspects of the checkout for international customers and process payments through their own payment gateway. One of the main changes for your international customers may be the new requirement to enter their phone number while checking out.
Planning your international rollout requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure your ecommerce store can cater to a global audience. By paying attention to the details and planning each step of the project, you can ensure a smooth transition to international selling, expand your business globally and connect with new customers around the world.