Going global with Shopify Markets: What you need to know

By Simon Brosolo - September 22, 2021

Shopify has announced they will soon launch Shopify Markets, a solution for retailers to easily sell to anyone in the world from a single store. With international consumers already accounting for 27% of all traffic to Shopify stores, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to establish a centralised, streamlined, and customer-friendly international eCommerce platform.

This is great news. Expanding into an international market has always been an expensive, time-consuming and daunting prospect for retailers, with complexities like currency exchange, language localisation, local payment methods and duty and import taxes all acting as barriers to global growth. Shopify Markets is set to make global expansion so much easier. 

What is Shopify Markets? 

Shopify Markets is a centralised hub that gives merchants all the tools they need to effectively operate global trade through their eCommerce store. The rollout will make it easier for businesses to reach more markets and customers, no matter where they’re located.

"We believe the future of retail is ‘retail everywhere’. And with Shopify Markets, we're making it even easier for merchants—no matter size or budget—to turn their global aspirations into a reality."

- Harley Finkelstein, President, Shopify.

The tools that make global expansion possible

Through a suite of tools, Shopify Markets promises to give retailers everything they need to sell worldwide.

Language 

Shopify Markets will accurately translate your store content to the local language to enhance the customer experience. The software currently supports 20 of the most widely spoken languages worldwide, removing the need to manually translate your content from one language to another. 

Currency 

Shopify Markets will automatically convert your storefront prices into 133 different currencies using the current exchange rate, eliminating any customer dissonance that may arise during the transaction. 

Domain

Shopify Markets will give retailers the ability to target specific markets using their primary domain through the use of region-specific subfolders, meaning your business’s website will show up to international customers in the right language and currency.

This is huge news, especially when it comes to your international SEO strategy. Before now, retailers wanting to sell in a different country or region have had to create and maintain a new expansion store, as well as a unique domain or subdomain for every location they want to localise their store for. This requires a lot of duplication and overhead, proving to be an expensive and time-consuming process. 

There are several benefits to using subfolders:

  • Subfolders are easy to set up
  • You can direct visitors automatically to the URL that matches their language and location preferences
  • Because you’re using your primary domain, the location-specific subfolders benefit from your existing SEO and domain authority, also meaning you don’t need to duplicate your SEO efforts for all your domains individually   

Jackson Lo, Shopify's Senior SEO Lead, had this to say about the announcement:

Import Duties

Import and export fees have also been a massive barrier for businesses and customers alike. Shopify Markets will automatically calculate any import fees at checkout to clarify the total cost for both parties. 

This not only helps your business understand how your products compare to local competition, but it also gives your customers clarity on the total cost of the product, so there are no nasty surprises down the track. 

Payment Methods

While Afterpay is big news in Australia, in the States, it’s all about Cash App. Each brand is the preferred payment option in that location, but they operate via vastly different business models. Shopify Markets will eventually make it easy to integrate local payment methods into your store, giving your customers direct and secure payment methods that they are most familiar with.

What can Shopify Markets do for your business? 

Before now, establishing an international eCommerce strategy has meant bearing the overheads that come with operating multiple stores. What’s implemented in one store, must be implemented in all stores. 

Shopify Markets give retailers a centralised management platform to launch, optimise and manage international markets, all from a single store.   

Enter new markets easily

With a few clicks of a button, you can easily expand into new markets and reach more customers. Business owners can then manage these markets from a central dashboard for a unified view of their entire business operation. 

Save time with a centralised management platform 

Merchants can manage all cross-border commerce from one location through the Shopify admin, providing a localised and personalised customer experience in each market. Businesses will save a huge amount of time that would otherwise be spent on research and administration for each market. 

Create a tailored experience for each market

A Shopify survey discovered that conversion rates for storefronts with localised languages and currencies are up to 1.13 and 1.40 times higher (respectively) than those without. 

Businesses will be able to localise currencies, payment methods, prices, rounding-off rules, languages, domains, and import and export duties. Localisation will enable businesses to provide a better and more inclusive experience to their customers.

Scalable cross-border operations

Smart settings will enable brands to automatically optimise for the best outcomes without the need for a specialised global operations team. The Shopify algorithm is designed to understand what works best and automatically present the most appropriate choices to your consumers. Data collected from all international stores will assist businesses in developing a successful sales strategy within each new location.

What’s next?

From our early conversations with Shopify, the release of the early access round is likely to occur for accepted applicants in October, with the full-scale release of the product to be open for all retailers later this year, or early next. As Shopify has only just announced this news, the specific roll-out of the tools is still not yet known, but we’ll keep you updated as new information becomes available. 

In the meantime, if you’re already a Shopify customer, you can apply for early access to Shopify Markets now. If you’re looking to create a new store on Shopify, or would like advice on establishing or expanding your local or international eCommerce strategy, get in touch.

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Topics: News, Websites & eCommerce, SEO, Shopify