Expanding Your Shopify Store into a New International Market

Posted on

Opportunity is boundless with ecommerce, but only if you’ve got the ambition and the know-how. We’re not going to be subtle on the exuberance, that’s down to you, but we’ve got all the information you need for a Shopify store to illuminate the way to global success on the global stage.

When you break down the figures of global ecommerce, breaking out of the mould of your current market becomes all the more enticing.

It’s also attainable.

International eCommerce statistics

In 2019 the total worldwide ecommerce sales amounted to $3.53 trillion US dollars, acquired by online merchants through their international community of customers. It’s both an exciting and lucrative time for eCommerce merchants. Technological advances, combined with the ever-increasing rate of global online purchases, is creating a portal for merchants to boost their reach like never before.

Not only are the number of shoppers per population at an impressive high - France has a population of 67 million, meaning 73% of the population shop online - but so are the numbers of what individuals are spending. The markets are out there, the only limitation is your company’s ambition.

We’re breaking the process down into the crucial stages of internationalisation. So welcome to phase one! (It feels very mission impossible, in every sense of the phrase, but stretching your reach to the global market is achievable as a Shopify merchant.

We’ll take you through creating a subdomain, shipping, as well as timings and marketing. In this article, we’ve included an SEO and domain strategy at the end so be sure to stick around!

At Elkfox, we help brands become global. We know the pitfalls and have the experience to guide Shopify stores toward expanding their presence across continents.

International eCommerce statistics

2022 will see eCommerce sales topping $6.54 trillion US dollars. We want to help even more of you to take flight and enjoy the benefits of multiplying your potential reach and converting more people than ever to your brand.

What are the benefits of expanding into a new international market?

Decreased risk of financial instability

Stretching to a global marketplace is often LESS risky than sticking to your home market. When financial instability affects a territory, unless a global recession, you’ll still have revenue streams that you can rely upon in other economic nations.

Encourage internal business growth

Companies that stay stagnant find it hard to stay relevant and connect with their customers. Businesses that take the ambitious leap to an overseas market foster learning and growth. Your team upskills naturally during these make-or-break advances and forces flexibility, bold decision-making, and employing new tactics.

Economies of scale

You can really start increasing your revenue as you expand out to new territories. So as you increase your customer base abroad, you can simultaneously lower your cost per unit.

Overcome season troughs

This is for online stores that are peak during particular seasons. By tackling different climates and different ends of the hemisphere to sustain sales throughout the year.

What are the risks of expanding your business internationally?

Unexpected expansion costs

Although we can show you ways to minimize expansion costs, it’s inevitable that you’ll be incurring costs. And your current business needs to be able to absorb these costs. This is why you need to map out every cost and add a buffer so you know how your finances will cope with the initial investments.

Meeting Customer expectations

Meeting customer’s timeline expectations are absolutely surmountable, but you need to know that it can be a tricky thing to achieve. Custom checkpoints, tariffs and potential shipping delays will all be new areas that you’ll have to manage. If there’s too much on your team’s plate as it is, it might mean having to employ extra staff or automate current processes to free up man-hours.

Foreign concepts

Even if there’s no language barrier, it’s wise to expect cultural differences. Countries all have different paces of life, work environments, downtime activities. You’ll realise this whenever you travel abroad. The ads often seem.. Off. And that’s because they’re not directed at you but at people who have experienced the world through a different cultural lens.

So be prepared not to “get” the culture in the same natural way that you understand your own.

You may not connect with the ads all around you. Individuals crave the familiarity of a certain style of advertising, and foreign furniture makes you feel removed from the brand ad product. That’s why localized marketing is what will work best.

eCommerce native language sales

Language preferences

75% of consumers want to purchase in their own language, the highest numbers of which came from France, Turkey and Germany. People like familiarity and supporting local. English may be the business language of the world, but it can be hard for consumers to connect with your content. This fosters ambivalence towards your business and makes it harder for them to access the content on your site.

Determining when you should enter a new eCommerce market

You’re already in a good position by partnering with Shopify as your platform is already configured for international reach. This means that you don’t have to worry about language output or currency display, Shopify is easily adaptable to accommodate these features.

However, there are still going to be hurdles and part of knowing when a good time to expand is to be actively finding solutions for these roadblocks. This includes shipping logistics and even translation services.

An international SEO strategy takes a lot of consistent effort to get off the ground.

We’ll get into more detail in the third article of this series, but for now, start by analyzing your current organic reach. Although you may base your efforts in just a few territories, you might just have some markets that are doing well even without direct marketing efforts. Also, start taking note of cart abandonment rates in certain countries.

You may be driven to prove that this market likes what you have to offer, but there are tweaks that you’ll need to achieve conversions.

We know that you’re juggling this new project with current store commitments so you don’t want to travel across the internet grabbing snippets of wisdom and knowledge here and there.

Elkfox have extensive experience helping merchants achieve international growth. If you want to know more about how we can personally help you, you can contact us here.

Our blog gives advice just for Shopify stores, filled with how-to’s, top tips and techniques for everything from brand awareness all the way down the sales funnel to choosing fulfillment services. Elkfox is here every baby step of the way.

Images courtesy of Shopify