Huge cross-border opportunities.
So let’s get the big figures out of the way. This year the cross border online commerce market is expected to reach around $4.1 trillion, growing to nearly $5 trillion next year.
Importantly, the majority of that growth is expected to take place outside traditional western marketplaces.
Whilst these huge unfathomable figures can seem daunting, it’s clear to see the opportunities for growth overseas are massive. Going international can be difficult, fraught with questions and pitfalls and requires laser focussed planning and execution. So how do you capitalise on this potential for your brand?
When to go cross-border on Shopify?
In truth, the answer to this depends on your current situation. For example, if you are migrating an existing international business to the platform, then there is nothing stopping you going international right out of the gates with Shopify and the right team behind you.
However, for the majority of store owners especially those who have built their business and brand on Shopify, going cross border usually comes a little later in the growth process.
By far the most practical and successful strategy we’ve seen working with vendors is to get the operational and business foundations into place first. Then scale from a position of strength. Taking an iterative and strategic approach not only provides focus but also stacks the odds in your favour for overcoming the inevitable challenges.
Despite the tempting opportunities, investing significantly upfront before validating that your brand's products or services resonate with target consumers overseas can be a harsh and very costly lesson.
Going international is much like like starting a fresh business. And while you may have an awesome set up in your current market you will almost certainly experience new challenges, especially if the region is significantly different culturally.
The bottom line is that you need to do your research. With Shopify, it's relatively easy to test and validate your overseas market to establish potential demand before you go all in.
Going cross-border on Shopify?
Whether you are just looking to dip your toes in overseas markets or expand and scale your business successfully the last thing you want to become is a technology company. This is where Shopify really excels.
From a single store setup with the multi-currency, multi-language features right through a multi-store, multi-currency setup. Shopify provides native platform solutions, proven third party integration services, forums, resources and a highly capable, experienced Shopify Partner network to back you up.
This depth of experience and resources allows you to tap into the very best solutions for your business without having to reinvent the wheel, making fail-fast startup experimentation a reality. After all, you could argue that all business are marketing business at heart. Shopify excels at providing the tools to help you focus on selling your products and services, not building the software.
As a direct result of Shopify's focus to make global commerce easier, there are already a growing number of notably famous brands developing and growing highly profitable multinational businesses on Shopify.
Thankfully if you’re running a Shopify store and looking to scale internationally you are now incredibly well supported with many having gone before you. Not only has Shopify made a huge commitment to supporting international vendors since the introduction of Shopify Plus in 2016. It has delivered a raft of highly useful features and services behind that commitment for both its core and enterprise platforms.
- Multi-Currency Checkout supporting 11 major currencies, ideal for single-store multi-currency solutions.
- Native Checkout Langauge Localisation.
- Storefront Language Localisation via the Shopify Apps Ecosystem.
- IP Detection & Currency Switching via Shopify Apps Ecosystem.
- Reach customers on any device with mobile-first Shopify themes.
- A Saas platform that handles huge volumes, preserving site speed, functionality, and performance using advanced content delivery networks
- Run up to 9 expansion stores under the same monthly hosting fee, ideal for multi-store setups.
- Fully featured rapid to deployment wholesale channel.
- Plays nicely with third parties, allowing you to manage your global operations by integrating your international warehouses and fulfilment solutions.
- Open and connectable via the robust Shopify API for ERP, 3PL, OMS, and IMS.
- Payment localisation, Shopify is partnering with local payment providers globally to over your customers the most familiar payment options for their region.
- The ability to sell in your customer’s local currency and get paid in your own currency with Shopify Payments.
- Shopify Admin is available in English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish.
In the Pipeline
See here for the full list.
- Simplifying delivery with The Shopify Fulfilment Network.
- Increased multi-language capabilities including different subdirectories in URLs (ie. shop.com and shop.com/fr) to support multiple languages.
- Point Of Sale improvements such as cart app extensions: Loyalty and promotions.
Wrapping it up
With an open, connected and global approach to commerce, it's clear Shopify will continue to help build and support a diverse range of business, especially those looking to expand their international reach.
Now second only to Amazon, Shopify offers an entirely different relationship for vendors — one that allows them to both take part in the platform, but be supported to ‘own’ their business. As a vendor, you have to ask, where else would you like to be.
The Shopify Global Commerce Playbook