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Internationalisation: My Family Vets Finland

We helped launch this pet retailer into Finland with an international expansion store powered by Shopify Plus.

We had worked with My Family Vets before, and this time they came to us with the challenge of expanding their web presence into Finland. Together we decided to create a new Expansion Store for their Finnish operation, and in four weeks we delivered the client a fantastic and fully-functional new Shopify Plus store to back their international expansion.

The Client: My Family Vets

My Family Vets is a brand representing a network of veterinary practices across the UK. Inspira Digital had previously worked with them back in 2021 – when we migrated My Family Vets to Shopify Plus, and later, equipped their store with a hugely successful product subscription feature using Recharge. 

When they came back to us again with the new challenge of helping them expand their online presence into Finland, we were only too happy to help.

The Challenge: Shopify Markets or an Expansion Store?

The first big question we had to answer here was whether to use Shopify Markets – or to create an Expansion Store. 

You may remember this conversation from an article we shared last year: Internationalisation – Shopify Markets vs Expansion Stores. To recap, there are pros and cons to either approach… 

Shopify Markets is a Shopify feature that allows users to target markets in different countries. One single Shopify store can feature multiple language and currency options, and even country-specific price lists. However, working this way, Shopify Payments are only able to convert to a limited number of currencies and locations. 

Additionally, for companies doing a lot of business overseas, the currency conversion rates incurred using Shopify Markets may end up making this a less ideal choice compared to creating a whole new store specifically for that country.

Expansion Stores, meanwhile, are exactly that – a new Shopify store, built to work in one specific country. This naturally separates the systems of stock and inventory management, while settings such as location, prices and currency will be localised without conversion. 

Running an Expansion Store might mean extra work… but for a large operation that’s planning to do a lot of business in another country, perhaps even with a dedicated local team, it may in fact be more ideal to set up a new, autonomous store in that location.

So what did we decide on here? 

My Family Vets wanted to expand their ecommerce offering into Finland – and they already had a separate team running their operations there, not to mention a different product range! 

So in this case, it made sense to build a dedicated Expansion Store for their Finnish branch. The client approved of this idea, and so Inspira got to work.

The Solution: A Fully-Equipped New Expansion Store in Finland

Over the next four weeks, the Inspira team worked hard on creating a brand new Shopify Plus Expansion Store for My Family Vets in Finland.

More than just a storefront though, we equipped the new site with a whole range of useful Shopify features and apps… A comprehensive toolkit that would allow My Family Vets to hit the ground running in their new market!

Some of the features we built into the new Expansion Store included:

Multi-buy offers

We implemented a handy system of stacking multi-buy offers, using Shopify Scripts. This would make it easy for My Family Vets to run special deals, and boost that average cart value in the process!

Tiered pricing

We created a special system for tiered pricing (on a per product basis). Using this discounting tool, My Family Vets would be able to create separate pricing rules, for example, allowing them to offer a members-only discount.

Staff discounts

In a similar vein, we implemented an automated staff validation system – allowing the employees of My Family Vets to enjoy access to a special pricing tier.

Email marketing

Running smart email marketing campaigns is going to be a breeze for the My Family Vets Finland team! As we equipped them with Campaign Monitor software, allowing for integrated email marketing and time-saving workflows.

Data security

We never overlook the issue of security. We ensured that My Family Vets won’t need to think about it though, as we built a powerful product data security system into the new site, complete with a backup-restoring feature.

GDPR compliance

Finally, GDPR compliance was all taken care of too – using an integration of OneTrust’s Cookie Pro. 

The Result: Hello, Finland!

The end result of this project was a fantastic success. Inspira Digital completed the new Expansion Store to specification, and on deadline – allowing My Family Vets to launch their online presence in Finland right on schedule!

The new Expansion Store looked great, perfectly in line with the client’s branding and visual aesthetic. It functioned beautifully too, giving the Finland team precise control over every aspect of their online business. 

Anyway, what about your business? Are you facing similar questions to My Family Vets… not sure how to handle the online component of your international expansion, perhaps?

If you’re looking for advice on reaching new markets, give us a call. 

Our Shopify experts will be glad to consult, and advise you on the best next steps for your international expansion.

Written by
Mike Fryers
May 30, 2024

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Thanks for reading, we’re Inspira Digital.

We launched the 123rd store on Shopify, today we are one of the most experienced Shopify Experts in the world, delivering industry-leading Shopify services for fast-growing ambitious brands. We have helped build 100s of successful stores and have delivered 1000s of individual projects for Shopify and Shopify Plus clients globally.

Clients that work with us know we work passionately, to make sense of your commerce business, so if you want to talk to a team of experts about how best to take advantage of the Shopify platform, then let's talk.

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