How to Run an International eCommerce Store on Shopify [2024]
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How to Run an International eCommerce Store on Shopify

Last modified: March 22, 2024

How to Run an International eCommerce Store on Shopify
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If you’re thinking of running your eCommerce business internationally on Shopify, you might want to think about how you can do this effectively. After all, there are lots of options for you that can help you overcome hurdles like language, currency, and laws. So here are some of the options that are available to you and what they can do for you.

Key Takeaways
Understanding international audiences and effective shipping strategies are crucial for global expansion.
Shopify’s multi-currency and multi-language features are key to enhancing global customer experience.
Localizing content and implementing international SEO strategies are crucial for Shopify’s global reach.
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Option One: One Site

The first option is to have one site that offers your customers one place to make the orders and you can process. The advantage of having your own site is that it is easier to manage and less costly than having to host several other websites. You will need to buy lots of apps to make your website more international, but this can be a smaller cost than having to have five or six different websites.

The problem is that you can’t tailor your promotions for specific regions easily. For instance, you can’t offer an Independence Day promotion for your US customers because this isn’t celebrated in the EU, UK, or Australia or not at the same time. And you could have issues with other holidays and bank holidays.

Also, search terms can be different for certain regions. For instance, pants in the US means something different in the UK. Therefore, you can suffer from lost revenues and sales because customers are looking for the wrong product.

Option Two: Subdomains

Subdomains are when one domain is split into different mini-websites, where they’re a complete website with a small access area to the front of the website. For instance: or Each subdomain acts like its own website, and the main domain can be a landing page where you can direct customers to the right store.

Remember that you can also use Geolocation apps, like this one here, to help you redirect customers to the right subdomain.

This is a simple and effective method and has lower costs for your brand. However, you will have to be known by the brand name in every territory, and this can cause some confusion. Some brands specifically change their name in certain territories to avoid confusion with brands already trading there, or to avoid language confusion.

However, with subdomains, you can have region-specific promotions and market each website to specific audiences that can be much more effective.

Option Three: Different Websites

Another option is to have new domains for each area you want to sell in. This can be very effective if there are concerns over your brand name in certain territories. Similar to what has been mentioned before, pants and trousers mean the same thing in different countries. There are also words and products that can become confused. If you exclusively sell these, you should look at different domain names for these elements in different countries.

In addition, certain words might be offensive in some languages. For example, in German, ‘gift’ means poison, so few people in German-speaking areas will be looking that up.

One problem with lots of different websites is that it can be harder for you to manage. You might need to outsource some work to freelancers or build a team to help you.

Keep Reading

Expanding Your Shopify Store Internationally

Understanding International Markets and Price Adjustments

To successfully run an international eCommerce store on Shopify, it’s crucial to identify and understand your target international markets. Researching local consumer behavior, preferences, and purchasing habits is key. This helps in tailoring your marketing and product offerings to meet the specific needs of each market.

When it comes to pricing, it’s important to raise prices without annoying customers. This can be achieved by implementing strategic pricing adjustments based on market research. For instance, if research shows that a certain market is willing to pay a premium for your products, you can adjust your prices accordingly.

Shopify’s advanced customization tools allow you to adjust prices for specific markets, or even for specific products within those markets. This way, you can ensure that your pricing strategy is aligned with local consumer expectations and willingness to pay, helping to prevent customer annoyance and dissatisfaction.

Setting Up Multi-Currency and Multi-Language Options

Offering multi-currency and multi-language options is essential for an international store. Shopify’s multi-currency feature allows customers to view prices and make transactions in their local currency, enhancing their shopping experience.

Additionally, integrating multi-language support ensures that your store is accessible and user-friendly to customers from different linguistic backgrounds.

International Shipping and Fulfillment

Establishing efficient international shipping and fulfillment strategies is vital for any eCommerce business, and this is especially true if you’re setting up a recurring order business. This includes choosing the right shipping partners, setting realistic delivery times, and being transparent about shipping costs.

For a recurring order business, it’s important to ensure that the shipping process is seamless and reliable. This means working with shipping partners who can handle regular, scheduled deliveries, and who can provide tracking information to customers.

It’s also important to understand and comply with the tax and customs regulations of the countries you are shipping to.

Running Your Shopify Store for International Reach

Localizing Your Website

Localizing your website involves more than just translation. It includes adapting your content, design, and marketing strategies to resonate with the local audience.

This might involve highlighting specific products more relevant to certain regions, or adjusting your website’s design to align with local aesthetics and cultural norms.

International SEO Strategies

Implementing international SEO strategies is crucial for reaching a global audience.

This involves optimizing your website for different languages and regions, using ‘hreflang’ (Hypertext Reference Language) tags for language targeting, and ensuring your website structure is conducive to international search engines.

Marketing and Customer Engagement

Develop region-specific marketing campaigns that cater to the cultural nuances and preferences of each target market.

Engage with your international customers through localized social media strategies, email marketing, and culturally relevant promotions.

Conclusion: How to Run an International eCommerce Store on Shopify

It can be hard to run an international eCommerce store, but on Shopify, it is really easy. You just need to know how you’re going to do it. There are three main routes to go down, listed above. Choose which option is best for you.

  • How do I handle different tax regulations for international sales on Shopify?

    Each country has unique tax regulations, so it’s important to research and comply with local tax laws. Shopify allows you to set up different tax rates for different regions, ensuring accurate tax collection for international sales.

  • How do I handle returns and exchanges for international orders on Shopify?

    Create a clear and concise return policy for international orders, considering factors like shipping costs and local regulations. Offer options like store credit or exchanges to accommodate the logistical challenges of international returns.

  • Can I offer customer support in multiple languages on my Shopify store?

    Yes, offering multilingual customer support is possible. Utilize translation services or hire support staff fluent in the languages of your target markets to provide effective customer assistance.

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