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How to Run an International eCommerce Store on Shopify

How to Run an International eCommerce Store on Shopify

Last modified: October 30, 2021

FAQ
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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.

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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 problems 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: subdomain.domain.com or country.example.com. 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 other 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.

Final Word: 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.

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