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1. The potential of international selling on Shopify

How to sell internationally on Shopify [2024]

Updated Jan 15 2024

Navigating the global ecommerce waters can be challenging for many businesses, particularly those operating on Shopify. The barriers posed by the multifaceted nature of international trade—coping with diverse languages, managing international shipping, and customizing products, like wall art and t-shirts, for different markets—are often overwhelming. Consequently, many Shopify merchants, even those with high domestic success, hesitate to explore the potential goldmine in the international market.

This step-by-step guide is tailored specifically to Shopify-based businesses, addressing the pain points unique to this platform when venturing into the international market.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Shopify supports international selling with features like multi-currency, multi-language, and global shipping options. Market research and customer data analysis are crucial for identifying potential markets.

  • International selling on Shopify can expand the customer base, increase revenue, diversify markets, enhance brand reputation, and leverage Shopify's global infrastructure.

  • Configure your Shopify store for international sales, set up multiple currencies and languages, adjust shipping rules and taxes, and localize content for different markets.

  • Best practices for selling internationally include handling international payments, understanding international taxes and duties, localizing marketing strategy, providing effective customer service, and leveraging print on demand services like Gelato.

  • Gelato's global on-demand production platform simplifies international selling on Shopify, reducing shipping times and costs, with various subscription plans designed to enhance international selling capabilities.

The potential of international selling on Shopify

02_The potential of international selling on Shopify

As more consumers worldwide embrace ecommerce, expanding your Shopify store internationally can yield significant benefits. From expanding your customer base to increasing sales and revenue, here are some compelling reasons to consider selling internationally on Shopify markets.

Expanding your customer base

The most apparent advantage of selling internationally is accessing a larger pool of potential customers. By limiting your business to a domestic audience, you're capping your growth potential. International selling opens your store to millions of potential new customers, each one an opportunity to expand your brand recognition and boost sales.

Revenue growth

With a larger customer base comes increased revenue. The potential for international sales is immense, with ecommerce trends showing that consumers worldwide are increasingly turning to online shopping. By tapping into international markets, your Shopify store can take advantage of this upward trajectory and significantly increase its earnings.

Diversification of markets

Diversification is crucial to buffer against local economic slumps or seasonal downturns. By selling internationally, your business is not solely dependent on one country's economic climate or consumer trends. If sales decrease in one location, they could be booming in another.

Enhanced brand reputation

International selling can significantly boost your brand's reputation. A global presence can give your brand a more professional image, making it stand out in competitive ecommerce landscapes. As your brand gains international recognition, it creates more partnerships, collaborations, and customer loyalty opportunities.

Taking advantage of Shopify's global infrastructure

Shopify provides a robust platform that makes international selling more accessible. From automatic currency conversion to comprehensive shipping solutions, Shopify continually innovates to simplify cross-border commerce. By capitalizing on these features, businesses can seamlessly connect with customers worldwide and maximize their international selling potential.

Identifying the best international markets for your products

03_Identifying the best international markets for your products

Successfully selling your products internationally is more than making them available to a global audience. It involves careful research and strategic planning to determine which markets offer the most potential for your specific products. Here's how to start identifying your Shopify store's most promising international markets.

Analyzing current customer data

Your existing customer data can provide valuable insights into potential international markets. By analyzing the geographic distribution of your sales and website traffic, you can identify international visitors already showing interest in your products. Use Shopify’s analytics tools to gather this information, helping to narrow down promising international domains.

Market research and trends

Use resources such as Google Trends, Statista, and market research reports to understand global ecommerce trends. These platforms can reveal which countries have a high demand for your product category, rising consumer spending, and a robust ecommerce infrastructure. This research can guide you toward markets that present the best opportunities.

Consider market saturation

While large markets may seem attractive due to their size, they may also be highly competitive. Evaluate the level of market saturation for your product category in potential target markets. In some cases, smaller, less-saturated markets may offer more growth opportunities.

Assessing legal and regulatory requirements

Before choosing a market, it’s crucial to understand its legal and regulatory requirements. Different countries have different laws regarding import/export, consumer rights, and digital transactions. Ensure you're familiar with these regulations to avoid any legal hurdles.

Cultural and language considerations

Understanding the cultural context and language of your target market is essential. Consider whether your product aligns with local customs and preferences, and ensure your marketing messages resonate with local audiences. Language translation services and localizing your Shopify store can help cater to these new markets effectively.

Setting up your Shopify store for international sales

04_Setting up your Shopify store for international sales

Once you've identified your target international markets, the next step is configuring your Shopify store to cater to these new customers effectively. Here's a step-by-step guide to preparing your Shopify store for international sales.

1. Setting up multiple currencies

Shoppers prefer to view prices and make payments in their local currency. By adjusting your payment provider settings, Shopify allows you to sell in multiple currencies. Navigate to the 'Payment Providers' section in your Shopify admin, and in the 'Shopify Payments' section, click 'Manage.' Then, you can add the currencies of the countries you are targeting.

2. Offering language options

To improve the shopping experience for international customers, offering your Shopify store in multiple languages is important. You can add languages to your store by going to 'Online Store,' then 'Themes,' clicking 'Actions,' and selecting 'Edit languages.' You can choose the languages you want to offer by clicking your customers.

3. Adjusting shipping rules

Shipping internationally requires adjustments to your shipping rules. Go to your Shopify admin and click 'Settings,' then 'Shipping and delivery.' Here, you can add new shipping zones for different countries, set shipping rates, and determine shipping methods.

4. Setting up taxes

Depending on the countries you're selling to, you may need to charge taxes on your sales. Shopify can automatically handle common tax calculations. In 'Settings,' click on 'Taxes,' where you can set up tax settings for different countries.

5. Localizing content

Finally, ensure your product descriptions, marketing content, and customer service are tailored to your new markets. This might involve translation, adjusting to local terms and phrases, and considering cultural nuances. Shopify offers apps such as Langify and Weglot to help with localization.

By following these steps, you can ensure your Shopify store is well-equipped to handle international sales and provide a seamless shopping experience for customers worldwide.

Five best practices for selling internationally on Shopify

Successfully expanding your Shopify store internationally is not just about opening your doors to global customers. It involves implementing best practices to optimize your international operations. Here are five strategies you should consider.

1. Handling international payments on Shopify

Offering a range of payment options is crucial to catering to global customers. Shopify supports multiple payment gateways, including Shopify Payments, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and more. Some gateways, like Alipay and PayU, are popular in specific regions, so consider your target market's preferred payment methods. To set up these options, go to the 'Payment providers' page in your Shopify admin, select 'Choose third-party provider,' and pick your desired payment gateway.

2. Understanding and accounting for international taxes and duties

Dealing with international taxes and duties can be complex. Depending on your target countries, you might need to register for VAT, GST, or other taxes. Shopify can handle most common tax calculations automatically, but consulting with a tax professional is important to ensure compliance with all local tax laws. Some Shopify apps, like Avalara or Quaderno, can also assist with tax compliance.

3. Localizing your Shopify marketing strategy

When selling internationally, you must adapt your marketing strategy to resonate with your target markets. This could mean translating your content, adjusting for cultural references, or optimizing your site for local SEO. Shopify apps such as Langify or Weglot can assist with website translation, while SEO tools like Plug-in SEO can help optimize your site for different regions.

4. Customer service and communication for international sales

Effective customer service is key to establishing trust with international customers. Consider offering support in the local language and adjusting your customer service hours to cover different time zones. Tools like Gorgias or Zendesk can help manage customer support tickets efficiently, while apps like Tidio can offer live chat in multiple languages.

5. Leveraging print on demand for international selling

Print on demand services can simplify international selling by managing product creation and fulfillment. Services like Gelato offer global fulfillment, meaning they can print and ship products close to the customer's location. This can reduce shipping costs and times, providing a better customer experience. To leverage these services, install the provider's app on your Shopify store and configure the products you want to offer.

Start selling internationally with Gelato + Shopify

05_Start selling internationally with Gelato + Shopify

Selling internationally on Shopify doesn't have to be a complex logistical challenge. With Gelato, a global, on-demand production platform, you can easily and efficiently streamline your processes and deliver products to customers worldwide.

Gelato operates in 32 countries, reaching up to five billion potential consumers overnight. This vast network means your products can be produced close to your customers, significantly reducing shipping times and costs. Moreover, you only pay for the products your customers order, making it a cost-effective solution for expanding internationally. 

Gelato offers three pricing tiers: Free, Gelato+, and Gelato+ Gold. With Gelato+, available at $14.99/month or $139/year, you get 30% off all standard shipping, access to premium apparel and wall art mockups, advanced personalization tools, and more. Upgrading to Gelato+ Gold at $99/month or $999/year gives you even more benefits, including up to 50% off shipping for 50+ orders each month and early access to newly-launched products. These subscription plans are designed to enhance your international selling capabilities and are part of Gelato's strategic focus for 2024.

Are you ready to take your Shopify store to the next level and sell internationally? Sign up for Gelato today.

International selling FAQs

Can you sell internationally on Shopify?

You can sell internationally on Shopify. The platform has robust features that support global commerce, including multi-currency and multi-language capabilities, global payment and shipping options, and a suite of apps to help with everything from tax compliance to logistics. Shopify makes it easier to expand your store to reach customers worldwide.

How do I sell in different countries on Shopify?

Selling in different countries on Shopify involves a few crucial steps. First, you need to identify your target markets based on market research and customer data analysis. Once you've identified your markets, configure your store settings to handle multiple currencies and languages to provide a seamless shopping experience for international customers.

You'll also need to adjust your shipping rules and taxes for different countries. This can be done within Shopify's admin panel under 'Shipping and delivery' and 'Taxes.' Localize your product descriptions and marketing content to resonate with customers in your target countries. Shopify offers several apps to assist with these steps.

How do I sell things internationally?

Selling internationally involves conducting market research to identify potential markets, localizing your products and marketing efforts to align with local customs and preferences, setting up reliable international shipping methods, understanding and complying with local laws and taxes, and providing customer service that caters to international customers. Platforms like Shopify can assist in managing these complexities, making global selling more accessible.

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