You don't have to be the next Jeff Bezos to dream of creating a business with a global reach. And in today's connected world, selling beyond your local market has become a reality for many companies instead of wishful thinking.
But is your business ready to sell overseas? You might love the idea, but you may feel equally daunted at the prospect of converting your successful eCommerce website to meet the demands of a global audience.
Fortunately, there is now help at hand with a new launch. That launch is a brand new feature from the leading eCommerce platform, Shopify.
Here, we'll introduce Shopify Markets to you, the features, and how this launch can support small businesses wanting to reach markets worldwide.
What Is Shopify Markets?
On Tuesday 14th September 2021, Shopify issued a new press release around the globe. The reason? They announced the launch of their brand new platform: Shopify Markets.
Shopify is a household name, and you might already understand their business model, primarily if you already use the Shopify platform.
Shopify is a market leader in eCommerce websites, allowing entrepreneurs to set up a new eCommerce store in seconds and launch it to the world.
Of course, launching something to an entire world has a few particular challenges, which is why most Shopify businesses currently only sell to their local market.
Shopify Markets intends to address that challenge by creating a new feature for the platform. That feature will make it easy for businesses to sell in multiple countries and multiple currencies.
A Sneak Peek Into Shopify Markets
Shopify Markets works with existing Shopify eCommerce websites. However, as it is a new feature, it is only available at the moment by invitation, so you will need to apply for early access.
Here are the key features you need to know about:
One of the most significant benefits of using Shopify Markets is that it automatically provides your business with a currency converter on your eCommerce products.
With that, you can publish and sell Worldwide without cumbersome manual currency calculations each time there is a fluctuation in the currency exchange market.
Do language translation costs put you off selling to other markets? Shopify Markets addresses this challenge for small businesses by offering an in-built language translator for all your store content.
If you want to sell successfully in a foreign market, it's helpful to publish your website using an international domain.
For example, by purchasing a website address ending with ".UK", you can help your business sell to a UK customer base.
In Shopify Markets, you can publish your website across multiple international domains, providing you own this website domain, of course.
Calculate Import Duties
If you've sold overseas before, you'll know that one of the first hurdles you face is import duties. That can be a complex minefield, with different rules and regulations across countries and continents.
Shopify Markets addresses this challenge with a built-in import calculator at the checkout stage to ensure your products meet local tax and fee rules. Customers have complete visibility on how much their purchase will cost.
Local Payment Integrations
Paypal might be a famous Worldwide brand name, but some customers still prefer to use a local payment system that they know and trust. Shopify Market has provided integration with local payment methods.
Is Shopify Markets Right for Your Business?
Now that we've outlined the features of Shopify Markets, it's time to examine whether this is a good option for your business. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
Shopify Markets gives you access to customers Worldwide. If your local customer base is small, going international provides you with instant access to new wealthy customers.
If you operate from a small country, your local market is always going to be limited. Global commerce gives you the opportunity for potentially unlimited business growth.
Shopify is an easy platform to use, and Shopify Markets is no different. Challenges like currency and language can be overcome at a click of a button without coding or employing freelancers.
If you already pay for a Shopify plan, the core features of Shopify Markets are available at no additional cost. That means you can expand your revenue in new markets without a big technology overhead.
You don't need Shopify Markets to sell overseas. Still, the features offered by the platform give you a website that is automatically optimized for a local market, potentially improving your conversion rate in these countries.
Before you sign up for Shopify Markets, it's essential to realize that it isn't suitable for everyone. Here are some of the main drawbacks.
Shopify Markets might be easy to use, but that doesn't mean it is without work. Any time you consider selling to a new location, you'll have work to do to get your business selling in that country.
Shipping complications are one such area that might need effort on your part. Some countries might be more difficult than others. Large goods might need different (more secure) packaging to survive a long journey.
There are shipping costs to consider too. If you sell products in the lower price bracket, you may not be a good option for customers once they add the shipping price.
Before you sell overseas, you'll need to look at local rules and regulations. Take children's products, for example. Safety requirements often differ globally, and you'll need to make sure your product meets local safety standards.
Finally, remember that though Shopify Markets is part of a standard Shopify plan, you still pay Shopify fees on any transactions.
Make sure you include these fee estimates when looking at the cost-benefit analysis for selling in a new location.
What Is Right for You?
When it comes to your business, there is no easy answer about whether you should use Shopify Markets or not. It largely depends on how much of a priority it is for you to expand internationally.
Start with a business case for selling abroad before you leap.
Calculate the likely revenue and profits from each local market. Use this as your starting point to determine whether it is worth the time, effort, and money to expand to that country.
Are There Alternatives?
The most prominent existing platform for selling across multiple countries is Amazon. Amazon already has a sophisticated setup to allow sellers to calculate pricing, tax, and currency globally.
However, Amazon won't be suitable for everyone. If you don't currently sell on Amazon, their marketplace isn't always the right move for strategically. That is often the case when you already have a strong brand and unique website.
How to Get Started
Setting up Shopify Markets is easy if you already use a Shopify store for your eCommerce website. You simply apply for early access and monitor your emails for an invite from the Shopify team.
When you have access, it's time to get in touch with our team here at MCB. We'll help you update your Shopify store for each location for which you plan on operating.
Top Tips for Succeeding With Shopify Markets
The main reason for selling to new countries is to expand your market. But to get the most out of this strategy, there are a few ways you can maximize your sales.
First, consider a rebranding exercise that is more attractive to a global market. That might mean a new logo and name that is more appealing, or it might mean taking advantage of your home location in your brand message.
Suppose you are an Italian furniture maker. In that case, redesigning your website around your Italian heritage will attract customers looking for the sort of quality and style synonymous with Italian craftsmanship.
Second, think about employing a local champion to help sell your brand in new markets.
You can fast-track your learning by using someone who understands a local market, customs, practices, and customers' needs. It will help you avoid making the common faux pas that occasionally comes with selling overseas.
Third, consider using a reputable Shopify expert to help you make the switch to selling overseas.
MCB is one of the only certified Shopify experts in the Nordic region. Our specialist support can help you get your business on a global stage.
Finally, don't rush your expansion. Instead of launching to multiple markets at once, choose one Shopify market to begin with and use that to smooth out teething problems.
Ideally, opt for a market similar to your existing one, as this will make the transition to selling overseas a little bit easier.
Once you have experience, you can take on the challenge of selling to other markets worldwide.
Is Your Business Ready to Take the Leap?
If the thought of selling to a global audience excites you, the launch of Shopify Markets has provided you with the perfect opportunity to get started.
Take the first step today by contacting our team at MCB today to begin a conversation with us. We'll ask you about your business and provide our expert advice on how you can take your business global in 2021.