Once upon a time, if you wanted to create a full-featured global e-commerce website, you might need to use a large development team. But now, such an era is gone forever. With the rise of “micro” multinationals, many Shopify sellers have grown from a small regional store to a multinational company serving global customers with significant profits margin.
why Shopify sellers expand multinational business?
There are many benefits to expanding a multinational business, some reasons are obvious, and some may be unexpected.
Get more sales by expanding into new regions
Obviously, you need to expand your customer base to expand your business and increase sales. If you are only selling in one country, this will limit your ability to enter a larger market. Even if you are responsible for international shipping costs, the cost is often prohibitively high for customers in other regions.
By expanding your business to other regions, especially local freight and local currency, you will find that many consumers will automatically become your new customers.
Accept local currency payments
Although you can display various currencies in one store, you can only accept one currency payment – the default currency.
There is a problem: if Australian consumers want to shop from your US site store, they must pay in US dollars, which can result in consumers not being able to buy, which in turn affects conversion rates.
Most people are reluctant to pay in non-local currencies. Although they may make exceptions for their favorite products, most consumers will choose a store that offers local currency payments if they can choose. Paying in different currencies is very cumbersome, especially for business purchases, which are usually more expensive than local currency purchases. Therefore, providing local currency payments is very helpful for sales.
Quad Lock Case, a mobile phone accessory brand, is a good example of Shopify sellers. They expanded their operations in the United States, Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom, and developed into local businesses, resulting in a significant increase in purchases. The sales growth is almost immediate and generates thousands of new orders.
Target local customers in advertising
If you use Google Shopping or Facebook ads to target your audience to generate store traffic, building a localized ad can bring you more traffic.
For example, instead of sending a shop advertisement to a Canadian consumer that cannot be paid in local currency (and the possibility of purchase is small), it is better to bring them directly to your Canadian site.
Creating a local store can increase your return on investment with paid advertising. Ideally, sellers will get more conversions at a lower cost.
Provide local transportation and logistics services
Having a local store allows you to provide delivery services to local customers. For example, Erstwilder (accessory online retailer) created a bulletin board at the top of its website to showcase Australian logistics options for Australian consumers and other logistics options for consumers in other countries.
In order to make the transaction more convenient, the website also displays promotional ads free shipping for orders above XX USD, which not only provides customers with free shipping service, but also encourages them to purchase additional products.
Manage inventory more efficiently
If you want to offer different products to customers in different countries, you can manipulate and manage your inventory as you wish by effectively linking all individual sites together to lower down the inventory cost.
How to create Shopify stores in multiple countries?
If you follow the above plan, you will have Australian, European, British and US/Global stores like the Quad Lock Case, providing localization services for these countries. And these stores have their own inventory, currency, domain name, and back-end stores.
Of course, you can build two or ten country sites, it all depends on your business plan. So far, most successful companies have 2-6 country stores. The key is to strike a balance between managing difficulty and maximizing the number of customers.
Most likely, if you have been in business for a while and already know which country is best for expanding your business, then you can use the following information for reference:
●The source of most customers purchasing products
●Where most of the customer\’s enquiries come from (\”Your products are shipped to a certain country\”)
● The shopping cart abandons reports and Google Analytics to find out which services are under-resourced or often in a market that abandons purchases.
As long as you own a Shopify store, you have the foundation to expand your business to multiple countries. Next, you need to take the following steps.
1> Get another Shopify account
In order to make the operation reasonable, you can register your Shopify account with the target market.
If your current store URL is XXX.myshopify.com, you can register the Canadian website as XXX-ca.myshopify.com and the Australian website as XXX-au.myshopify.com.
Consumers don\’t see this, so it doesn\’t matter, but it helps keep the back-end system clean.
2> Get another domain name
There are two main options here:
● Use a separate domain name
Use a separate domain name such as XXX.com as the primary site, XXX.com.au as the Australia site, and XXX.ca as the Canadian site. This method is also feasible as long as the brand and other information are set up correctly.
Using a subdomain means XXX.com as the main site, ca.XXX.com as the Canadian site, au.XXX.com as the Australia site, etc.
This approach gives customers peace of mind because domain names are an integral part of the website brand.
3> Copy your store
There are a lot of tedious steps involved here, but you don\’t have to do all the work at once. This is a gradual process that can be repeated for multiple stores:
● Copy the theme. Click Admin and go to Themes, click on \”Export Theme\” and upload to your new site.
● Copy the product. Click Admin and go to Products, click \”Export\” and then click \”Export All\” to export all products. (assuming you want to show all existing products on the new site)
● Localize the price. If you want to copy the price of an existing store to a new site by region, if you have a lot of products, after importing them in the above steps, you can adjust the price of the new site through the administrator or CSV.
● Localize general settings. In your new site, you\’ll want to reset general settings (such as address, phone, etc.), currency, and time zone.
● Migrate all page content. There is no shortcut or export for this operation. To move the page content from the original store to the new site, you need to open both sites at the same time.
● Next, click on “Page” and slide down the list to enter HTML mode, copy and paste to the new site. (Copying in HTML mode ensures that the page looks exactly the same)
● After the migration is complete, in order to avoid being punished by Google, you must implement hreflang as outlined by Google here. Hreflang is a tag that can be added to the pages of your website (add it to the theme.liquid in the section to make sure it\’s on each page), which tells Google that your site is connected. In other words, hreflang is required to ensure that Google understands that your Canadian website is for Canadian customers and that the US website is for US customers – not because you have two identical websites that penalize you.
● Localize page content and make sure links to your store are local links. You may want to localize the language of the country (for example, from US spelling to English spelling), change the contact details on the contact page, and make sure any internal links point to your new site correctly.
● For example, if you have an internal link to the Contact Me page of XXX.com/pages/contact-us, you will need to update the link when you copy it so that it doesn\’t point to the primary site, but to your New contact page.
In general, using a relative url is simpler, because it means just deleting the main part of the url – just set the link to /pages/contact-us instead of XXX.com/pages/contact-us.
● Reinstall all applications to your new site and configure them.
● Connect the payment gateway to Google Analytics to track traffics.
4> Use IP redirection to direct traffics
After completing the above steps, you can start building a multinational retail business. You may need to use an IP redirect application to detect the location of the visitor and indicate where they are.
For example, if a Canadian customer visits your US site, you can show them by \”Showing your location in Canada, are you willing to jump to the Canadian site for price and more favorable shipping?\” You can get in the pop-up window Or ask the customer in the top bar or automatically push them to the Canadian site.
5> Update Google search console
You should also choose the country in which you want to expand your business in Google\’s search console. Please refer to the steps above or Google\’s suggestions for specific practices.
6> Unified management with tools
The last step will depend on your particular situation. There may be other places that need to be tested and checked. Some common problems are:
● If you advertise on Facebook or Google Shopping, you may need to create a new tracking code for a specific site and its corresponding campaign.
● Create a separate Google Analytics profile.
● Set up email marketing campaigns for customers to let them know that you will open a new regional store. For example, just filter the mailing list for Canadian customers and send them a specific event, informing them that you will open a Canadian store for them.
● If you are working with a transportation or logistics company, please contact them to find out how to set up a local business and create a shipping fee in your new Shopify store.
● If you use customer service software such as Zendesk, you may need to connect it to the new site and create rules to identify which region the customer came from.
At this point, your new site has been basically established. Once you have activated your IP redirect, you can start pushing traffic between stores and activate your ads.
Under which circumstances is it suitable to expand the Shopify business to multiple countries?
You can decide this based on business conditions. Here are some reference:
● When you think the business is developing well. It means when all your income comes from the website\’s turnover. The premise here is that you may not want to overuse additional management and costs unless you are sure that your business and products are viable. In other words, mature sellers are great for expanding their business, such as sellers with monthly incomes of more than $10,000.
● When you have enough income to support multi-store operations. If you currently only offer single currency payments, then you may be more willing to wait until the income has some buffer before expanding. This will help you manage the unfavorable factors, and if the expansion rate is not as smooth as expected, the business will not be affected.
● When there are a large number of sales opportunities in a country other than your main sales area. For example, your business is mainly concentrated in the United States, but when you find that there are a lot of sales opportunities in Australia, this will be a good opportunity to show that the Australian site is worth investing.
● When you find loyal customers in other areas. According to the above example, if an Australian customer is willing to pay a high shipping cost for your product (in US dollars), this is a good opportunity. If you can offer lower shipping rates and local currency, they are more likely to buy.
Under which circumstances is it not suitable to expand shopify business to multiple countries?
● Still in the initial stage of the business, and can not 100% determine the demand for their products in the market.
● If you have been working 60 hours a week in your company, then if you open a new site, there will be additional orders to process, and additional customer inquiries will need to be answered, so your business may be affected. When you are considering setting up a new site, it\’s best to make a plan.
● There is not enough revenue to support the operation of the new site, otherwise your financial situation will be very embarrassing. If the cost of opening a new store is too high for your current situation, then you can wait until the existing store is operating smoothly before considering setting up a new site.
How to better manage multinational Shopify business?
Expanding your Shopify business to multiple countries means you\’ll manage more inventory, respond to more customer consultations (and potentially different languages) and local marketing content in different regions. Of course there is more management work to do – but if done well, the increased revenue can easily pay for some extra cost to help manage multinational business.
Does multinational business cost higher?
In addition to the above, you will need multiple Shopify subscriptions, multiple application versions in use, and more time costs. So, will you pay more for this?
Give up extra spending that doesn\’t generate revenue for you.
Let\’s assume that each shopify store needs to run five Shopify applications, which cost $10 a month and a net profit of $25. this means:
● One store: $79 + (5*10 USD) = $129 per month
●Two stores: $129*2=$258 per month
If the store sells only six extra products in a month, they can lead. Once the market is established, they will generate more profits.
Of course, this is just a case. Each seller\’s sales plan, required applications, cost and product pricing are different, and sales experience varies from person to person. However, the above examples are sufficient to show that as an investment, this can be quickly rewarded.
You can make a break-even analysis of your business and see how many products you need to sell in order to break even in the expansion.
What should I do if the multinational business isn\’t running well?
The key is persistence. If you stick to it, the results will often not disappoint you, not to mention the risk of expanding your business is low, because you are just building a network facility. If you expand your business to other countries and find that sales are not improving within two months, you can easily revert to the previous business, end the sales of the new site, and concentrate on the operation of the original site.
In short, expanding multinational business requires a lot of extra work, paying extra costs – but it can also bring in additional revenue.
Given its low risk and potentially high returns, this is a strategy that many companies will consider. In general, it may take a few weeks for you to set up and start it.
How do I manage Shopify order fulfillment work if I launch multinational business?
Due to the order fulfillment time and cost concern, you can outsource the order fulfillment work. To be more clear, you can find a Chinese order fulfillment agent to help you fulfill the orders due to mostly goods come from China, outsource the multinational orders to Chinese agent would be the best way to increase order fulfillment efficiency and reduce the order fulfillment cost, then you will have more time focus on the goods selection and marketing for the Shopify stores.
86Deal Shopify pick and pack order fulfillment service includes:
● Quality inspection
● Label/ads removing
● Package return(goods with flaws or damages)
● Private label and packaging customization
● Shopify order printing
● Pick and pack
● International shipping
● Tracking upload
● Package return(from overseas to China)
You can take a look at the China 1688 Pick and Pack Order Fulfillment Procedure for Shopify Dropshipping in details.
Online expansion is a great way to quickly test new markets by experimenting with different pricing and shipping options to open up new markets, languages, customer segments and revenue streams, once you have a good Shopify store foundation you can plan to expand your Shopify dropshipping business to multiple countries.