With recent studies demonstrating that 64% of consumers now shop cross-border, it’s no wonder that more ecommerce businesses than ever are striving to maximise their brand’s profits by tapping into the ever-expanding global market.
But as a growing ecommerce store looking to branch out into new regions, how do you ensure your Shopify store is both accessible and appealing to multinational customers?
The challenges of going global
As a Shopify Plus Partner Agency, we believe that Shopify is far more flexible and quicker to build on than most ecommerce platforms, making it ideal for enterprise businesses looking to transition smoothly into owning a more usable, attractive and customisable online store.
Nevertheless, Dan McIvor, Director at Swanky, has identified one potential area for improvement; Shopify’s limited internationalisation options. Up to this point, there has been no simple way of allowing customers to choose prices to be shown in their local currency when browsing your store. This can be a real conversion-killer as studies show that 13% of online shoppers who leave ecommerce websites without making a purchase have done so because the product prices were displayed in a foreign currency.
These internationalisation issues can put strain on businesses’ time and money, and have led ecommerce store owners across the nation to search for innovative ways of getting past these limiting technical hurdles.
Until now, many online business managers have chosen to create multiple Shopify stores for each country they aim to sell to so that their customers are able to browse in their native language and check out in their local currency using their preferred method of payment.
Many ecommerce owners also choose to consult agencies specialising in providing expert Shopify advice and website design services in order to seek creative workarounds for Shopify’s limited internationalisation options.
For example, one website design project we have worked on at Swanky – which showcases the power of Shopify Plus’ enhanced customisation tools – is StylTom.co.uk. While working on this website design project, we were able to overcome the obstacle of Shopify’s current limited multi-currency functionality by creating a custom application which has allowed StylTom to display exact price points for multiple different currencies and let customers check-out in the same currency they had been surfing in, which is a major conversion rate booster for online stores.
The multi-currency price display options we designed for StylTom’s website.
Tom Pellereau, CEO of StylTom and winner of The Apprentice in 2011, commented: “Through working with Swanky, we were able to use workarounds to allow for multi-currency price display and check out. The former was easy, but allowing multi-currency at checkout has been very complicated (hats off to Swanky). However, the workaround means our store now has four backends – one for each country – which makes it very complicated.”
Clearly, while consulting a team of Shopify experts has greatly helped brands to find and implement creative new workarounds to combat this issue, there has never been a quick-fix solution to the problem of Shopify’s limited internationalisation options.
Running multiple website domains and regional Shopify stores can make the task of SEO (search engine optimisation) more difficult, and the complexity of developing new workaround functions on your website can end up costing your business both time and money.
However, building an adaptive, multinational and universally usable Shopify store is about to get a lot easier.
Introducing Shopify’s new multi-currency feature
In Autumn 2018, Shopify are set to launch a new multi-currency function which will use powerful built-in geolocational functionality to allow Shopify store owners to allow customers to checkout in their local currency. These prices will be calculated based on current foreign exchange rates and will begin by supporting sales in 9 major local currencies.
Powered by Shopify Payments, this new multi-currency feature will eliminate the need for hiring an in-house developer, creating multiple website domains or using any costly apps or plugins to create a globally-equipped ecommerce website that customers from all around the world can navigate intuitively.
According to Christina Lord, Global Product Marketing Manager at Shopify Plus, “From product creation to payout reconciliation, merchants will see the proper currency presented across Shopify so they don’t need to worry about reporting inconsistencies or inaccuracies.”
Is your local currency covered?
So far, only 9 local currencies are set to be supported by the multi-currency update; GBP, AUD, EUR, JPY, SGD, USD, CAD, HKD and NZD.
While this is still an exciting development in Shopify’s international capacities, therefore, Shopify’s range of available currencies for this new function is presently rather limited, and we hope to see more local currencies added in the future as the feature’s popularity increases.
Need a solution before Autumn 2018?
Whether you are looking to take your business multinational before Autumn 2018 or your local currency is not one of the nine set to be supported by Shopify later in the year, plenty of options still remain open to you.
For example, the multi-currency solution we created for StylTom.co.uk is available in every currency and location today. Our expert team at Swanky would be more than happy to discuss how we can help you accelerate your store’s global growth by creating and seamlessly integrating our creative and custom-built multinational solutions into your ecommerce store.
And more Shopify internationalisation options are on their way…
At this year’s 2018 Unite conference, Shopify also announced their plans to introduce a Local Payment Methods feature which will allow merchants to offer international customers the chance to check out using the local payment method they are most familiar with. This is another exciting step forward in Shopify’s move towards internationalisation as it will help ecommerce managers to build their reputation and trust among a wider customer base and thus boost their overall number of sales worldwide.
Moving forward, Dan McIvor, Director of Swanky, hopes to see Shopify continue to increase its internationalisation options by offering more region-specific VAT controls and Verified by VISA checks throughout Europe and particularly in the UK.
For now, it’s time to get your store started on the road to global ecommerce success!
As one of Europe’s first Shopify Plus Partner Agencies, the Swanky team provide a range of professional marketing, SEO, website design and general ecommerce consultation services to help online business owners unlock their full ecommerce potential. If you are interested in finding out more, please feel free to get in touch.