- Vitruvian is an Australian-based fitness brand with a fast-growing international following in North America.
- Initially, it was selling its products on a single US Shopify Plus store, leveraging Shopify Markets to serve international customers.
- Costly international transaction fees on non-USD orders triggered the brand to reconsider its approach to international selling and move to an expansion store model.
- We kicked off this transition by creating an expansion store for Canada (a significant international market for the brand).
- Not only did this save money, reducing transaction fees on CAD orders, it also unlocked a 200% increase in conversion rate, generating a 100% uplift in revenue and 33% boost to average order value (AOV) in this international market.
Vitruvian: Brand overview
Australia-born Vitruvian is a digital-first fitness company reimagining resistance training with an innovative, all-in-one gym platform. Leveraging advanced AI technology, the brand’s smart home gym machine works in tandem with a dedicated app to deliver comprehensive and connected training that’s personalised to every user.
All Access monthly membership, available on a subscription basis, provides users with access to hundreds of on-demand classes led by expert fitness coaches.
$15M USD of Series A funding enabled founder and fitness technology entrepreneur Jon Gregory to take his high-tech product overseas and expand into the US market.
Today, the US represents Vitruvian’s largest market, with Canada following in second place.
The challenge: Costly international transaction fees on Shopify Markets
When the Vitruvian team first engaged Swanky’s Shopify Plus experts in Australia, they were leveraging Shopify Markets to sell internationally through a single US Shopify Plus store. They’d chosen a USD store because, as mentioned above, the US is the brand’s biggest market.
Shopify Markets allows retailers to manage cross-border commerce from just a single store, making international selling increasingly accessible and affordable. From the Shopify Admin, retailers can display different prices per market, show the right language based on buyer location, and manage local domains with automatic SEO optimisation.
Markets enables a localised experience for international customers, allowing them to pay in their own currencies. However, any international transactions (i.e. those made in a different currency to USD) had a 2% fee applied. With an AOV around $3,000, and with a third of transactions coming from international users, this was proving costly for Vitruvian.
How Swanky helped: Implementing a new Shopify Plus expansion store for Canada
An alternative to the single-store approach
An alternative to Markets when selling internationally on Shopify Plus is the multi-store, or expansion store, model. An expansion store is an additional storefront, created to serve a specific region. This approach gives retailers greater control and flexibility in their approach to the individual markets they sell in.
Crucially for Vitruvian, expansion stores process transactions in the home store currency (USD, in this case) – which means no international transaction fees.
With these benefits in mind, the Vitruvian team decided to transition from the single store approach of Markets to a multi-store structure. Having worked with multiple brands to support their successful international expansion on Shopify, Swanky was well placed to support Vitruvian with this project.
As Canada represents the next most significant market for Vitruvian after the US, this was chosen as the first expansion store to be created. We launched it in March 2023. Check out Vitruvian’s Canadian expansion store here.
Benefits & challenges of Shopify Plus expansion stores
Not only does this new Canada-specific store save money on transaction fees on CAD orders, it means Vitrivuain can market to the Canadian audience separately, providing nuanced content to suit their specific needs.
The brand will also be able to create region-specific promotional campaigns if it wishes, serving up unique discounts and offers to Canadian consumers.
It should be noted that whilst the use of expansion stores offers extensive flexibility and localisation, a key challenge for retailers can be the increased admin time associated with managing additional storefronts. Fortunately, we have developed an innovative back-end solution which enables multiple expansion stores to be managed from a single codebase – thereby reducing complexity and creating valuable efficiency gains.
You can learn more about our unique approach to multi-store management in this case study about another Swanky client, Wilkinson Sword.
Another challenge of expansion stores to be aware of is high tech stack costs. This was particularly pertinent on this project, as we needed to ensure that the costs of any apps and integrations didn’t outweigh the money being saved by removing international transaction fees on CAD orders.
Results: An uplift in key metrics
We’ve discussed how Vitruvian’s new Canadian expansion store means the brand no longer has to pay international transaction fees on orders from Canadian shoppers (a significant portion of its orders).
There has also been a positive – and significant – impact on key metrics that we’re pleased to share.
When comparing figures specifically for Canada-based users on Vitruvian’s US store from the three months pre-expansion-store-launch, with figures for all users on the Canadian expansion store over the three months post-launch, we observed:
- a 100% increase in revenue;
- a 33% increase in AOV; and
- a 200% increase in conversion rate.
Whilst it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for these increases, one hypothesis is that the .ca URL engenders increased trust amongst users in Canada. When shoppers have greater trust in a brand, they are more likely to convert their interest into a purchase – and spend more in each transaction too.
Following the successful launch of this Canadian-specific store, Vitruvian is looking to implement expansion stores for Australia and Europe.
Sell internationally on Shopify with Swanky
Swanky is a leading authority when it comes to international ecommerce on Shopify. We provide strategic consultancy and development to support our clients’ successful expansion into new markets.
If you’d like to understand more about the different options for international selling on Shopify Plus, then take a look at our comprehensive comparison between Shopify Markets vs expansion stores. In this article, our Product Manager Nichola Birch considers the pros and cons of both options, and explores what a brand needs to consider when deciding which approach to implement.
To learn more about going global with your ecommerce brand – including how to develop an international marketing strategy, how to manage fulfilment in multiple locations, and how to streamline your international operations – check out our detailed guide to international retail on Shopify.
You can also reach out to our team today to speak to us about your brand’s international expansion.