Is your brand looking to expand abroad? Then you are probably considering your options in terms of how to set this up in Shopify. To make your international adventure a success, you will have to offer your customers a store in their own language, with their own preferred payment methods.
Single store or multistore?
Shopify has a number of options to enable a multi-language, multi-currency setup for your online store. The recent launch of Shopify Markets only expanded those a bit further. There are roughly two options to choose from:
- Single store, where you manage all countries in a single dashboard
- Multistore, where you set up a separate storefront for every country.
At Not Selling Liquid we usually advise you to go with a multistore setup. Managing all countries from a single dashboard sounds good in theory, but in practice, we see that it comes with a few drawbacks that will cost you revenue. Simply translating your store into another language is often not enough to meet the expectations and habits of your new audience. You will have to localize your store rather than translate it: use the formal address when you write for your German audience, for instance, and plan your French Mother’s Day campaign for a different day than in other European countries.
Why a multistore setup is the way to go
Some merchants initially have doubts about a multistore set-up, because it sounds complicated and time-consuming in terms of content management. Depending on the number of storefronts you have, your content team will have to sync, translate and localize all your content for several storefronts. We can guarantee you that this is the way to go, though. If you want to personalize your customer experience, you will have to meet your international customers where they are. Meeting them halfway just doesn’t cut it.
Syncing content between storefronts: 5 insider tips
So how much time and effort does it really cost to sync content between storefronts, and what does content management look like in a multistore setup? To give you an idea, we asked our e-commerce manager Emilie Mura to tell us a bit more about her experience with the Daily Paper project.
In addition to its international website dailypaperclothing.com, the brand also runs several Shopify Plus expansion stores for its key markets. The most recent addition is their US webshop, for which Emilie transferred all content from the international store to the new storefront. She has the following tips and tricks:
1. Avoid double work
Before you start syncing, make sure that everything is finalized on the main website before you copy it to another storefront. This will prevent double work and confusion.
2. Use apps to easily sync or import content
Emilie: “When copying content to a new store we start with the question: what to sync, and what to create manually? Syncing content between storefronts is easy, with the help of an app like Syncio. We use this for content like product pages. Only slightly more complicated is the content that has to be imported manually, like image files, products, the theme, pages and blog posts. All those can be imported in two clicks with the Matrixify app.”
3. Reserve ample time to get the important things right
Emilie: “After the easy sync we can move on to the content that we have to create manually: navigation copy, collections and merchandising. The look and feel of the navigation is already included in the theme, but we still have to add the text of the menu items and such. Creating collections is also an important task: Daily Paper has 40 collections, which are set up in various ways. Some collections are defined by a tag and easy to recreate in a new storefront, others have to be assembled manually. In both cases, we pay a lot of attention to making the collection pages look good, by dragging & dropping products.”
4. Consider the apps you use
When setting up the apps for a new store, make sure to only keep the ones relevant to the new audience. Having too many apps not only slows down your site’s loading speed - with a multistore setup, you might have to pay your apps a fee per storefront, which increases cost. Emilie: “At Not Selling Liquid we make sure to contact the app developers to see if we can make a bundle deal or change payment plans for our clients.”
5. Take extra care with sensitive settings
Working on settings like payment methods, shipping info, taxes and currencies also often means that new fulfilment solutions and legal paperwork need to be set up. As a merchant, make sure you involve your tax- and legal consultant for expert advice on how to expand your business across borders, with attention to each region's specific legislation.
Ready to expand abroad?
Are you interested in launching extra storefronts to reach a new audience? At Not Selling Liquid we are happy to help. Make use of our experience with Daily Paper and other international brands to make your own expansion as smooth as possible. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!