When a client needs an online store, it's probably only thinking about selling its goods domestically. However, for an eCommerce business to properly realise its potential, it needs to be looking towards selling internationally. And to help that happen, you need an eCommerce platform that's built for frictionless international sales.
According to research by eMarketer, the total value of retail sales worldwide is predicted to rise from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.9 trillion in 2021, with 2.1 billion people worldwide expected to buy goods or services online this year. Nielsen has found that on average, 57% of online shoppers make purchases from overseas retailers, so if a merchant is willing to think beyond its own borders it's almost certain to find customers.
Of course, making the move from selling products domestically to taking on the global market can seem daunting, to say the least. If a business is going into international selling cold there are all manner of obstacles to overcome. But that's where having Shopify as your eCommerce platform can make all the difference.
All the tools you need
With Shopify you don't just get a world-class online store – you also get all the tools and support you'll need in order to ramp up to selling internationally without getting bogged down in unwanted paperwork. Shopify hosts over 1 million stores with over 300 million customers worldwide; its merchants ship goods to 175 countries every day, sold in 133 different currencies, so it knows a thing or two about selling internationally and it can help your clients get it right and give their sales a serious boost at the same time.
With Shopify's analytics tools, your clients will be able to quickly measure what proportion of their customers are arriving internationally, and whether it's going to be worthwhile to sell and ship to them across borders. And when they're ready to go global, you'll be able to easily upgrade their store accordingly.
Speaking the language
If you want to build stores that cater to international customers, you need to speak their language. Data from Common Sense Advisory shows that 75% of international online shoppers want to buy products in their native language, while 67% would prefer navigation and some content translated, while 59% rarely or never buy from English-only sites. So while the business of localisation and translation may feel like a chore, it can definitely pay off in sales.
All Shopify plans except for Shopify Lite enable you to to build stores that sell in multiple languages, and there are plenty of themes that support multiple languages as well as apps that'll automatically translate for you. And once you're set up, Shopify's Geolocation app can automatically make language and currency recommendations to customers based on their location and browser or device language.
Getting payments right
Many customers can be hesitant to pay for goods in a currency other than their own, but with Shopify Payments your clients can easily sell in multiple currencies, with the option to automatically convert prices using the current market exchange rate, or to convert them manually at an exchange rate that you specify.
Understanding how international customers prefer to pay is also important. It's easy to assume that everyone would pay using a credit or debit card, or a digital payment system such as PayPal. However, in Eastern Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East, cash on delivery is the preferred option, while in India, Africa and Asia, direct debit is a popular choice. If your client wants to scale their customer bases in these territories, then they'll need seamless support for these payment options, and with Shopify Payments this all becomes a lot easier.
Taking care of delivery
Bringing in customers and making a sale is only half the story; after that you have to deliver, and Shopify Shipping can help get things moving. Depending on the order they're shipping and their store's Shopify subscription plan, Shopify merchants may be eligible for reduced shipping rates from a number of providers including UPS and DHL.
And while shipping goods across borders may be trickier than delivering domestically, Shopify provides plenty of tools to make things more straightforward for its merchants, including automatically-generated customs forms and documentation when they purchase international shipping labels through Shopify.
Dealing with tax
Perhaps the most intimidating thing about selling internationally is ensuring that you get the tax right. Dealing with domestic sales tax can be tricky enough, and the thought of having to cope with international tax and import duties can be a bit much. However Shopify provides detailed guides for setting up tax properly for most destination countries, so that nobody gets any unpleasant tax surprises.
Become a Shopify partner
With Shopify as your preferred eCommerce platform you can provide clients with the ideal means for expanding their businesses worldwide. And as a developer who's able to help companies make the move to selling internationally, you can take your business to the next level by signing up with the Shopify Partner Program for free.
As a Shopify Partner you'll have access to free training courses, documentation and other resources that can help you improve your Shopify skills and enable you to give your eCommerce clients the support they need when they move into international sales. Shopify Partner Program members can also generate monthly revenue by referring clients to Shopify, and by publishing their own apps and themes on the Shopify App Store and Theme Store. As a Partner you'll receive discounts on software and services that can help at every stage in the development process, you'll be the first to learn about upcoming Shopify features, and you'll get any help you or your clients need quickly, thanks to priority Partner support.
To learn more about the Shopify Partner Program and how it can help you create stores that are ready for the global marketplace, head here.