What is Shopify Markets?
Shopify Markets was released in North America in September 2021. The solution was designed to address a gap in the Shopify stack for merchants who were looking to sell in international markets. Prior to the release internationalization was a problem area in that managing international shipping and taxes, payment gateways and product translations was a real challenge.
The product description from the Shopify site is clear in its objective.
Shopify Markets centralizes international selling tools for your business, and introduces new functionality to help you manage and expand your global sales. With Shopify Markets, you can create tailored online shopping experiences for different buyer segments. You can do this by creating markets that target specific countries or regions, or you can group countries and regions together to simplify your expansion efforts.”
The North American roll out was met with a rather tepid response while in countries outside of North America people were clamouring for the functionality. Finally in February of 2022 Shopify rolled out markets globally and as recently as September of 2022 has announced further enhancements like native translation.
Out-of-the-box Shopify markets provided some completing features.
- Native multi-currency
- Country specific domains
- Support for global payments
- Taxes and duties handled natively in the Shopify Plus version
- Custom catalogues and store front in the Shopify Plus version
- Language localization
All of these features and more were in the initial and subsequent rollouts.
Fuji T interviewed Robin H. Smith, CEO of VL OMNI about his cross-border eCommerce strategy using Shopify.
Is It For My Business?
This is a difficult one as there is no easy answer. Each case is going to be unique. You need to think strategically here by first looking at where you sell internationally. Does the market size justify the additional costs of markets as well as the invest in time setting things up.
The following items need to be explored in depth before a determination is made.
- Fulfilment: How do you fulfil orders? Are they all shipped out of a single location or are you using a 3PL that has multi-locations?
- Inventory: Single location or multi-location and is dispersed globally?
- Current conversion: How do the currency conversion fees affect your margins?
- Returns: How are you going to handle returns?
- Translations: Do you have the skill set to vet the quality of the translation? Do you have access to resources paid or unpaid that can review the language?
- Pricing: How will you price in each market?
- SEO: If you are launching new domains that have no authority on Google and Bing, it will take time for your domains to reach a wider audience.
Once you have examined these things you should also look at whether you sell on other channels. Amazon for example has a global you can’t sell lower than them policy. If you sell for less in other markets Amazon will delist you.
You will need to crunch the numbers. The currency conversion costs can and will add up. Bank transfer fees impact the movement of cash into your accounts. The financial modelling you do should shape your decision.
Shopify paint international rollout as quick and easy. For many it will be, for others, the devil will be in the details. Shopify Plus Partners in the ecosystem can help you sort out whether it is right for you.
New features are being rolled out. Markets Pro is currently only available in the US with a global rollout in Q1/2 2023.