Shopify offers a number of features to help you sell more to international shoppers, but Shopify Shipping's options are very limited.
Find out more about Asendia's Shopify fulfilment and shipping services
With 800,000 online stores and $63 billion worth of sales through its system, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Shopify. It’s even possible you’re already using the platform yourself, but are you getting the most out of it?
As a growing business you’re no doubt looking at how you can expand into an international market, but with so many things to consider, can Shopify help?
The simple answer is “yes”, but exactly how can they take your business global with a minimum of fuss?
First of all, it helps to understand that Shopify was designed for this very thing. Tobias Lütke, a German snowboarding enthusiast living in Canada was trying to sell snowboards with his business partner Daniel Weinand, but they couldn’t find an eCommerce platform that worked for them.
So, Tobias, a computer programmer, designed one for their business. They then realised others might like to use it too and set about marketing their platform to others and Shopify was born.
Being able to sell quickly and easily online, and to different markets, was exactly what Shopify was made for and you can now benefit from Tobias’ and Daniel’s hard work.
Shopify features to help you sell internationally
There are a tonne of features for selling ‘cross-border’ with Shopify. But here are the main features that will get you selling globally in no time.
- Sell in multiple currencies: Shopify supports sales in 133 currencies, meaning your customers can pay with the currency they’re used to.
- Selling in multiple languages: If you're a Basic Shopify, Shopify, or Advanced Shopify merchant, you can sell in up to five languages. This jumps to 20 languages if you’re with Shopify Plus.
- International domains: Give your customers a local feel by having a domain that ends in their country code.
- Local payment methods: While you may be used to using a specific payment method popular in the UK, you’ll find that there are many others all over the world. Shopify will help you take payments using Klarna, iDEAL, Sofort and others.
- Shopify Shipping: International shipping services and discounted rates built in.
In the list above you’ll see we mentioned a larger number of language options with Shopify Plus. This is an enhanced version of Shopify, designed for larger businesses but still offering some benefits for SMEs too.
With Shopify Plus, you’ll get things like a dedicated account manager (they call them Launch Engineers) to hold your hand throughout your setup or migration to their platform.
You’ll also get more theme customisations to match your site, unlimited staff accounts for your team, greater control over your checkout, and also options for wholesale if people want to buy from you in bulk. There’s also more access to in-depth analytics.
But it does come at a price.
The standard Shopify service may be limited in some ways, but it still has flat plans which don’t change regardless of your sales.
With Shopify Plus, cost is affected by how many sales are placed through the system.
Shopify’s standard offering will integrate well with your site and give your global customers an easy-to-use platform if you’re a beginner or established business but if you’re growing fast and need to access more languages, customisation and analytics, Shopify Plus gives you a lot more flexibility.
What about Shopify Shipping?
Shopify Shipping is Shopify's built-in shipping service that gives store owners tools to calculate real-time shipping rates, purchase and print shipping labels, and track their shipments in one place. Although Shopify Shipping is free software for Shopify users on every Shopify pricing plan, it is only available for orders shipped from the USA and Canada. If you are based outside of North America see your options.
How does Shopify shipping work?
Shopify Shipping partners with famous carriers like USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post to offer discounted rates on many shipping services to the US, Canada and overseas. These discounts are typically around 20%-50%, but they say they range all the way up to 90%! Accessing these Shopify shipping carriers’ rates allows you to list real-time shipping calculations both on your store's order processing page and in your customers’ checkout. This allows you to charge precise amounts for shipping based on live costs to you, reducing the risk of underestimating your shipping expenses.
In addition, Shopify Shipping has many other features that can optimise the time you spend on order fulfillment. You can process orders and print shipping labels in bulk right from the Shopify admin. International shipping tools can be used to create and print customs documents, and pass shipment tracking information along to your customers (in emails, SMS, or their online account).
All in all, Shopify Shipping offers many of the same features that you can find with third-party shipping software, and at no extra cost. Whereas some carrier management platforms will charge a subscription or per label fee.
If you are outside the US and Canada you cannot access Shopify Shipping
Where Shopify does let itself down is with access to shipping logistics in all the other countries where Shopify is popular. At the moment they’re only able to support shipping in the US. So, while the purchase experience might be seamless, you will need to have a shipping provider pick up the job once the customer has checked out.
So what's the alternative to Shopify Shipping in the UK?
To be frank, Shopify Shipping only provides access to services through a small number of packet and parcel services anyway. So this isn't a massive issue as long as you choose the right shipping supplier.
That supplier should be able to give you access to dozens of shipping services worldwide and not be limited to the famous courier brands which are often not the most appropriate services in a lot of countries and circumstances.
The right international shipping company, like Asendia, should be able to:
- Integrate their shipping platform (labeling/tracking tools) with Shopify easily.
- Provide a range of international Shopify shipping solutions to meet your customers expectations i.e. low cost services (slower) and premium (quicker) services. Plus services that are common to them i.e. in some countries home delivery is less popular than delivery to a locker or collection point.
- Provide Delivery Duty Paid shipping options (where your shoppers on your Shopify store can see how much customs charges will be and pay for them upfront).
- A returns service that suits the shoppers in the countries you are shipping to from your Shopify store.
Asendia's fulfilment and international shipping services for Shopify stores
We handle the fulfilment and shipping of international orders for some of the biggest etail brands in the world and many smaller online stores too. Some of these are on Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce and enterprise platforms.
Find out more about our international order fulfilment services
See details about our international packet and parcel services