The new EU VAT scheme has begun. How are you handling it?Click here

How to globalize your Shopify website

Last updated on February 16th, 2021 -

Are you looking to increase your global potential? If so, you need to optimize your site for international shoppers and create a better cross-border shopping experience. Your Shopify site is built to efficiently manage the buying experience for domestic consumers, but many merchants overlook the experience from the eyes of a foreign shopper. Here are a few tips to help globalize your Shopify Plus website.

Welcome your shoppers with translation and currency conversion

The shopping experience for an international consumer should be clear and simple. When an international shopper arrives at your site, they are looking for any indication of your capability to process international orders. The largest contributor to an international shopper bouncing, or leaving your website, is a lack of confidence.

Zonos Hello detects the shopper’s IP location, then welcomes the shopper with messaging in their default browser language to let them know your site is more than capable of handling orders from anywhere in the world. As shoppers look around your site and select a product, Zonos Hello personalizes the experience in their language and currency with essential details they need to know, e.g. how much they can spend before they will incur any duties or taxes. Zonos Hello supplies a duty and tax estimate on the product and shopping cart levels. If you also use the Zonos Duty and Tax app, then the customer can choose to pay the actual amount at checkout.

Zonos Hello is a FREE Duty and Tax estimator.

You can install Zonos Hello by visiting https://zonos.com/zonos-hello-free-duty-tax-calculator.

Shopify website language translation

The Shopify Plus platform has multiple options for store translation. You can either go all in with a local domain and subdomains using translation-ready Shopify themes or start with the simpler approach of using third-party translation apps.

As a rule, using multiple domains for different language versions of your site will improve your placement to the top of local search engines. A less time-consuming option is to install a translation app, which you can use to test and see if language translation will increase your business. A third-party translation app gives you a simple way to translate the front-end of your store without modifying any code.

Keep in mind that these apps may vary in pricing and features. To reduce the cost of translation, you will want to look at your website analytics and pick local languages for countries that visit your website the most. For more information on building multilingual sites, you can check out this Shopify Partners blog post here.

If you are looking for additional translation and localization services, the options below are two of the highest-rated third-party options available in the Shopify App Store:

Email marketing in local languages

You can use Weglot’s email notification translation or the OrderlyEmails app for a translated email solution.

OrderlyEmails supports the Weglot and Langify translation apps listed above. The email language will change based on what language the shopper was viewing in while shopping. You can view the Weglot integration details for OrderlyEmails here and the Langify integration details here.

The Weglot email translation solution supports a list of foreign languages that is continually growing (supported languages can be found here) and would mirror domestic emails. OrderlyEmails supports 18 languages and would also mirror domestic emails.

Let customers shop and pay in their local currency 

You can increase sales by allowing your shoppers to pay in their local currency. More often than not, most visitors shopping on a website will have a bad experience if they are forced to shop or pay in a different currency other than their own. A few shoppers may make an exception for an item they absolutely need, but if given the choice, shoppers would much rather shop on a store that lets them shop and pay in their currency. Paying in a foreign currency gets messy, especially for business purchases, and is often more expensive than local currency due to conversion fees.

Source: How To Sell In Multiple Currencies With Shopify Payments || Shopify Plus 2019 https://youtu.be/Sd1LRxTATG8

With Shopify Payments, your customers have the ability to pay for orders and receive refunds in their local currency. The customer’s local currency can be chosen from their geographical location or from a currency selector that you add to your theme. The prices are automatically converted based on the foreign exchange rate and your rounding rules. You can’t set prices for specific currencies, but you can specify different rounding rules for each currency.

The rounding rules can be edited directly from your Shopify Payments settings:

Your prices are converted by multiplying the store price by the currency conversion rate, adding the conversion fee, and then applying the rounding rules for that currency. Note that converted prices will include your currency conversion costs. For example, when a $10.00 USD product is converted to Euros, the converted price of €8.90 includes the currency conversion rate and conversion fee:

Product price in store currency (for example, USD)$10.00
Multiply by the currency conversion rate (for example, 0.867519)€8.68
Add the currency conversion fee (for example, 1.5%)€8.81
Apply the rounding rule (for example, €0.90)€8.90

If the features provided by Shopify Payments do not meet your overall needs, there are third-party payment providers supported by the Shopify platform that can capture payments in foreign currencies. The list of providers include Alipay Global, Adyen, CyberSource, WorldPay, and more. To see the full list of available payment providers with Shopify, click here.

Provide duty and tax estimates and allow payment at checkout

You can find the Zonos Duty and Tax app on the Shopify app store. It provides a quick and easy way to give your international customers a full landed cost within your Shopify Checkout. With this app, you can show the carrier and service levels of your choice along with all the duties, taxes, and brokerage fees included at time of checkout. Zonos handles the shipping calculations, provides added flexibility with your international shipping options, and lets shoppers pay duties and taxes upfront.

Zonos Duty and Tax app for Shopify allows you to:

  • Enhance your international customers’ experience by removing the “unknown” of additional duty and tax fees collected by the shoppers’ local government.
  • Reduce the number of package refusals due to surprise fees upon delivery, and eliminate refused shipments.
  • Increase delivery time and minimize delays from carriers/brokers that require additional monies for duties and taxes.
  • Set up custom international shipping rates and rules that may not be available through your current Shopify store.
  • Capture payment upfront, providing a cash flow benefit while you wait to be billed after the package is delivered.

Visit the Shopify App store to install and start using the Zonos Duty and Tax app for Shopify today!

“Before we implemented the Zonos solution, it was not very easy for international customers to purchase from us. The results have been remarkable.”

Mike Small
Oz Naturals

Many people believe that expanding your ecommerce business to international markets is difficult and time-consuming. The technology available within Shopify Plus and the Shopify App Store now makes it possible for most businesses to easily and almost seamlessly access customers from anywhere in the world without any surprises.

Additional considerations when globalizing your Shopify website
Be aware of global compliance

As global ecommerce increases, the regulations and requirements get more complicated. While the idea of growing your business is an exciting endeavor, it is crucial that you fully understand the current and evolving regulatory requirements to stay compliant while selling internationally.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Although the GDPR initiative is not the first privacy initiative in the marketplace, to date – it has been the most significant driving force for understanding and managing user data and their data rights. The EU allows its member states to apply fines, which include a maximum penalty of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million for breaching GDPR. The directive also expresses the desire for ease and a “one-stop-shop” to administer.

Click below for more information on GDPR:



Calculating and collecting Australian GST

The Federal Parliament of Australia passed legislation for GST on low-value imported goods; this is an attempt at leveling the playing field for Australian domestic businesses already required to charge GST on all purchases. Currently, all purchases over A$1,000 are subject to GST upon entry into the country. The new law does not change the de minimis value of A$1,000. If Australia were to lower or eliminate the A$1,000 de minimis, it would require the collection of GST from the receiver. Australia is unique when compared to other countries, because they are shifting GST collection and remittance responsibility to the seller vs. the receiver, even if they are located outside of Australia.

You can find more information about Australian GST by clicking below:



Calculating and collecting New Zealand GST

A similar taxation law went into effect for New Zealand for low-value imported goods. New Zealand is following in the footsteps of Australia. They are requiring that all goods valued below NZ$1,000 collect and charge GST if sales exceed NZ$60,000 in a 12-month period.

Learn more about the New Zealand GST law at the following link:



Norway VOEC scheme

Norway is rolling out a new VAT on Ecommerce law similar to both New Zealand and Australia. They require all goods valued below NOK$3,000 collect and charge VAT if sales exceed NOK$ in a 12-month period.

Check out our Norway VOEC doc below for more information.



How Zonos can help

If you are a Zonos customer, we can update your account to collect GST on all orders. If you process shipments through Zonos Dashboard, our system can handle the appropriate GST customs notifications for you. We can also send a compliant receipt/tax invoice on your behalf plus filter and approve all your GST refund requests.

Take advantage of carrier flexibility

Logistics is a large part of the global shopping experience. International shoppers prefer to have international shipping options. That is why providing choices will dramatically influence your ability to convert shoppers into customers. Negotiating cost effective rates and managing multiple carriers will depend on flexibility with the third-party apps you choose to use with your Shopify Plus website. The Zonos Duty and Tax app is the only Shopify app not connected to a logistics company, which increases your choices in shipping options. This flexibility puts you in control, giving you the leverage to create the best value for your customers and ultimately creating more sales for you.

With Zonos, you can custom tailor shipping offerings to your customers in an infinite number of ways and quickly change things on the fly if you find a better solution. Shipping calculations are based on weight, value, flat, free, or other custom shipping logic. You can even segregate shipping lanes by carriers or open up multiple distribution centers around the globe as your business evolves.

You can find more information on how to manage carriers and use logistics as a tool to grow your international orders by visiting https://docs.zonos.com/guides/international-shipping-carriers.

Learn more about Zonos

If you want to simplify the cross-border experience or learn more about Zonos, please reach out to us via our contact us page or check us out on G2 Reviews.


Langify, Ecommerce plugins for online stores, Shopify App Store. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://apps.shopify.com/langify

Macdonald, M. (2018, November 8). Optimize These 4 Transactional Emails to Drive Sales and Improve the Purchase Experience. Retrieved from https://www.shopify.com/blog/ecommerce-transaction-emails

OrderlyEmails, Ecommerce plugins for online stores, Shopify App Store. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://apps.shopify.com/email-templates

Orendorff, A. (2019, February 14). Global Ecommerce Statistics and Trends to Launch Your Business Beyond Borders. Retrieved from https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/global-ecommerce-statistics

SendinBlue – Email Marketing, Ecommerce plugins for online stores, Shopify App Store. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://apps.shopify.com/sendinblue

SupplyGem, 100+ eCommerce Statistics for 2020. Retrieved from https://supplygem.com/ecommerce-statistics/

Weglot translation, Ecommerce plugins for online stores, Shopify App Store. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://apps.shopify.com/weglot

Winkler, N. (2020, January 23). What is the Future of Ecommerce? 10 Insights on the Evolution of an Industry. Retrieved from https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/the-future-of-ecommerce

Zonos Duty and Tax, Ecommerce plugins for online stores, Shopify App Store. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://apps.shopify.com/duty-and-tax-calculator-iglobal-stores

Zonos Cross Border

About the author

Daniel Johnson

Dan is the Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Zonos, the leading cross-border technology company and most accurate solution for landed cost. With over 15 years of experience in Sales, Dan’s strategic leadership skills, strong empathy in customer service, and a tenacity for solving problems have helped him become a cross-border trade expert and invaluable mentor on the Zonos team.

By Daniel Johnson


Press and Media

Recent Posts