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As a brand, it’s important to think global but act locally. In other words, make sure that you have a shopping experience tailored to your customers no matter where they are in the world. However, you also need to be aware of the cultural differences and customs that can affect how people buy and interact with your store. Here are a few tips on approaching eCommerce from a global perspective while still keeping your customers top of mind.

Why is it important to “act local be global?”

The importance of international marketing is to create a globally consistent brand image while also being local.

To be successful globally, you cannot have one general strategy. Every country has different values and beliefs. Also, countries have their own market structure. I will show you a list of things to think about:

Being able to understand:

  • Pricing (Not only in valuta, but also purchasing power).
  • Preferences (Not only product-wise but also expectations for payment, pricing, customer service and shipping), values, and behaviours.
  • Market dynamics
  • Different market structures for the same product or service
  • The patience needed to enter markets and establish a foothold
  • The value chain


  • Market opportunities by analysing consumer values, habits and competition;
  • consumer brand perception
  • International opportunities for growth and competitive positioning
  • Market segmentation based on different variables

These are a few things to consider, but there are many more! Therefore, it is crucial to do a thorough market analysis or have a marketing department or agency that knows its domestic market well.

Because if you know a market well enough, you can align every aspect of your marketing mix to its target market, and your chances of success within that market will increase massively.

Country selection

If you are just starting to expand your market abroad, but do not know where to start, here are some simple tips that will help you on your way.

  1. Look in Google Analytics at your website traffic; if you get a lot of traffic from a specific country, that would be a great place to start.
  2. Look-a-like countries are countries with which you share the same language, similar purchasing habits or have connected borders. So if you are from The Netherlands, Belgium could be a great place to start. If your home country is Canada, the US could be a great option.

Ways to enter a country.


This one is probably not new to you, but I will still explain it. Exporting is directly selling a product or service to another country.

This method is the best known and with the lowest risk since the products are still produced in the domestic market, and you do not have to invest in facilities abroad which makes it cost-effective. However, costs may arise in the future due to transportation costs.


A franchisee purchases your intellectual property rights. The standards for how the franchisee does business, on the other hand, are typically reasonably stringent. For example, any processes must be followed, or specified components must be utilized in production. This might not be very relevant for your business, but it is good to know that this is one way to enter a foreign market.

Joint Venture

A joint venture is formed when two firms form a jointly owned enterprise. A local company will be one of the owners (local to the foreign market). The two corporations would then create a management team for the new endeavour and share ownership of the joint venture.

The benefit of this way of market entry is that the local company has local market knowledge. However, there may be some challenges, such as selecting who invests what and how to distribute earnings.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is when you invest directly in a foreign market. To cover expenditures like buildings, technology, and personnel a large amount of capital is required. Foreign direct investment can be made by creating a new enterprise or acquiring an existing firm.

What parts of my Shopify store can I make local


First things first! Make sure that your customers can pay in their currency. According to this Shopify article, 33% of international visitors won’t even consider purchasing a product if their local currency isn’t available.

You can add countries in Shopify Payments; visitors can select their own country and browse in their own currency when you do this.

You can even up your game by installing Shopify’s GeoLocation app! Once installed, your website will automatically adapt based on a visitor’s geolocation.

As a side note, your prices will be adjusted by real-time currency exchange rates. Set a manual rate per currency to ensure your prices do not change every day.

In Shopify Payments, there are a lot more options! If two countries share the same currency, for example, you can adjust prices based on purchasing power. To learn more about it, click on this link!


You should translate your store if you can’t find a country with a common language. The Shopify Appstore has a lot of translation tools, however even apps have their limitations. It’s possible that certain expressions will be mistranslated. Therefore it might be advisable to hire a translator.

The Shopify Experts Marketplace, where people offer to translate your store, is a great place to start looking for a translator.


In your Shipping settings, build a shipping zone expressly for your new overseas target market(s), and consider your shipping strategy when creating the varied shipping prices. Because foreign shipping is likely to be more expensive, consider the following:

  1. Check costs and solutions with your preferred shipping company. You’ll want to ensure that your preferred carrier ships to your desired market.
  2. Be transparent with your customers; if it takes a while for something to ship: make sure you communicate that with them. Also, try to give an estimated shipping time.
  3. Try to include your shipping price in the product price. If something costs 90 euro and shipping is 10 euro, say it costs 100 euro and say it is free shipping.

Examples of businesses acting local being global


As we all know, Mcdonald’s is a global brand with a very local marketing and product strategy. Did you know that each country has a unique menu item?

That’s a McKroket in the Netherlands, and a McRib in Germany. One product is at least regional, but the entire menu changes depending on where you are in the world. Additionally, their website is tailored to meet local needs, such as the website language.


GymShark is a sportswear brand that sells through Shopify. They feature a localised website with language changes based on geolocation, and they use DHL shipping from Deutsche Post for Germany (German mail service). As a result, it’s almost as though GymShark is a German brand, providing a familiar environment for the Germans.


Till next time!



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