Shopify’s international exposure is impressive given that the company hasn’t spent significant effort serving international locations until recently. Shopify has merchants in 175 countries, but international merchants make up only 19% of the total merchant count, leaving plenty of room for growth.
Last year, the company that helps business sell online tested the waters internationally with small, focused efforts. In the second-quarter 2017 earnings call in August 2017, CFO Russ Jones talked about “experiments” to translate the company’s blog into other languages, which were successful in bringing more international merchants to the platform.
With confidence that its efforts would pay off, Shopify has started expanding key foundational features for its international merchants. Its Shopify Pay feature, which saves customer data, allowing an easy checkout process, is now available in 10 languages. The company’s “theme store” — a set of generic prebuilt e-commerce websites — can handle multiple languages. In 2018, Shopify is focusing on Germany, France, Japan, and Singapore to start.
A merchant holding a tablet with a dress that she is selling on a hanger behind her.
Shopify merchants can manage their business from their phone (or tablet). Image source: Shopify.
2. Shopify Plus
Finkelstein said, “the nuances and complexity of what these larger merchants need, things like cross-border tax compliance, things of that nature, it’s just not something that smaller merchants require.”
The company’s third investment area worth talking about is enhancing its platform for significantly more customers, regardless of size.
3. Scaling the platform
“Having gone from tens of thousands of new merchant adds in 2016 to hundreds of thousands in 2017, the advantages of scale are clear, which is why in 2018 we will continue to strategically invest for growth,” said Jones during the February conference call.
Shopify has been using these methods to help improve its platform and better help merchants for some time. In the most recent earnings call, Lutke said, for instance, that the process of cash advances has been taken over by algorithms and machine learning.