Shopify is bolstering tools for international storefronts and marketing

The news: Shopify is scaling up its international ecommerce operations with two recent developments:

  • The ecommerce giant unveiled Shopify Markets, a “global ecommerce hub” that will handle currency conversion, language translation, and more for merchants looking to open their business to foreign markets.
  • It made an investment in and struck a multiyear partnership with Yotpo, a marketing service that handles direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing like SMS, referrals, emails, and more for digital brands. Yotpo said it will focus on accelerating product development and growth following the Shopify deals.

How we got here: Cross-border commerce slowed considerably in the past year and a half as consumers directed their attention to local businesses to help them weather the pandemic, and as supply chain shortages hampered international business operations. But the opportunity is still large—and growing.

  • Shopify gets a large portion of its business from international shoppers: The company said that more than 27% of store traffic in July 2021 came from outside the US.
  • The platform already allows cross-border shopping, but Shopify Markets will help merchants more easily adapt their storefronts to international transactions. The hub will handle currency conversions, language changes, and regional SEO, and it will also help storefronts comply with local regulations and pricing rules.
  • The number of cross-border ecommerce buyers in the US will rise by only 4.5% (or 2.9 million) in 2022, but other markets are growing rapidly. China led cross-border ecommerce buyer growth with a 24.5% increase in 2020, and Shopify’s partnerships with Chinese tech giants like Alipay, and with ByteDance’s TikTok, will help its merchants more easily penetrate the market.

The marketing stack opportunity: Shopify’s investment in Yotpo adds yet another layer of automation for merchants and may hint at a future acquisition in the marketing space.

  • Marketing stack services in the Shopify ecosystem like Yotpo have become a major leg up for the platform, as they enable merchants of all sizes to reach and retain customers.
  • Those advantages make them prime targets for acquisition—Attentive, an SMS marketing service, recently acquired Privy, another Shopify ecosystem app, for an undisclosed amount.