August 8, 2023

Shopify Markets vs Expansion Stores: Expert Advice on Going Global

Want to take your Shopify store to the international market? Here’s how.

Behind every successful ecommerce business is an ambitious team, and pushing every ambitious team is the dream of an internationally recognised brand. 

As the world of ecommerce has continued to evolve, reaching new regions has become more and more achievable for brands on a mission to grow. This is especially true for Shopify brands, who can choose to expand into new countries with Shopify Markets, Shopify Markets Pro, or Expansion Stores.

As a Shopify Plus agency, we deliver high-impact ecommerce strategies, advising brands on the most efficient and effective way to take their business to the next level. Our team specialise in growth and retention and this is our guide to going global.

Shopify Markets VS Shopify Expansion Stores

Expansion Stores

A multi-store approach. With Expansion Stores, every new region has its own independently functioning Shopify store. This results in greater flexibility and autonomy when it comes to different markets, and makes it easier to abide by nation-specific rules and regulations. If your brand has different products or promotions depending on the country, expansion stores are the best way to manage this. 


✏️Edit the layout and content of each store so it feels authentic to region

🛍️Connect to corresponding warehouses for inventory management and order fulfilment

💡Upload targeted marketing content to meet the needs and pain points of the local audience

🛒Run different promotions per country

📦Easily configure each store with local taxes, shipping info, and native language

✅Campaign setup made simple with one setup per country

Things to consider:

🧑‍🤝‍🧑Every store requires management*

💵Every store requires a bank account with local currency

📈Every store requires a tech stack

➡️Every store requires the migration of your brand’s theme, data, and content 

💰Every store incurs a cost**

* But there are apps to help in this area

** Unless on Shopify Plus, which can host up to 10 stores without additional charge. All other plans incur a cost per new store, this cost is dependent on your plan. 

Shopify Markets 

This is a single store approach to internationalisation and a gamechanger for brands that fancy testing the waters of a new market before fully committing to the considerations outlined above. 

Available on all Shopify price plans, this option allows you to manage all your cross-border commerce from one store. The user experience is localised so shoppers view translated content and a country-specific checkout. 


💻Central admin for all stores

💸Manage pricing and currency conversion

🔥Customisable storefronts

🗣️Language translation

🖇️Connect domains

📊Easy reporting 

↩️Manage subscriptions

🧾Control duties and import taxes

Things to consider:

🌐All changes apply to all stores in all regions, this includes discounting and promotions

📉Content and campaigns are translated so may lose impact across diverse audiences 

✉️Emails can only be translated if sent through our trusted partners at Klaviyo*

❌Cannot payout in multiple currencies**

📌Not all third-party apps are supported***

💳Reliant on Shopify payments which is not available in all regions

*Shopify transaction emails can be translated through their Translate and Adapt app.

** We’re assured they are working on this one!

*** As of 2023, there are plenty of powerful apps in the making, so this will soon be resolved.

So, if your brand has a range of products with different tax requirements, wants to discount differently across countries, or is heavily reliant on selected third-party apps, Shopify Markets is not the option for you. 

Shopify Markets Pro

For merchants in the US, there are even greater capabilities to benefit from. Powered by Global-e (and currently in early access stage) this advanced internationalisation tool has additional features to support brands that want to scale and optimise in other markets.

When using Shopify Markets Pro, Global-e becomes the merchant of record, the legal entity responsible for selling your products. This means that Global-e manages the complexities of selling internationally on your behalf. 

💰Duties and import tax: Markets Pro means no more nasty surprises. At checkout, shoppers are provided with a guaranteed calculation of duties and import taxes, and offered an extended suite of local payment methods that are available in their country. 

🛥️Fast, cost-effective shipping: Merchants can buy or print DHL Express shipping labels from Shopify Admin and fulfil orders through Shipstation or Shiphero Inventory and Shipping.

Liability management: Pro allows you to adjust your product catalogue for each market to automatically remove items with import restrictions in certain regions. You can also tap into multiple fraud platforms to ensure you’re always protected, and avoid the financial risk associated with currency changes by having FX underwritten. The best bit? Offload your international tax filing, registration and remittance. 

Although Markets Pro is currently only available to select merchants in the US, more availability is due soon. 

Our advice as Shopify experts

If your brand is already operating across some international markets, Shopify Expansion Stores make sense by offering autonomy to each of your existing teams. If however, you are a UK brand and it’s finally time to start thinking about expanding your business, Shopify Markets is the right solution.

Although Shopify Markets is less bespoke, with trickier limitations, it’s the perfect way to trial your brand in a new market. Shopify Markets reduces barriers and uncomplicates the process of setting up in a new country, plus it’s the more cost effective way to experiment. 

As Shopify experts, we suggest utilising Shopify Markets to prove a chosen region is profitable, before taking the plunge and investing in an expansion store. Expansion stores offer a more sustainable and long-term solution to going global, but it’s probably not worth taking the plunge, hiring the new team, and investing in the migration until you’ve tested your products with the new audience. 

Stuck on your international strategy? Our team of Shopify experts are experienced in driving rapid growth and helping brands reach new audiences — get in touch today.

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