eCommerce Growth Show

How to scale internationally on Shopify with Alex O’Byrne – eCommerce Growth Show Ep. 20

Moving your eCommerce store to Shopify? Not sure how to do this or are you stuck in the middle? Low on ideas on how to scale? This new episode of the eCommerce Growth Show will answer all your questions.

This is the session you need to listen to if you are an eCommerce manager on the lookout to scale internationally on Shopify because the best ideas come from:

  1. Those who have already been through this;
  2. Experts that can help your life easier and your business grow.

PS: Check out the little bonus at the end.

Who is Alex O’Byrne?

Alex O’Byrne is the co-founder at We Make Websites, the Shopify Plus agency for international brands. Founded in 2009, We Make Websites is a digital commerce agency with offices in London and New York. Alex is an international speaker on eCommerce, brand and business growth.

Key takeaways from this episode


The common challenges of moving to Shopify Plus

You are getting a product catalog of a thousand or ten thousand products into a new platform, so the most common challenges appear in the SEO area:

  • Changing the URLs between the two websites
  • Taking care of the broken pages after the new website goes live
  • Changing the domains, if you have a different international architecture:
    • In the multi-store, they each need to be set on a different domain
    • Building up pop-ups and redirections according to the region of the user
    • If you use the multilingual API, use folders
    • Shopify Payments allows multi-currency, which could mean you only need one store, so you should use Shopify’s multi-currency feature

Considering that moving a website to a new one means starting from scratch with so many elements to consider, there are some extra challenges to keep in mind:

  • There should be involved as many people as possible on the client side
  • Integrations
  • Planning

How to run a successful re-platforming project

The first step is where do we actually have demand? You could use Facebook or Google Advertising to create the demand. But I think it’s nice if you are pulled, not necessarily just paid, it could be influencer marketing if you’re doing it internationally. So hopefully you’re getting pulled there.

The next step is localizing or optimizing locally somehow, [whether] you translate the site or sell in the local currency. With currency, there’s several ways of doing it:

  • you can show an indication of the price;
  • you can provide actual multi-currency where the customer is getting billed in the actual currency.

The next step is figuring out how you distribute, especially if it’s across continents. As you get further down the track, you get more and more localized and there’s more and more effort and cost and sophistication at each point. So, what I would do is always just be watching the numbers and trying to look at [things like] “I think there’s an opportunity here if we can get a U.S. presence and U.S. market share. Then we can begin to build our U.S. fulfillment and go from there.” 

Bonus: top 3 mentality flaws of eCommerce managers

So you spend all this money to acquire the customer through whatever channels, whether that is influencers or ads or whatever. You get them on the site and they buy something hopefully. Then, that’s where the journey is partway through. And we don’t stop there. We look for retention so they come back and they buy more of the same thing which is obviously easier for some things than others. If you sell coffee, it’s a lot easier to have retention than if you sell mattresses. But there are still things we can do to keep people coming back and buying more from the brand if they had a good experience. Then, ideally, most people become advocates, where they’re saying hey, I bought these really great shorts or these really great mattresses, all this really great coffee or whatever to their friends and you have this engine of growth because people are saying “Wow, this is great!” For the advocacy side, providing an excellent experience is the essence. 

  • #2: Paying attention to details is something that no business leader should forget.

Retail is detail! I’ve seen on TV before these retail bosses going into a store and looking at it like that does not look right – this is the CEO of a multi-million pound chain of stores – and I said this thing on the aisle is wrong. I think it’s the same with websites. If I go on a website and I know good founders like this and they’ll say that the way this copy looks on this is wrong – even though it’s the most minor, silly thing. This is what happens when you go on an e-commerce site.

If you can get [user feedback] somehow, whether through surveys or other conversion and user research tools, then that is how you continually build because the annoying thing about a website is you just can’t see people use it.

  • #3: People have to do the work and make decisions all the time and not you, the leader of the company.

You have to find the right people and give them guidance in the shape of values or goals or principles or just general advice. Leadership is a series of one to ones with people trying to figure out what they’re working on and how you can  guide them to this thing. It’s not standing in front of the whole company saying, “Oh, great news ! Look at this slideshow.” It’s about talking to people one on one. The essence of a business is people. 


The next episode promises an exciting session with Ben Labay, the Research Director of the CXL Agency, who will be speaking about optimizing D2C eCommerce with User Intents – from deodorant to mattresses.

Tune in at 3 PM UK / 10 AM EDT, next Thursday!

One Reply to How to scale internationally on Shopify with Alex O’Byrne – eCommerce Growth Show Ep. 20

  1. Shopify has become a great alternative platform in the eCommerce sector, but WordPress continues to lead the pack overall. personally as an experienced web designer and SEO specialist I use them both depending on my customer’s preference and nature of business.

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