Happy New Year 🎆

The TL;DR:

  • Let’s Chat D2C: Shopify Markets Pro - News flash, Ecommerce is still growing and won’t stop anytime soon! Let’s chat about going international with your brand and what you need to look out for.
  • What I’m Thinking about this Week: Setting Goals and KPIs for Accountability in the New Year.
  • The D2Z Podcast: In this week’s episode, I sat down with Josh Fonger, CEO of WTS Enterprises, a business operations consultancy that helps owners develop and implement systems to free them up to focus on growth.
  • App Highlight - Superfiliate is now publicly available!
  • Book of the Week - Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
  • Upcoming Events: I’m speaking at EEE Miami on February 23rd at the East Hotel! Ecommerce Experience Evolution is an annual event in Miami gathering leaders in the Ecommerce space to connect, share knowledge, and learn!

Random tip:  Read a book a week!

Let's Chat D2C: Ecommerce Continues to Grow. Should you go International?


First, the Stats

Global ecommerce is expected to account for more than a fifth of all retail sales in 2022, with an estimated 25.5% of ecommerce in Europe now being conducted cross-border. 

Things to be Aware Of and Choosing Where to Start

Customer Experience

Just because you have a stellar track record for shipping and customer service in the US doesn’t mean it will translate to international markets. There are a whole host of considerations to consider, even when it comes to shipping. Will you have a separate warehouse? How will you handle taxes and duties? What shipping carriers will you need to use? Will you train and staff team members in the new market for customer service? Use an outsourced company? The list goes on and on.


Financial Commitment

Going international isn’t cheap. You’ll want to make sure you lay out what your upfront investment will be as well as forecast your ongoing monthly expenses. Make sure to consider marketing spending in the new market as well… just because you spin up a new store doesn’t mean customers will magically appear. 


International Could Mean 268 Countries…

Going international doesn’t mean taking your brand into every country in the world. Scope out your new markets carefully and be as efficient as possible by strategizing your expansion in a manner that makes sense geographically.


Think about the following:

  • Are there any markets that your brand is already popular in?
  • What is the size of the new market?
  • Does this new market shop online?
  • What sort of infrastructure does the new market have to facilitate order delivery? 
  • Are the local language and culture similar to your current market? It could be easier to start there.
  • What’s the timezone difference?
  • Is this market easy to do business in?

The Technical and Platform Decisions


Deciding on your Online Store Structure - Single Store vs. Multi-Store

In the past, a multi-store approach was really the only option, but with the rollout of Shopify Markets, the single-store approach is becoming more favorable.


The pros and cons of a single-store approach:

  • One website, one tech stack
  • Leverage a personalization tool to still be able to localize the site to the individual user
  • Not as much customization available to each specific country


The pros and cons of a multi-store approach:

  • Multiple websites, multiple tech stacks (this can be a pro because of the ability to use solutions that are popular in a given market, but can be a con because of the complexity to manage and potentially higher costs)
  • Ability to customize each store experience specifically to that market
  • Typically more complex, requires a larger team, and costs more


Pro-tip: One of the ways to streamline a multi-store approach is to use one single master code base, from which most changes are pushed automatically to the individual stores. This is how we set up and currently maintain Soylent’s Canadian website.


Shopify Markets

Shopify Markets adds two crucial features to your Shopify Plus store: multi-currency and multi-language functionality. Each visitor to your website can view it in their currency and language.


Pro-tip: Manage and track inventory from multiple locations with Shopify’s Multi-Location functionality.


Shopify Markets Pro

Shopify Markets Pro has some differences and additional features I’ll review later in this newsletter.


Shopify Translate & Adapt

As the name suggests, Shopify Translate & Adapt helps translate your store into multiple languages while also considering regional variations in terminology.


What do you need to Translate?

It’s no secret that international shoppers are more likely to convert on websites in their native language. So aside from site content, here are some other items that will need to be translated:

  • Product sizes and measurements
  • Emails and texts
  • Packaging
  • Marketing content
  • Metadata


When it comes to translation, you have three options, each increasing in effectiveness but also in cost:

  • Machine translation: The cheapest option by far but it could lead to improper language and grammar usage.
  • Translation agency: Outsourced translation.
  • Local team: There’s no replacement for a local group steeped in a region's culture and language idiosyncrasies.


My recommendation for most brands is to use machine translation and hire a local in each region to edit and tweak the machine translation. We did this for all of Florence by Mills’ international copy.


Structuring your URL

You’ve got three options, each with its own pros and cons:

  • Country code top-level domain (ccTLD): brand.co.ca
    • Search engines will automatically prioritize this domain for users from a particular region.
    • You can now connect multiple ccTLDs from one store on Shopify Markets.
  • Use a subdomain: ca.brand.com
    • Not as targeted to local users on search engines as ccTLDs, but simple to set up. Some say this structure allows you to tap into the SEO value from your primary domain, but I’ve never seen a subdomain have strong SEO results.
  • Use a subdirectory: brand.com/ca
    • More challenging to rank on a local level but easy and cheap to set up.


Make sure you have proper hreflang tags to search engines direct users to the correct URL. If I’m shopping in the UK, I don’t want to see the French website!


Automatic vs. Manual Currency Conversion

Automatic currency conversion is the quickest way to sell products internationally. Still, it will cause price fluctuations as currency conversion rates change, and your customers may recognize the difference and need clarification.


Manual provides more customer consistency, but you’ll need to build a buffer to your pricing to accommodate currency fluctuations and have a plan for updating these on a semi-regular cadence.

Adjusting your Marketing Strategy

Are the same social channels popular in this new market? What about holidays and events? Are there different local anti-spam regulations? What about seasons - is your summer their winter?


Email (and SMS) Marketing with Klaviyo

If Europe is included in your international selling plan, you’ll need to get comfortable with complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Beyond regulations, though, is this market used to consistent email marketing? Is there a different approach you should take regarding the type and frequency of communication you provide this market?


Pro-tip: In your email sign-up popup, you could ask for preferred language to ensure they are bucketed into the appropriate communications.


SMS marketing isn’t nearly as popular in other countries as it is in the US due to regulations and restrictions, cost, and the prominence of Whatsapp, but there are a few countries you’ll want to add SMS marketing into the mix:

  • US
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • UK


After that, things get a bit dicey, and platforms like Klaviyo don’t even support SMS marketing in other countries besides those mentioned above five.


Reviews with Okendo

When expanding internationally, make sure you repurpose your existing reviews for that market so that it doesn’t look like you are completely starting from scratch. You can even use your translator to get these reviews into the proper language for the new market you’re entering. It’ll instantly provide credibility to your brand and product, which you deserve! After all, it's just a new market, not a new company and product.



CRO is even more important when expanding internationally. Given that you most likely have very little experience in this new market, it’s important to rely heavily on A/B tests to make data-backed decisions about each store's design and content.


Just because it works in your existing market doesn’t mean it will in the new one, so make sure you test ALL of your assumptions. Even best practices in the US might not be in the new market. Do a simple google search for “Ecommerce websites best practices in {insert new market here}” or “Differences between the US ecommerce market and the {insert new market here} ecommerce market to get an idea of some of the potential differences.


Pro-tip: Implement a post-purchase survey on each of your websites to gather customer feedback on how to improve.


Taking your Customer Service International with Gorgias

Gorgias allows for multi-store integration, allowing your customer service team to access everything from one dashboard.


If possible, staff your customer service team with a native speaker from each market you sell. Gorgias’ language recognition technology will route the ticket to the proper agent.

International Tax 


Duties and Customs

Customs and duties charges are applied once a product reaches its destination country. Customs, duties, and taxes should be shown to customers in their native or preferred language during checkout. DO NOT have a checkout experience where they’re not shown, and customers are asked to pay them upon receipt of the product by the delivery company.



Value-added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST), also known as indirect taxes, are consumption taxes levied on any value added to a product.



The IOSS allows suppliers and electronic interfaces selling imported goods to buyers in the EU to collect, declare and pay the VAT to the tax authorities instead of making the buyer pay the VAT at the moment the goods are imported into the EU as it was previously the case.


US Nexus

Nexus is the relationship between a seller and a state that requires a seller to register with the state and then collect and remit sales tax on all sales made in that state.


HS codes

The international World Customs Organization established a numerical language to standardize global trade. There are over 17,000 10-digit codes used to describe products!

Shopify Markets vs. Shopify Markets Pro


Cross-border Payments

With Shopify Markets, you can:

  • Sell in local currency via Shopify Payments
  • Get access to a selection of local payment methods available with Stripe


With Shopify Markets Pro, you can:

  • Offer more local payment methods in multiple locations
  • You can use Shopify Payments for domestic transactions and Markets Pro for international transactions
  • Get coverage for fraud and chargebacks
  • Offer from over 136 available currencies and receive payouts in USD
  • Refund orders at the currency conversion rate that was given at the time of purchase within 30 days to avoid currency rate fluctuations 


Global Fulfillment and Shipping

With Shopify Markets, you can:

  • Buy discounted Shopify Shipping labels without duties prepaid or use a third-party app


With Shopify Markets Pro, you can:

  • Access discounted DHL express shipping labels
  • Fulfill international orders natively from your Shopify admin or through third-party fulfillment partners


Duties and Taxes

With Shopify Markets, you can:

  • Offer a duty and tax estimate at checkout, powered by Avalara


With Shopify Markets Pro, you can:

  • Calculate and collect duties and taxes automatically at checkout
  • Offer delivered duty paid (DDP) shipping with DHL Express at checkout
  • Tax-inclusive pricing is set for countries where this is standard and local country regulations are handled for you
  • Make use of duties and taxes guarantees. If taxes and duties need to be adjusted after your product goes through customers, then Markets Pro pays any additional fees.



Same for both!


Markets operations

Same for both!


Markets Pro Pricing

Markets Pro doesn’t have a monthly charge but has the following fees for international orders:

  • A 6.5% per transaction fee that includes a payment processing fee
  • A 2.5% currency conversion fee is paid by the customer.

The Flow of Funds & Getting Paid

Flow of Funds

Global-e powers Markets Pro. They act as your merchant of record and hold the funds to remit the costs to the proper authorities involved in that cross-border transaction. After Global-e remits all the fees, you receive a payout of the remaining money.


Getting Paid

You will receive a payout with all transaction data over the previous period on the month's 1st and 16th days. You can find the payout information as you would normally by going to Finances> Payouts.

What I’m Thinking About This Week: Setting Goals and KPIs for Accountability in the New Year


If you don’t have goals and KPIs you want to achieve, how are you supposed to measure what success looks like?

Leading vs. Lagging Indicators

While a lag measure tells you if you’ve achieved a goal (i.e., get three new clients), a lead measure tells you if you are likely to achieve the goal (i.e., reach out to 100 prospects).

It’s vital to set leading goals that you and your team can track towards that you hypothesize will result in your lagging goals coming to fruition. First, establish what your end result is (the lagging goal). As an agency, let’s say it’s onboarding ten new clients in Q1. Well, that’s a great end goal to have, but it’s tough to track against daily and weekly. So, a leading goal would be “reach out to 50 new prospects a day.”

Layer in Historical Data

If you have historical data on your performance, you can continually refine your leading goals as the year goes on. Let’s say I know that historically 10% of prospects I reach out to will result in a new client. If the end result I am trying to achieve is ten new clients, I will set my leading goal as “reach out to 100 prospects in Q1.”

Layer in the SMART Framework

It’s also essential to set REALISTIC goals. That’s where a technique called SMART can be helpful:

  • Specific - Be as detailed as possible. Instead of “reach out to prospects,” your goal should be “reach out to 50 prospects per day.”
  • Measurable - Come up with a way to measure your success. What data will you use?
  • Achievable - Is this something you and/or your team can realistically accomplish?
  • Relevant - How does the goal align with your broader goals? Why is the result significant?
  • Timely - Set a clear time frame in which you want to reach your goal.

This Week's The D2Z Podcast

#41 – Scaling your Business through a Systems Mindset, Optimizing your Infrastructure, and Fostering Open Communication

🎧Listen Now 🎧

In this week’s episode, I sat down with Josh Fonger, CEO of WTS Enterprises, a business operations consultancy that helps owners develop and implement systems to free them up to focus on growth. Specifically, we explored the following:

💰 Systemizing business operations into a collection of processes and procedures

📲 How to properly delegate responsibilities and tasks

😎 Best practices when working with teams as a 3rd party consultant

🚀 Building operational infrastructure to allow founders to focus on planning, innovation, and growth

App Highlight - Superfiliate


My good friend's loyalty and referral platform, Superfiliate, is now publicly available! We’ve been using Superfiliate with our clients for the last year to roll out referral programs that ACTUALLY work. When combined with how Electriq integrates it into the post-purchase customer journey, we’ve generated up to 12% of a store’s TOTAL revenue just through a referral program. That’s literally unheard of!

Now that they’ve officially launched, I strongly encourage every DTC brand to set up a time with them to see what they’ve built. Even in 2022 alone, their solution has improved by leaps and bounds, and their team is highly receptive to feedback and quick to iterate on new ideas and improvements.

What is It: Referral/Loyalty Platform

🏅Differentiator: Superfiliate can be deployed as a referral + loyalty platform through its on-site, post-purchase, and portal commerce experiences while allowing customers to create unique headless storefronts to refer their friends with. Through deep integrations with Klaviyo, Attentive, and Postscript, Superfiliate automates SMS/email communication while integrating with Shopify and Recharge to handle payments.

💰Starting Price: $599/month + 5% of Superfiliate revenue (flexible flat-rate pricing for some brands)

🚀How we use it:

  • Deploy loyalty + referral program to drive profitable user acquisition
  • Reward loyal customers with gifts they can give to their friends
  • Create personalized social commerce experiences
  • Embed into the Malomo tracking pages, Klaviyo email communications, etc.

I also put together a walkthrough video here.


Book of the Week - Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World


Are you feeling distracted in your day-to-day life? Did you just spend 5 hours on Tiktok last week? You may benefit from some digital minimalism in your life :)


Checking your “likes” on Instagram is the new smoking, so let’s dive into Cal Newport’s book on reclaiming your productivity in practical ways.


Digital Minimalism

A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support the things you value and then happily miss out on everything else.


Alongside the definition, there are three principles:

  • Clutter is Costly — Too much time spent on apps and devices can sap your energy and attention span and negatively impact us.
  • Optimization is Important — A particular technology supports something the user values, but to extract the full benefit, we must be careful about HOW we use this technology.
  • Intentionality is satisfying — Digital minimalists are more intentional with how they use the technology around them, making them happier overall.


How Digital Minimalism Could Help You

It can help you reclaim some of the time you’re losing to things like Tiktok, help regulate and improve your mental health, and even improve your relationships with people.


To sum it up, recognize how much time you spend on technology and create a plan to live more intentionally.


Get the book here!

Upcoming Events


I’m speaking at EEE Miami on February 23rd at the East Hotel! Ecommerce Experience Evolution is an annual event in Miami gathering leaders in the Ecommerce space to connect, share knowledge, and learn!

Let me know what you want me to present by replying to this email :)

Right now, I’m leaning toward an hour-long deep dive into what a best-in-class retention program looks like for a Shopify store.


Share with a Friend!

If you're finding value in this newsletter, share it with a friend, and they can sign up here!

Back to blog

Leave a comment