October 15, 2021
Emmanuel Cohen

One of the best ways for an e-commerce business to kick off exponential growth is to start selling internationally. While numerous factors will go into this decision, one of the most important is for your online store to have multi-currency support or multiple stores. Meaning, customers in other countries will be able to purchase your goods and services in their local currency, instead of having to transact in CAD (or your local currency).

China alone is a perfect example of why selling abroad is so important. The China e-commerce market is the largest in the world with a volume of 1.94 trillion USD in 2019 - that is plus 27% year over year and a quarter of China's total retail sales volume.

If international expansion is your next corporate goal, Shopify Plus multi-currency and multi-store is the way to go. So let’s take a moment to strike the difference between these two.

Shopify Multi-currency

Global expansion is booming, and today’s buyers are expecting a personalized purchasing experience, with prices displayed in their own local currencies. To help merchants sell to their customers in their local currencies across the globe, launched Multi-currency to enable merchants to sell in multiple currencies with Shopify Payments. This feature allows merchants to display multiple currencies on their front end and accept payment in those currencies. 

Shopify Multi-store

While the multi-currency feature enables merchants to sell in local currencies, multiple stores provide merchants the complete control over the content and overall look and feel of their store, allowing them to fully localize the experience for their customers. It refers to the concept of having numerous distinct Shopify stores on a single Shopify Plus account for targeting different locations at the same time.

The decision to go with multi-currency or multi-stores will be based on short and long term corporate  goals, but here are a few other considerations to help in decision making

Choosing Multi-store in Shopify Plus?

Creating separate Shopify clone stores is a viable solution to global expansion since it allows merchants to set local prices and equip each store for the target region independently. The ability to organically rank each store locally and have an independent shopping feed, among other things, would make the store more effective from a marketing standpoint.

Local delivery alternatives, duties and taxes, local payment choices (such as Alipay, Union Pay, WeChat Pay in China for instance), and so on can all be presented right away.

Although there are plenty of other advantages to choosing the multi-store over the multi-currency option, it also comes with a lot higher administrative headache, as Shopify lacks the real multi-store structure that enables global data, third-party management, and so on. When setting up multiple stores, you should also consider data management (such as making manual updates across each store), app management and pricing, and setting up things like hreflang and misdirected traffic.

If you're thinking of using the Shopify Plus multi-store feature for international markets, you need to weigh your options with multi-currency before making a decision.

Choosing Multi-currency in Shopify Plus?

The multi-currency option in Shopify lets your customers shop in their local currency that will be displayed based on their IP address or if they change their it from a dropdown. The currency will be displayed on the front end as well as in all other areas of your store as long as you're utilizing the right third parties. You can accept payment in this currency as well.

And most importantly, the multi-currency option gives you a lot of currencies to choose from and constantly adds more.

The most common challenge with multi-currency is that you can't regulate pricing or upload separate price lists. In other words, pricing is determined by a fixed exchange rate, which is a common requirement for international merchants.

You also don't have as much flexibility in a couple of things such as local payment options, shipping, taxes as you do with multi-store. Marketing is another common issue. Unlike the multi-store option where you can easily rank locally and organically, the same is not obtainable with multi-currency since the experience isn't adequately localized.

You should also consider multi-currency reporting, such as which currency is being pushed into the dataLayer for Google Analytics or other analytics platforms, and how the data is being passed to other systems.

You'll have trouble getting multi-currency to operate across things like product suggestions, dynamic offers, search, and so on if you don't use mainstream technology partners. Before you select partners and launch multi-currency, this is something you should think about too.

Final Thoughts

While both Multi-store and Multi-currency options are a great upgrade to the Shopify Plus platform, each one has its advantages over the other, as well as its limitations. Running through this guide and comparing the strength of each option against your business goal should help you make an equally beneficial decision. However, feel free to write me at if you've more questions.

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