Breaking into the International WooCommerce Market

Though our world struggles to deliver the Hollywood hover-board of our dreams, most people would probably take the internet’s unprecedented leaps in globalization and economic prosperity instead. After all, one of the biggest advantages of having an online store is the ability to sell to customers anywhere. But doing business internationally comes with some unique responsibilities you may not be aware of if you’ve stuck to trade in the US and Canada. In this post, we’ll cover some essential tools and tips for getting your online store ready for a more global customer.

Use Multiple Languages

English is the base language for WooCoomerce, but the platform can display many languages with a little adjusting. Depending on where you want to do international business, you might need to translate site information to the language of that region.

While it doesn’t translate currency types, Multilingual Press is an incredible WooCommerce plugin that connects multiple websites on the WordPress platform to the same stores. For instance, if you have separate Spanish and US websites for your business, their online carts probably display as “Cart” and “Cesta.” This plugin will connect each of those carts to the same online store so you don’t have to manage separate stores entirely. If you’re editing a German product page for your store, you can just edit the corresponding English description and the plugin will translate it automatically!

Currency Types and Payment Methods

While WooCommerce only allows you to set one base currency for your site, a free plugin like Multi-Currency for WooCommerce is highly user-tested and lets shoppers slide between the currencies they recognize. You’ll almost certainly have customers abroad who are interested in your products, but if they can’t see the cost in familiar way, they’re less likely to commit to a purchase.

Being able to actually pay for your online purchase is fundamental, but where your store is located is important for determining the available methods. In addition to long-standing credit card companies like Visa and American Express, PayPal is still a top player for online purchases in the US and Canada, with Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay all staying close competitors.

But in China, almost 70% of online customers use AliPay, so it’s extremely important to research payment methods by region and even by country. Mercury Minds has a thorough guide of popular payment types around the world to make sure you’re offering the most quality options for your customers.

Shipping Options

From a political and bureaucratic standpoint, international shipping can be a weighty subject. There are lots of things that go into the process, like tax percentage translations, language difficulties, and the logistics of transporting to multiple receiving centers in different countries. If you’re shipping to another country, there are probably additional costs to the raw shipping fee (likely taxes) that you should expect.

Looking for and displaying the total “landed cost” of what’s being shipped is a good rule of thumb so customers aren’t as likely to abandon their shopping carts on the shipping price page.

Luckily, WooCommerce has built-in shipping options for almost 200 countries, and automated modifiers for regional taxes and getting packages through national customs. It’s all built into the WooCommerce Services extension, and there’s a guide for installing and navigating it too!

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