In this article we will look at the CBT functionality of some of the top 10 ecommerce platforms in Europe. This will show the sorts of functionality that are available out of the box and can be found in many other, let’s say most, ecommerce platforms not found in this list.
Knowing what’s available on your platform helps set the stage for the work you need to do to convert your ecommerce shop to fully international. There are alternatives to doing it all on your platform of course, but we’ll look at those at another time.
Here we’ll be looking at a few top platforms defined by the number of stores a platform has, not how much revenue is generated by platforms. So we’ll have some which a number of enterprise sellers use, such as Magento, but we won’t look at the likes of Demandware and Websphere Commerce as though these are used by some huge retailers, there aren’t so many of them. That all being said, the functionality is pretty similar.
If set up correctly Magento enables full internationalisation. It supports global pricing and localised display pricing in buyer currency and global stock levels to ensure your stock stays synchronised across the different sites. Utilising the multistore functionality means you can have a different domain per country and a specific sub-product set for that country. It also means you can localise your product titles and descriptions in language however these need to be done outside of magento and fed back in to the right product.
For internationalisation Magento is a pretty good platform. It’s important to ensure that you have good guidance on using the Magento structure for setting this up though as you can actually make it work in a number of ways, some much less scalable than others.
PrestaShop natively allows internationalised sites with country specific URLs if you choose. There is also built in geolocation functionality that can surface the right currency and language when an international buyer visits the store. As an app based platform there are a number of plugins you can buy to do a lot of the work for you, this includes automatic translation of your products with translation tool and to decide which currencies are displayed and can be used for purchased by country.
This platform is something of a mix of Magento and PrestaShop. There are functionalities built into WooCommerce, being a WordPress site in reality, that enable multi-lingual, multi-currency ecommerce store. However, this is a bit of a game of matching many different plugins for things like shipping, payments, translations, etc… It kind of does everything, but you really need to know which plugins to use where to make it happen.
Shopify has a similar way of functioning to Magento in that you can set up multiple shops to enable you to have localised, country specific ecommerce stores. Unlike Magento though, you are basically duplicating your store. This means inventory, store administration, app installations and anything else you have is on a country level basis. So although you can technically have international stores with Shopify, you probably will only want one or two in countires you know you’re selling well as the overhead can be a pain to manage.
In general, you can see there is a lot to think about when taking your store international. Even when the platform supports it natively, like WooCommerce or Magento, there are a lot of mistakes you can make along the way which will be difficult to fix backwards. Getting good guidance early on, from suppliers or experts who have already learnt how to on other retailer’s platforms, will enable you to make the best out of your cross border trade opportunity both technically and operationally.