How can I best configure international subdomains for my Shopify store?

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Hi, I am trying to determine the best way to set up Shopify store for international visitors.

I am currently running an Australian based store and want to start sending US traffic to a us. subdomain. Previously as I understood the way to do this was to create a new Shopify account. However now you can place multi currency and sub domains within the same Shopify account. 

There are some limitations I am still trying to figure out.

1) Can I edit checkout options for the sub domain. For example Afterpay requires a different API for USA and AUS. Currently when visiting US sub domain it is still showing the Australia Afterpay checkout option even though it doesn't work for them.

2) Customising content - can I display specific content dependant on which domain users are on and hide what is not relevant. For example a image with US flag only visible on us.domain or hide certain blogs etc.

Is it still best to create a separate Shopify account for this? It seems for full customisation this is still necessary however it has the issue or paying double for all apps and needing a separate Klaviyo account.

Replies 2 (2)

Shopify Staff
141 13 76

Hey @lukam, thanks for your questions!

We are working on solutions for both the situations you have described, but if these are things that are important to you right now, we would suggest still running this on separate stores.

Cole | Product @Shopify 
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Shopify Partner
835 73 175

Hi @lukam 

Hope you're having a great day!

This is a great question.


Single-store with Shopify Multi-currency

The simplest solution here is to use Shopify’s Multi-Currency product - if you can.

The user experience is slick - a customer can browse your store in several currencies and/or languages and add to the cart. In the background, you receive payments in your chosen currency because Shopify does the conversion for you.

Pros: Simple, you only need one store which makes it easy to test new regions.

Cons: Not all apps are compatible, price rounding (see below), you can't control the currency conversion, and pricing will fluctuate over time confusing some repeat customers.


Multi-region Architecture

With multi-region, you create a store instance for each currency, and each of these is hosted on a different URL.


The pricing and checkout are in the base currency of that region e.g. would be in CAD. The main drawback here is that you need to maintain several instances of your store.

Pros: Better SEO, as you have a store per region. More flexible in terms of content, design, product offering, pricing, etc. 

Cons: Every store would need its own apps and integrations, you need to sync content between stores and you need to be able to deploy theme development updates to all stores.



Not selling in a local currency is a big conversion killer. So how do you sell in multiple currencies on Shopify? 

No matter if you choose a single-store with Shopify Payment’s multi-currency or Multi-store with a store per currency, you should end up with a currency selector like this:


Clicking on the relevant currency will if you're using:

  • Shopify Multi-currency, change the store to that currency.
  • Multi-store, redirect you to the relevant store.

You should use geo-IP detection to work out which country the customer is in so that you can route them to their most local site.

You may also want to introduce a warning for customers that are browsing a foreign currency or region, to let them know you have a local site.


Now here are the 3 options for showing prices in different currencies to your customers.

Multi-currency Option 1: Estimated price

A very basic starting point is to have your currency switcher simply show an indication of the price in the selected currency. This is usually done using a 'spot' rate and is only ever an approximation, even before fees. 

It's pretty crude - the big turn-off here is that as soon as the customer gets to the checkout, the store reverts to the base currency, which they will need to pay in. This will put off a lot of customers, who will be charged an FX fee by their bank for shopping in another currency. And it feels, well, foreign.

Since Shopify have launched their multi-currency offering, this option is not an attractive first step to international as it once was.

Multi-currency Option 2: Shopify Payments Multi-Currency

Shopify Payments multi-currency tends to be the preferred alternative for those wanting to sell globally from a single store. With this, you can pick from a list of over 130 different currencies, which you want your store to be available. Customers can then shop in one of these chosen currencies throughout their full purchase journey. This works by either customer choosing a currency from a selector, or by your store recommending one, should you opt for geo-IP detection. With Shopify Payments multi-currency stores you have the flexibility to add additional, international domains.

Lastly, if opting for Shopify Payments multi-currency, you should note that the conversion rates of the currencies you offer will depend on whether you use automatic currency conversion or manual exchange rate conversion.

Multi-currency Option 3: Multi-Store

Using this approach, each currency is within a separate Shopify store catering to a geographical region. This gives you full control over how you set prices, payment options and basically, everything you can think of that needs configuring on a Shopify store. A typical setup as above might compromise of:

  • AU store, AUD currency, at
  • US store, USD currency, at
  • EU store, EUR currency, at
  • CA store, CAD currency, at

As you’ve no doubt guessed by now, this also means maintaining several stores. You should add syncing apps and/or middleware to keep the stores inline so you aren’t having to duplicate effort on each store.

Some things do become more difficult when maintaining a multi-store architecture, such as installing apps on each store or keeping collections up to date. Product IDs are also out of sync between stores which could cause problems with apps that work across your stores and with redirections.

However multi-store has a nice benefit in that you can merchandise specifically for each region.

Currency risks with multi-store

Above we specified four areas you have currency risk when selling via Shopify Payments. With a multi-store, each store's payment gateway is plugged into a bank account in the local currency. This means you have full control over when you choose to convert currencies and may be able to do it wholesale through a bank.

Having said that - there is still currency risk, perhaps even more, when you are in control of when to convert your currencies. You will also need a bank account in each base currency.

Multi-store or Shopify Multi-Currency?

Normally, this decision comes down to whether you require full control over your pricing in each currency or are happy with rounded FX-based conversion. If not, it's time to get more advanced and use a multi-store architecture, which does have benefits but is more complex to manage.

  • Is Shopify Multi-currency right for you?
  • Can you live without full price control?
  • Do you need to control when currencies are converted?
  • Can you live without SOFORT payments outside Germany

If you've answered YES to all the above, Shopify Multi-currency via Shopify Pay would work.



Similarly to local pricing and currency, almost 80% of international buyers strongly prefer to browse an e-commerce store in their native language, making a translated store a powerful tool to increase international sales.

Once you can actually sell in different currencies, it's time to get your content in order.

First off let's get one thing clear: don't automate translations! Brand tone of voice is more important than speaking the right language. So if you want to sell in different languages, make sure you have a native speaker do the translation. And that native speaker needs to "get" the sensibilities of your brand, so they should be a professional copywriter.

For managing content in multiple languages on your Shopify store, there are a couple of ways.

Multi-store - the 'native' way

Each store represents a different language. Each running its own Shopify store. 

  • - US English
  • - Uk English
  • - German
  • - Italian

You'll have 100% control over everything. If you want to create a product in Spanish, just create it using Spanish words. Least amount of hassle (assuming you know Spanish), simplest for SEO, and no additional apps required. You have the flexibility (but also the chore) of setting up emails in each language.

The frustration here is that all stores that share a language - e.g. and are both in English - may have duplicate content so you need some easy way to manage it.


Using language apps with a single store

To start, you should browse Shopify apps' collection of compatible translation applications. These are tools that plug directly into Shopify’s multi-language section, where you'll manage the translation of your content. Most apps offer a 7–14 day free trial period, so take your time browsing, testing, and then select an app you feel the most comfortable with. (Check Langify first).

Subfolders are supported for multi-lingual with a single store, you will end up for example with:

  • - English
  • - French
  • - German
  • - Italian
  • - Spanish


Finally, the decision for your business is whether you can accept the limitations/simplicity of a single-store with Shopify multi-currency, or if you need full control over price, payment options, SEO, URL, native content, and so on.


Some Australian International stores based on Shopify (Go see how they managed the countries) (Go see how they managed the regions)


Useful resources:

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Globally on Shopify

How to Sell Internationally on Shopify: Multi-currency, Multi-language, Tax, and Shipping