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Introducing Shopify (Grey) Markets

Shopify merchants are now able to enter foreign markets easily thanks to a new feature of the platform, Shopify Markets. But is this really a win-win situation? Find out how Shopify Markets may affect your brand’s online protection.

Shopify, the Canada-based e-Commerce platform takes its game to a new level by helping merchants sell internationally. Shopify Markets, the new feature available to sellers from mid-September 2021, is aimed to help merchants reach customers in faraway countries.

What is Shopify Markets

Shopify sellers have already been able to sell internationally. In fact, 27% of all transactions occurring in Shopify shops in July 2021 were cross-border purchases. However, Shopify Markets unites all the platform’s features designed for international trade to help sellers make the leap more easily.

Shopify Markets promises that with just a few clicks, merchants will be able to enter new markets. But since entering a market requires a lot more than simply being available there, Shopify Markets offers various features that should ease the process for sellers.

Screenshot of shopify.com/markets’ homepage
Screenshot of shopify.com/markets’ homepage

For example, merchants are now able to adjust their product listings to new countries by translating them to the local language and currency. Payment methods and currencies are also customizable to local expectations, as well as pricing and even customs or duties if necessary.

This latter is a big bonus to customers who won’t get a nasty surprise when discovering at the last step of the purchasing process that various customs and duties have miraculously added themselves onto the purchase price. Instead, they’ll learn about them upfront, which will help create trust in merchants and diminish the currently annoyingly high (around 70%) shopping cart abandonment.

A seamless selling experience

Sellers using Shopify Markets don’t need to trouble themselves with statistics or detailed market insights. The platform gathers all kinds of data from its existing sellers and adjusts itself to optimize sales in all the countries the seller is active in.

For example, there’s no need to educate yourself on the most popular payment methods in a certain market; Shopify Markets does it for you and automatically displays them to customers in the region.

Similarly, the sellers’ dashboard appears easy to manage and cuts back on annoying admin tasks. For instance, sellers don’t have to manage various storefronts in their markets. The centralized commerce platform gives merchants an uncomplicated overview and lets them manage all their customized storefronts seamlessly from one place.

Screenshot of shopify.com/markets showcasing the new features
Screenshot of shopify.com/markets showcasing the new features

Shopify Markets even helps with marketing and SEO, offering merchants local domains complete with SEO optimization tools.

Win-win for everyone?

Global trade is an important part of the economy, currently amounting to $22 trillion in value. However, not all of that trade is good. According to the OECD, bad quality counterfeit products constitute around 3.3% of all global trade, resulting in devastating losses for brands and consumers alike.

And that doesn’t even include grey market products; original goods sold outside a brand’s authorized distribution network. Growing global trade elevates this problem to new heights: as a recent KPMG study has found, 63% of IP-right holders have seen an increase in grey market activity in the last decade.

Unfortunately, creating global selling opportunities à la Shopify Markets also helps sellers with dishonest intentions. After all, isn’t it easier to sell problematic goods on a different market to unsuspecting customers, far away from brands and authorities who would recognize the red flags?

But why do grey markets pose such grave dangers for brands, IP-right holders, manufacturers and authorized sellers alike?

A grey area

The problems caused by grey markets tend to be underestimated or may even go unnoticed. Many people are only concerned by counterfeits and the safety issues presented by those. But grey markets can be just as harmful for brands and their bottom line.

When unauthorized sellers offer your products to customers, they greatly distort the market. Their prices tend to be lower than those of your authorized distributors, which creates an unfair competition, impairs your product pricing structure and erodes trust in your distribution network.

Also, as unauthorized sellers tend to be less attentive to customer service, your brand’s reputation among consumers can suffer as a result. This way, grey markets negatively affect your entire distribution network, your invaluable brand reputation, not to mention your revenue.

As our Managing Director, Oliver pointed out in his talk about Shopify, the problem with this platform is that it provides the perfect tool for dishonest sellers to create compelling and professional online shops. So compelling and professional that it’s almost impossible for customers to decide if they’re dealing with a fraudster or a real, authorized merchant, which makes it all the easier to fall victim to dishonest sellers.

But what can brands do? How can they protect their customers and their own bottom line?

Online brand protection against grey markets

Contrary to popular belief, online brand protection is not only about fighting counterfeits. In fact, a large part of our job sees us discovering harmful grey market structures along with IP-infringements like image theft or fraudulent domain registrations.

We proactively seek out and eliminate these issues so you don’t even have to think about them - the same principle that Shopify Markets operates on.

A comprehensive online brand protection program is the only way for brands to effectively fight against the disruptions and losses caused by grey markets, fake products or any other IP-infringing incidents.

Brands often don’t realize the lasting harm caused by persistent grey market structures. Our services detect and eliminate these market-distorting formations to save your brand’s revenue, reputation, and even patch up leaks in your distribution network.

- Oliver, Managing Director at globaleyez

Contact us and find out how globaleyez fights grey market structures and any other IP-infringing sellers on your brand’s behalf.

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