Building Multi Country Hybrid Store using Drupal and Shopify

November 01, 2017 - 10:46

Drupal and Shopify are best of two worlds. Drupal is one of the most popular and robust content management systems on the planet. Immense digital marketing capabilities of Drupal make it widely acceptable among digital marketers. On the other hand, Shopify is one of the best cloud based ecommerce system for SMB. Leveraging the strengths of these two can bring in great results. Here we will describe the advantages of developing a hybrid Drupal-Shopify store.

Let’s explore the use case we conceptualized in Quick implementation of ecommerce store with Drupal and Shopify:

John’s boutique has a Drupal website and an ecommerce site catering to US audience. As part of his market expansion strategy, John decides to open up stores catering to Australian and French audience. He would love to continue with the existing model of listing products on Drupal platform and placing orders through Shopify. By doing so, he will be able to utilize the digital marketing capabilities of Drupal and order management capabilities of Shopify. But while moving forward, to make this job easy, he needs a more integrated model where Drupal will take care of product catalogue listing for all countries and Shopify used only for checkouts.

The Strategy

Content in Drupal + Checkout in Shopify = Enhanced user experience and improved store management

Drupal-Shopify Hybrid Store

Platforms

In this model, Drupal and Shopify will be implemented side by side with deep integrations between them. Drupal will be the customer experience platform and Shopify will be the ecommerce system. Three Shopify licenses will have to be purchased for the same.

Implementation Model

The current Drupal implementation continue as it is. New country specific websites will be created in it using Multi site capabilities of Drupal. Johnsboutique.com will continue to serve international audience and customers from US. The two newly created websites will be hosted in 2 separate domains: Johnsboutique.com.fr and Johnsboutique.com.au. Drupal and Shopify will be tightly integrated to facilitate exchange of customer data and order details. The product catalog for all countries will be displayed on the corresponding Drupal platform and customers will be diverted to concerned Shopify platform during checkout process. After checkout and payment, they will return back to the Drupal platform. Customer data from Shopify will get stored on Drupal platform and customers can use Drupal for viewing their order details. Country specific landing pages and product pages will be created in Drupal platform to ensure personalized content delivery based on customer location.

Customer Journey

Johnsboutique.com built for US customers will also serve for international audience. Johnsboutique.com.fr and Johnsboutique.com.au will cater to the customers from France and Australia. Based on the Geo IP of customers, customers will visit the country specific portal to view products and place the order. Alternatively, customers can also be prompted to access country specific stores directly. For instance, when a customer from France lands on Johnsboutique.com , there he will see a message prompt that this is a global store and if he wish to visit the store for France, click a button. Once he does that, he will be taken to the newly created website Johnsboutique.com.fr, created using multi site capabilities of Drupal. He can explore the product details there and when he proceeds to checkout, he will be taken to Shopify store of France for payments. Once the order is completed, he will be taken back to Drupal platform itself. Thereafter, he can login to the Drupal platform to access his order details.

Technology Ecosystem

  • Drupal will act as the backbone of this system where all product and customer data will be stored. Different counties will have concerned landing pages and product pages.
  • Shopify stores will be established for all countries. However, customers will use Shopify only during checkouts.
  • Country switcher will be enabled on Drupal platform to divert users based on their countries.
  • Payment gateways will be integrated to Shopify stores as checkout happens here. Each country will have separate payment gateways.
  • Shipping providers will be integrated to Drupal system from where orders are passed.
  • Personalization and Marketing Automation systems will be integrated to Drupal to deliver a personalized marketing experience.

Store Management

Inventory and Product Catalog Management

Inventory across different Shopify stores can be synchronized as well as maintained separate. Usually the product SKU’s will be different for different countries. Product catalog details like description, features, images etc. needs to be updated on Drupal platform. Pricing and tax rules will be configured on Shopify platform.

Order Management

As soon as the order is confirmed, the Shopify will send that order to Drupal system. It is from the Drupal system, the orders are passed to shipping providers.

Customer Management

Customers can be provided dashboards on Drupal system. This will help all users to access from a single point and it ensures unified customer experience across all countries.

Marketing Management

As all the data is available on Drupal platform, marketing automation systems and personalization systems can be integrated to Drupal.

Advantages of Drupal Shopify model

Less go-to-market time

As there are not much developmental efforts when compared to traditional implementation, e-commerce portal can be made live in short span of time.

Low upfront investment

As Shopify delivers its service as a monthly subscription and there is not much developmental efforts needed, upfront investments are on the lower side.

Reduced infrastructure risks

As the ecommerce system is handled by Shopify and is a proven one, merchants no longer have to worry about it.

Up-to-date ecommerce system

As we are using SaaS based ecommerce system, all the updates made by Shopify team will be applied to the system instantly.

Digital marketing enabled system

Using Drupal for product display will help to strengthen the digital marketing capabilities of Drupal.

Informative dashboards

As Drupal serves the purpose of a customer experience platform, the customer data will be displayed on Drupal dashboards. Since the inventory management happens on Shopify, the Shopify dashboards will display inventory and sales data.

The model described above can be used for implementation of Multi Country portal when the budget and go-to-market time are on the lower side. Want to know about other ecommerce platform possibilities?Shopify is a generalized ecommerce system that is built for the masses. If the ecommerce features needs to customized based on business needs, we recommend to go with Drupal commerce itself. Even though the upfront investment and go-to market time are on the higher side, it delivers a scalable and customizable platform that will be a true asset for any growing business.

Zyxware Technologies from its inception in 2006 has built scores and scores of ecommerce stores for our clients worldwide. We design and build sites customized to each business requirement, giving visibility to their unique value proposition and the audience they are catering to. To know more get in touch with us.

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