• London

    Sweeps Building, 6-7 St Cross Street,
    London. EC1N 8UA

  • New York

    442 Broadway, 2nd Floor,
    New York, NY 10013

Secrets To Building a Successful Multilingual E-commerce Store

Shopify Plus Advice|20.08.2018

Display your store in more than one language to reach an international audience and dramatically increase your sales…

If you want to experience global growth and reach an international audience, coupled with a dramatic increase in sales, building a multilingual store is critical to your success. 

If you choose just one other language or region, you’ll pretty much double the amount of customers that come to your store. But, there’s a lot to consider, like implementing multilingual landing pages, product descriptions, blog content, tailored payment processes, marketing content, emails, design, invoices, international SEO and more. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered...

As mentioned here, we have launched multiple international e-commerce stores for international brands, and have become well known for our expertise in this area. 

We support our clients in assessing whether or not they need to take the multilingual route, based on their current customer data and guide them through the process of going global, every step of the way. 

This article contains all the information you need to get started when creating a multilingual store. 

In-depth data analysis with Google Analytics

An in-depth data analysis must first be done to determine if you need a multilingual store for your e-commerce brand.

You can use Google Analytics to seek out your super fans and figure out exactly which regions are generating the most traffic. Use the “location overview” section and find out where the largest amount of customers are visiting from. As an example, you delve into the location overview stats and find out 30% of your visitors are flocking from Portugal but your content isn’t in Portuguese, how will they understand product descriptions and navigate their way to checkout? 

What is a multilingual store & why should you consider this route?  

A multilingual store is an online store which translates to the correct language according to the location of the visitor and accommodates accordingly to their region. Helping your customers to understand what it is you are offering and give them direction in navigating to the checkout.  

With a multilingual store, you will expand on your customer base, and open up the opportunity to engage and inspire the right customers globally. 

You’ll need to translate content throughout the customers’ buying journey, from landing pages, right the way through to thank you emails. This will help you to offer a seamless flow throughout your store, in multiple languages. And, as a result, dramatically increase traffic, revenue and sales. 

It just makes sense, if customers don’t have to spend time translating product descriptions, then they are more likely to better understand what it is you’re selling and will find it easier to purchase from your brand.

The best translation method

Automatic translation apps like Google Translate might seem like the quickest and easiest option, but they are not ideal for e-commerce brands. They will struggle to pick up your tone of voice, and the style of each language gets lost in translation.

Instead, we advise you to take the manual translation method, it’s not a quick process, but in the long run, you’ll see better results. The manual translation method involves building individual stores for each region and language you want to attract. 

This method allows you to fully control each store, ensuring that you are putting the right message across to your visitors. A brand should hire a native language content writer per country rather than Google translating content which runs the risk of producing nonsense. 

The manual translate method means that everything within your store will automatically translate depending on the visitor’s IP address, and native speakers will be able to convey the brand message in the correct tone and style. Making it easier for potential overseas customers to easily navigate your store; all the way to checkout. 

Use an IP Redirect to direct traffic

We recommend using an IP redirect app, to detect your visitors’ location and redirect them to the right shop. These apps allow you to show messages saying things like, “It looks like you’re in France, click here to go to our French store!”. Or, you can automatically take them to the French store without asking.

Be more globally relevant 

Having a multilingual store will help your brand to become more multicultural and globally relevant. Because of this, your potential overseas customers will feel as though they can relate to, and trust your brand more when you consider their individual, cultural needs. 

Simply using the correct terminology your audience is used to digesting boosts trust and sales. As an example, English people use the term “jumper”, rather than the American term “sweater”.  If an English person visits an online store, they are more likely to trust and purchase from you if you describe the item as a jumper rather than a sweater. 

Not only this, but your marketing campaigns can be tailored to target different regional seasons and occasions; if you only want to sell certain products in a particular country, you can manipulate the inventory as much as you want to create region specific content.  

International SEO

Being searchable in different regions and languages is critical to reaching an international audience. 

In order to rank highly in search engines across the globe, you need a strong international SEO strategy and having a different website for each language and region (by using the manual translation method), is a great contribution to your international SEO strategy.

By having individual websites per region and language, let’s say French for an example, Google will see it as an actual French website, so potential customers in France will see your store in their search engines. 

Take some time to research into what your international customers would most commonly look for in a domain, e.g. “.com” Or, do they look for “.fr”? 

You should then make sure your URL structure is clean and region specific; making it easier for regional search engines to pick up your website. And, don’t just think about Google, check to see which search engines your fans use.

Ideally, a brand should have an SEO expert who can configure language tags and create unique SEO content in multiple languages.

Google language versions

To increase your visibility and attract as many visitors as possible, you need to be indexed by Google and other international search engines. 

Google has different versions for each specific country and language, offering brands lots more opportunity in different developing countries. Submit each of your websites into Google’s Search Console so that Google knows specifically which country your website is trying to reach. 

To find out how to do this correctly, please visit Google’s recommendations here.

Unique content
Every little bit of content you create in a different language, needs to be unique and specific to each country and language; if it isn’t, Google might not rank it. Be creative and look at current trends happening in your new international target audiences’ cultural world. 

Of course, you also need to think about keyword strategy, external linking strategy, and everything else you’d normally focus your efforts on for SEO.

Conclusion 

Going global with your brand and reaching an international audience is exciting, it can open up a whole new world of opportunities and can double your web traffic, revenue and sales. But, it can be a very complex process. 

A multilingual store is an online store which perfectly accommodates to different languages, regions and cultural differences. It does this according to the location of the visitor, and optimises the store to specifically meet their needs.

The most important part of this process is to make sure that your international audience can understand and easily navigate your store; from it’s landing page through to checkout. 

In our opinion, the manual translation method, (building a new website per language and region), works best for seamless language translation, and to help your brand reach more customers by being culturally sensitive. Additionally, having a seperate website per language and region will help your brand to rank highly in search engines across the globe. 

However, don’t dive in too quickly, you need to be sure that going global and building multilingual stores is the right way forward for your brand. Before investing time and money in resources, complete an in-depth data analysis to determine if it’s right for your brand.

Do your research, understand where exactly your overseas customers are coming from (if you have any), and get to know what it is you need to do to convert them to be loyal customers. 

 

How can we help?

Get in touch to discuss your e-commerce ambitions and we’ll help you get there.

Get in touch