An online shop must be available in multilingual format in order to reach the greatest number of users. Online trade has the huge advantage of being able to cross the geographical barriers that limit business opportunities for the majority of traditional companies.
Selling in other countries is made possible thanks to e-commerce – but in order to do so, the site must be available in the language of its users in order to obtain the greatest number of sales possible.
Below, we’ll see why it’s so important to offer your online shop in different languages and how you can make your PrestaShop, WooCommerce or Shopify store multilingual.
Why is it important to offer a multilingual option in e-commerce?
Language is a decisive purchasing factor when it comes to online sales. It’s unlikely that a user will end up buying from an online shop that cannot be accessed in their own language (in the majority of cases).
Let’s take a look at a few of the main reasons why virtual shops must be available in the languages of the markets they hope to enter:
To make an online sale, it’s best to reach consumers directly in their own language, as this generates more trust when it comes to accessing product information, shipping conditions, returns policies or payment methods.
An e-commerce business that wants to sell on the German market will see their sales increase if their online shop is available in German, for example.
Offering a greater user experience
With a multilingual online shop, you’ll offer your users a better experience when it comes to browsing your content and product sheets. Only offering your e-commerce site in English is not enough – even though it’s the most widely spoken language in business, many users don’t feel comfortable buying from an e-commerce site that isn’t available in their own language.
Improving web positioning
To achieve a good ranking on Google results pages in the countries in which you hope to sell, your shop must be available in its language – if not, it will never appear in the top rankings.
Projecting an image of professionalism
A multilingual e-commerce site offers a professional and trustworthy image, as users will perceive your business as serious and efficient, capable of operating in various international markets.
The image projected by a shop is very important, as a user’s degree of trust directly influences their purchasing decisions. If a shop projects a professional and serious image, users will be more willing to share their personal information when it comes to making a purchase online.
How to make your Prestashop store multilingual
PrestaShop is one of the most powerful and versatile tools for building your own e-commerce site. The platform itself includes language packs that may be downloaded in order to automatically generate a copy or clone of the e-commerce site.
There are two choices when it comes to implementing a new language: install the language pack alone, or install the language pack and localisation settings (including the currency and taxes corresponding to the country).
This automatic e-commerce translation will only translate the shop or theme’s text, navigation elements, shopping basket and other front-office elements, but will not translate content or product sheets.
How to translate texts and product sheets
Once you’ve translated and localised your PrestaShop store into a new language, you’ll need to proceed to translate the product sheets and other texts found on your e-commerce site.
To translate these texts and products, you’ll need to choose from one of the two following options:
- Through PrestaShop itself, you can sign in with a translator profile to manually modify texts and make them available in the chosen language.
- Using a specialist module for the translation of texts and products in PrestaShop. These PrestaShop plugins also offer automatic text translation, but you’ll need to pay to use them.
How to make a WooCommerce shop multilingual
It is not possible to natively implement multi-language options on WordPress, and as such you’ll need to use a plugin to make your WooCommerce online shop multilingual.
There are several choices when it comes to creating a multilingual online shop:
- Enable Google translator to automatically translate the shop. This is not a particularly professional option, but it is free.
- Use one post and one product for each language from the control panel. This is also free, although it requires a great deal of time and effort, and will require more complex WooCommerce administration.
- Using a multi-site and multilingual plugin – this is the option we recommend, as it is the most efficient and simplest to manage.
How to translate your WooCommerce shop for free
WordPress stands out with its wide range of plugins, and because many of these are offered for free – making it easier to create personalised websites with no significant investment.
With the free Polylang plugin for WooCommerce, you can quickly and easily translate an online shop – for free – to the majority of languages.
This specific plugin for WooCommerce allows you to translate the most important sections of the shop automatically, such as the product sheet, shop pages, categories and the shopping basket, among others. You’ll need to manually translate personalised texts, such as blog entries and other texts.
Polylang is a great option for translating a WooCommerce shop, but if you’re looking for a more advanced and professional option, the WPML plugin should be your first choice (this is a paid plugin).
How to offer your Shopify store in various languages
Shopify is not as flexible and customisable an e-commerce creation tool as PrestaShop or WooCommerce, but, in exchange, it offers many features that simplify a great deal of the work that goes into developing and managing an online shop – such as the option to create multilingual e-commerce sites.
The process for making your Shopify multilingual is very easy:
- Subscribe to the Shopify plan or Advanced plan in order to translate to other languages (two and five languages permitted, respectively).
- Access the Shopify control panel.
- Go to Settings / Shop languages / Translated languages and select the Add languages option.
- Go to Online Shop Settings / Themes / Actions / Edit languages and select Change theme language to change the language of your chosen Shopify theme.
- Install a plugin to translate products and other specific shop sections (such as Translation Lab, Multillinho, LangShop or Langify, among others).
The translation of an e-commerce site is crucial in order to efficiently reach international markets and compete with the online businesses that operate within them.
With the plugins available for Shopify, PrestaShop or WooCommerce, it’s easy to translate and localise a shop to almost any language. However, in order to ensure the best results, its important to combine this type of automatic translation with manual revisions and translations to improve the quality of translations and correct any possible errors.
With a multilingual e-commerce site, you’ll have the ideal tool to increase your customers and sales, crossing geographical barriers that can often be impenetrable for traditional business.