However, according to the study ‘can’t read, won’t buy’ – 55% of people prefer to purchase in their own language and 60% of people rarely or never buy on English-only websites.
So, whatever you’re selling online, you’d be cheating yourself out of a major market opportunity by not aiming to sell abroad.
Why sell internationally?
For one, the international cross-border ecommerce market is estimated to surpass the €881 billion ($994 billion USD) mark in 2020, showcasing an impressive growth within just the last 5 years.
One of the key reasons businesses start selling internationally is to increase the number of potential clients they can sell to. This also helps open up new revenue sources, so you’re not just relying on one market.
If you’re selling in another country, there’s also a chance there might be less competition too. For example, you might be competing in a crowded market within your home country, but there could be plenty of growth outside of that.
And, there’s also the positive point that your products will have a longer lifespan. Say you sell coats, sales will naturally dip at certain points of the year in certain markets, but your product will be a necessity in other countries.
Creating a multilingual Shopify store
If you’re looking to expand into different markets, you’ll naturally be looking to translate your Shopify store into more than one language.
And, to do this, you wouldn’t want to have to create several different websites, which would be both time-consuming in terms of website management, and more to the point, expensive.
Luckily for Shopify users, there are a number of different multilingual translation apps (all with varying levels of sophistication) that can integrate with your store to make displaying and translating different languages and currencies smoother and simpler.
Let’s take a look at three translation solutions to help you start selling internationally.
Weglot allows you to customize and manage the translations of all of your Shopify content – including everything you’ve created using other Shopify apps.
During the simple setup process, you’ll just need to enter your email to connect your Shopify site to the Weglot platform. After that, you’ll be asked to enter the language your store is currently in, and the language(s) you’d like to translate it to.
Then use Weglot’s simplified interface to manage and edit any of your translations, or order additional professional translations if required.
Other notable features include:
- Multilingual SEO optimized with translated metadata, dedicated URLs and Hreflang tags automatically implemented
- Language auto redirection, to display the page in the visitor’s language automatically
- Customizable language switcher button
- Dedicated support service
The translation process also extends to checkout and email translations – including seamless invoicing integration to send documents in the customer’s language.
Pricing: Starting from €9.90 month for 1 language and 10,000 words. Free version available for 1 language and 2,000 words.
GTranslate leverages Google Translate and Bing’s automatic translation services to translate and display your Shopify site into more than 100 different languages.
The app’s full capabilities are only available by purchasing the Pro version. Note, editing translations and multilingual SEO options are not part of the free plan.
Once you’ve upgraded to the paid version you’ll have access to a dashboard where you can manually edit all your automatic translations and track your translation traffic.
If you require more advanced customization of your language switcher you’ll need the help of the GTranslate team or some code experience.
Pricing: €5.99 a month for unlimited words and 1 language. Free version available but with limited capabilities.
Langify is a translation app that displays your translated content on your Shopify store – without the need for multiple sites per language. It does not, however, automatically translate your website content like Weglot and GTranslate.
The app manages only pre-translated content, so you will need to provide your translations yourself. Therefore, the set-up process may be time-consuming for the average user.
Notable features include automatic language detection – customers will be automatically redirected to their preferred language, and, a new domain for each language, with Hreflang tags and translated metadata.
However, with Langify, not all of the checkout process can be fully translated. The product name and customer payment info will remain in the original language, including any notifications.
Pricing: $17.50 a month.
Which Shopify translation app is right for your business?
There are a number of considerations to take when deciding which translation app is best for your Shopify store. Often people can be swayed by price and in the long run, end up with more problems than solutions.
It’s important to choose a translation app that can scale and grow with your store and actually translates all the content from the product pages to the checkout process, to give your customers a seamless buying experience.
Other areas of consideration include:
- Supported Languages
Most plugins advertise support for dozens of languages, which is impressive, but this doesn’t tell you which exact languages are supported. Always check the app’s website to confirm the languages you need are actually available.
This includes any languages you might want in the future.
- Machine vs Human Translations
With Shopify translation apps, there are two primary methods of translation available – machine translation and human translation, or in some cases, just the ability to display your translated content.
- Ease of Use
If you’re not a developer and you’re tasked with translating your own website, then you’ll want a translation app that’s intuitive and easy to use, and doesn’t require any extra coding.
No one wants to have to deal with code or translation packages when translating your site, so find a plugin that’s going to make the process a breeze.
- Design and Customization
How does the plugin affect the design of your site – does the translation app let you customize how your language switcher looks on the front-end of your site?
Check that the Shopify translation app you’re thinking about using follows Google SEO best practices.
Translated content on your Shopify store, together with translated meta titles, and meta descriptions, enable you to target a broader range of keywords. This boosts your chance of being ranked in SERPs for Google, as well as other search engines more popular in other countries.
- Updates and Support
Setting up translations for the first time might seem like a minefield, so it’s important to consider whether you might need access to set-up guides, documentation and/or premium support.
Free plugins generally don’t provide support, so you’ll have to check support forums.
Test and make your own opinion – use the Weglot 10-day free trial period to check if it fits your needs.