- July 26, 2021
- Posted by: Emeline Jamoul
- Categories: Content Strategy, Translation
There are no set rules to get more sales for your ecommerce store. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already seeing success in your monolingual store sales:
- Your audience is properly setup
- Your funnels convert highly
- Your pricing is good enough to keep sales coming in
That said, you might be wondering how much more sales a multilingual ecommerce site could bring you.
A multilingual ecommerce website is a valuable tool that can help you build your customer base and gain a competitive edge. When done well, it can help you stand out from the masses and attract customers from all around the world.
However, these customers need to understand what you’re selling. In fact, studies have shown that 76% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language, and 40% will never buy from websites that are not in their native language.
If you’re struggling to reach markets beyond your country’s borders, then multilingual website translation might be the solution you’re looking for to help you take the next step and increase the reach and impact of your store.
In this post, we’ll look at what a multilingual ecommerce website is, and why localised website translation is so important. We’ll also discuss the benefits of having your ecommerce website translated into multiple languages and why it’s a worthwhile investment for your business.
Any questions about translating your ecommerce website? We help online stores increase sales with localised website copy. Get in touch!
What is a multilingual ecommerce website?
A multilingual website is a site that is available in multiple languages. It’s important to make a clear distinction here between an international and multilingual website. Although these two words are often used interchangeably, there’s a significant difference between the two:
An international ecommerce website is written with an international audience in mind, though it may be predominantly written in English (perhaps with some translated pages in other languages).
With a multilingual ecommerce website translation, the entire customer journey is in their language: the product pages, the homepage, and every customer touch point has been translated accordingly.
With a multilingual website, visitors can be made to feel like they’re connecting with somebody local to them, which improves communication, increases trust, and places your brand in a positive light.
It’s not necessarily a low-cost endeavour, and you’ll want to get some idea of translation ROI before you invest. But whilst the concept of creating a multilingual ecommerce website might initially seem daunting, the efforts required, and the cost of translating a website, are minimal when you consider the potential benefits for the bottom line of your business.
Why is localised website translation important for ecommerce?
According to recent statistics, although there are around 1.3 billion English speakers on the planet, only around 360 million of these speak English as a first language. That’s only about 27%. This means that there’s potentially a huge untapped market who are only buying from websites in their native language.
Cross-border ecommerce is on the rise, and a multilingual ecommerce website is what you need to stay relevant and attract customers to your site. Aside from the obvious benefits in terms of sales, multilingual e-commerce sites also help you capture search traffic from people searching in the languages you translate the website to.
A good example of a successful and effective multilingual ecommerce site is Etsy. Etsy has a global presence, so it offers its website in a range of languages including English, German, Spanish, and French. They offer a fully localised experience in which users can freely choose their region, the currency of their choice, and their language.
Image source: etsy.com
This means customers are not only able to enjoy a smooth experience in using the website in their favoured language but, unlike some ecommerce sites which tie language strictly to location, also ensures somebody living in a foreign country is still able to fully enjoy the site.
Advantages of a multilingual ecommerce website
Non-English markets are less competitive than English ones. That means the ad spend is lower, and ranking on Google is easier. Plus, a multilingual ecommerce website allows you to communicate with a global market, and connect with potential customers from previously unexplored markets – enabling you to attract new website visitors, increase sales, and build a loyal customer base.
We’ll go into more detail on the following benefits of having a multilingual ecommerce website below:
- Engaging a wider customer base
- Building trust and promoting loyalty
- Improving SEO
- Optimising conversion rates
- Gaining a competitive advantage
- Improving customer experience
Let’s take a look at these benefits in a bit more detail…
1. Engaging a wider customer base
Simply put, the more languages your ecommerce website is available in, the more visitors who’ll be able to find your site, understand it, and who’ll feel confident enough to buy from you.
If you’ve ever browsed a Japanese ecommerce site as a non-speaker and been baffled to the point of clicking away – and not buying whatever cool item it was that attracted you there in the first place – then you’ll understand that this is likely the experience some of your potential customers are facing when they come to your website if it’s not catering to their language.
A website that exists only in the English language is effectively shutting out nearly 75% of internet users. Imagine the potential for your business if you can make even a tiny fraction of those people customers.
2. Building trust and promoting loyalty
Making an online purchase can be frightening for people, especially when it’s not with a brand they recognise or they’re visiting a site for the first time. It stands to reason that this reluctance to trust an unfamiliar ecommerce site with your credit card details won’t be helped by a language barrier.
Aside from the obvious obstacles, such as not knowing what products are on offer and what payment and delivery terms are like, there’s also the question of it being harder for a potential customer to connect with you if they don’t understand your brand values.
On the flip side, when people do form a connection with your brand, and when you gain their trust, they’re more likely to become loyal customers.
Adding support for extra languages to your ecommerce website is a great way to establish trust and increase loyalty.
3. Improving SEO
Designing a beautiful website is all well and good, but it’s a waste of time if nobody can find you. The next step after you build your website is doing everything you can to improve its ranking. Assuming you want it to appear on the first page of Google, you’ll need to make sure you optimise your use of keywords for SEO.
A multilingual ecommerce website can boost your SEO ranking in other countries. In fact, for each extra language your ecommerce site is available in, you improve your chances of rising the ranks in those countries, provided you make the same effort with keywords you made in your original language.
4. Optimising conversion rates
The ultimate goal of any ecommerce site is to drive traffic and increase the conversion rate. Put simply, you want people to visit your site, and you want them to make a purchase, not just browse. It’s far easier to keep people engaged and lead them to the point of purchase when you speak their language.
The higher your conversion rate, the more visitors will interact and engage with your site. One effective way to increase your conversion rate is by providing website translation and localisation. In fact, studies have shown that localised content can generate up to a 20% higher engagement rate with consumers preferring to use their native language when shopping online.
Provide localised content and those conversion rates will soar.
5. Gain a competitive advantage
Implementing a multilingual ecommerce website is also a great way to get ahead of your competitors, especially if they don’t offer one themselves. You’ll give yourself a better chance of reaching a much larger audience, giving you a competitive edge.
Though, as more businesses come to see the benefits of a multilingual approach, the chances of gaining a meaningful advantage become smaller. So you must begin the process of translating your website sooner rather than later to see the greatest benefit.
6. Improved customer experience
A key reason to embrace a multilingual approach to your ecommerce business is the positive effect it can have on your customer experience.
UX is such an important part of ecommerce, you must make the buyer experience as smooth and straightforward as possible. You’re far more likely to make sales when your product descriptions and every aspect of the checkout process is translated. The alternative is confusing, slow, and off-putting to consumers, as they attempt to use (often inaccurate) services like Google translate to stumble through a site in a language they don’t understand.
Furthermore, by offering your site in various languages, as part of a user-friendly UX design, you’re showing the customer that you care about the experience they have with your website. It shows that you value their visit and this will contribute to better customer retention, improved reviews, increased traffic, and, what matters the most: increased sales.
Ecommerce website translation: key takeaway
We’re no longer limited by geographic borders and local markets and this is reflected in the way we do business online. The pandemic has given a boost to ecommerce in general, and now even those in the population who were previously reluctant to buy online are being habituated to online shopping.
There’s a growing, global demand and yet, so much of ecommerce is still done in English.
A multilingual website can help boost your customer reach, expand your ecommerce business on an international scale, and give you a competitive advantage.
There’s no denying that website translation and localisation is a worthwhile experience with a potentially huge return on investment. It’s kind of a no-brainer if you do business internationally: the more languages you offer your products in, the larger your potential target audience.
And the more you localise and adapt your content to the various markets around the world, the more people will purchase from you. Your website needs to walk and talk like a native speaker, though.
The key is choosing a translation agency that understands who you are as a business, who your customer base is, and what makes you unique. You also need an agency that understands the importance of integrating SEO into the translation process.
After all, the translation agency you end up choosing could determine the success of your ecommerce business on a global scale.
Any questions about translating your ecommerce website? Get in touch with us, it’s kind of what we do!