Should You Translate Your Ecommerce To Reach New Markets?

2019/04/29 08:00

translate your ecommerce

To increase your sales, you may want to consider creating a multilingual site.

Thanks to the many technological advancements that we have experienced over the last decade, the way that we shop, do business and socialise has changed completely.

With the click of a button, we can have access to almost any product or service but this also means that ecommerce has become a highly competitive space, with innovation and forward thinking being a key requirement in order to stand out and stay ahead of the competition. For many ecommerce brands, going global has become the next obvious step on this journey.

According to eMarketer, worldwide online sales are set to reach over $4 trillion by 2020, which will represent over 14% of all retail sales worldwide.

ecommerce translate

With these being said, consumers are still reporting a number of issues and limitations, with a lack of adequate translation being one of the biggest complaints. A Consumer Barometer survey carried out by Google showed that a lack of translation was a shopping hurdle for many consumers – for some it was a complete deal breaker.

ecommerce translations

The Pitney Bowes Global Shopping Study that was conducted in 2015 showed that 30% of shoppers across 12 countries were discouraged from making a purchase if they couldn’t read through a description in their native language.

To further emphasise the importance of a multilingual website, data from Internet World Stats showed that only 26% of the world’s population speaks English. This means that ecommerce brands are potentially missing out on a lot of business purely because they haven’t translated their sites.

By translating your ecommerce site, you are providing customers with an even better user experience, which will further encourage them to convert.

Ecommerce Translation – Is It Worth It?

Every online store is different and what works for one may not work for another, so how do you know whether translating your online store is going to be worth your while?

Translation is necessary for the following situations:

  1. If you are currently competing with translated online stores that are offering the same or similar products to you
  2. Your store lacks a competitive advantage such as free delivery or low prices

It’s not always necessary to translate your store in the following situations:

  1. You are the only store selling your products or services
  2. If your website doesn’t use complex English or lengthy descriptions

If you do make the decision to go ahead with the translation, it’s important to get an idea of the required increase in sales to justify the translation. You may even find that translating a specific group of products is a better approach than attempting to translate your entire site. Your website analytics will provide you with a lot of the information you need to make this decision. Find out what products are generating the most traffic, whether or not the sale of specific products is coming from a particular country and if there are organic traffic opportunities that you could be taking advantage of.

Ecommerce Translation – Getting Started

If you feel that translating your online store is the right next step, here are a few ways to get started.


  • Outline the countries you should be focusing on. Knowing which countries are driving the most traffic to your site will give you an idea of the languages you should be focusing on.
  • Find a translation service. Next, you will need to find a translation service that specialises in online copy and ecommerce stores. You may also want to have someone available to double check all of the copy before you go live.
  • Don’t forget about SEO. Since you want to show up in local search results, don’t forget to adapt your site’s meta tags too.
  • Pay attention to the details. As you translate your site, don’t forget to take smaller details such as metric and imperial units into consideration.
  • Create engaging content in different languages. If reaching audiences from different countries is important to you, be sure to create engaging content that’s specific to each language too.
  • Don’t forget about customer support. Customers that prefer to shop in a specific language will want to receive support in that same language too, so make sure that your customer support team can cater to this need. You may find that you’ll need to outsource your support to different countries.


Ecommerce is a lucrative global opportunity that gives brands the chance to expand in a short amount of time. However, being successful means knowing your market and catering to their specific requirements. Brands that take the time and effort to localise their sites and offer a more user-friendly experience are the brands that have the greatest chance of thriving in a competitive space.