A multi language store is one where the store will be translated to the language based on the location of the visitor and the content is translated seamlessly right from the product landing page to product purchase!.
When you expand your language base to more than one language, you are in effect multiplying your audience base! As a Shopify Partner, we get requests all the time to help set-up multilingual stores and here’s a download on how you can go about it.
ASSESS IF A MULTI-LANGUAGE STORE IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Use data analytics to determine if you’re getting significant traffic from regions other than your home country. If you’re already on Shopify, the Shopify Analytics dashboard will come handy :) If not, Google Analytics will get you the insights you need. The conversion rate of your online store for that region/country will see an uptick once the language for that region is integrated. What this means is you’re feeding off existing traffic to your store! However, if you do decide to focus on any region where you don't currently have a customer base in, you will have to invest in marketing your store in that region.
HOW TO GO ABOUT TRANSLATIONS?
The quickest way would be to look at translation apps however these automatic translations are rarely 100% accurate and may reflect poorly on your brand, especially if you're a large and ambitious brand.
If you are willing to invest in the manual translation route, we would recommend opening a separate store for each language or region. This not only gives you independent control over the translation, but your overall content/ offers/ communication can be localised for that market. For example, ‘Christmas’ is popular in the US and there’s 'Sinterklaas' in Netherlands. Even English speaking countries have different terminologies for the same product. What the Brits call a jumper is a sweater/pullover for Americans. Similarly, what's ‘festival’ for Indians is ‘holidays’ for Americans.
Using a single Storefront: (Single storefront/ multiple languages)
If you’re skill keen on running a single storefront (your idea, not our recommendation), you can opt for apps like langify, weglot or transcy that do just the job. You could alternatively use Shopify’s Geolocation app that makes language and country recommendations based on your location
Pros: Easy content management, don't have to pay for multiple times for same apps for multiple stores
Cons: You won't be able to offer localised content, promotions or variable pricing via this.
Using different storefronts for different regions
You can use any IP redirect app to determine the location of your customers and redirect them to the correct storefront. Solutions like Geotargetly (our fav - great support!) help redirect the visitor to these subdomains typically and can be configured by you/your Shopify Partner
Pros: Builds brand identity in other markets and makes it more relatable; You can play with pricing and offers.
Cons: Just managing multiple storefronts can be a handful; however there are workarounds to build a common CMS for updation of products/pricing etc across multiple stores/shops.
In A Nutshell..
Giving an international flavour to your brand and reaching that additional audience is pretty exciting but also a fair amount of work.
In our experience, manual translation for multiple independent stores is best for configuring Shopify in multiple languages.
Do you want to learn more? Follow this blog series and keep an eye out for new posts!