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Localization for E-commerce: How to Engage your Online Shoppers

Author: Janis Locmelis

Localization for E-commerce: How to Engage your Online Shoppers

Historically associated with physical (brick-and-mortar) locations, sales in the modern era are shifting towards online solutions. Whether you are business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business, the role of the e-commerce business model is the same: to allow the sale and purchase of goods and services over the Internet. You can buy almost anything through e-commerce, from a pair of shoes to a star in the sky (yes, you can buy stars online).

What’s more, we are living in the era of COVID-19-related restrictions on public gatheringsincluding shoppingand people working from and spending time at home more than ever before, which is why boosting your online sales is as important as it has ever been. But it’s about more than just opening an online store: there’s a lot of competition and you have to make sure that the store is giving your users an experience that will convert them into customers.

Why you should Localize your Online Store

E-commerce, customer engagement and conversion rates depend not only on the type and quality of the products sold. They are also strongly related to the user-friendliness of and experience on the site.

You should make sure that your online store is easy-to-use for your customers, and that it is available in a language that your buyers understand, in addition to site speed, SEO-optimization, easy access from different types of devices, a clear layout, a streamlined checkout flow, and a variety of convenient and secure payment and delivery methods for your goods and services.

Basically, everything to make the process of purchasing as smooth as possible for users.

Why your Store Should Use your Shoppers’ Native Language

The language used on the site matters a lot when it comes to conversion rates, and this is where localization comes into play. A study by CSA Research suggests that most people want to buy from stores that use their native language.

If we look at Europe specifically, there’s a lot of linguistic diversity, with 24 official languages in the European Union alone and 19 EU countries using the euro currency. The euro is what unites EU shoppers, while language is where the diversity comes in. If you’re running an online store in Europe and want to expand your business, the issue of a localized experience for your shoppers is going to come up sooner or later.

According to a European Commission memo, 33% of EU consumers are willing to buy goods and services in another language. This means that two-thirds of Europeans are unlikely to buy your products online unless the online store is available in their native language. Even if 33% are willing to buy from a website that’s not in their native language, they are still more likely to go from users to customers if they have the option to view the site in the language they’re most comfortable with.

Elements of your Online Store that Should be Localized

Localizing an online store into another language is no easy task, particularly if it is large and complex, with a large number of products and many different features to engage customers.

What you should aim for is a truly localized experience for your customers, so that everything on and around the site and purchasing process is served to your customers in their native language. Specifically, for an online store, this means making sure that translations have been provided for:

  • The homepage

  • All category and product pages, including all product descriptions, reviews, and other content found here

  • All information about the site and making purchases, such as the terms and conditions, the about us page, delivery information, frequently asked questions, information about the payment options, contacts, returns and warranty, order status, privacy policy, etc.

  • The shopping cart and the entire checkout flow, including all notifications, validation and error messages, input placeholders, tooltip messages, information on VAT and any other applicable taxes and charges, discounts, gift card and coupon content, as well as the CTA buttons (Calls to Action), such as ‘Pay’, ‘Confirm’, ‘Go to Checkout’, ‘Place Order’, etc.

  • All customer-facing communication, before and after making the purchase, including the order confirmation email, invoices, shipment email, credit memos, RMA notifications (return merchandise authorization when customers want to return an item), as well as newsletters and the content of text messages and other notifications sent to customers depending on whether they are active and have been set up on your site

  • All banners, and special offer notifications

  • Videos and blogs if featured on your site

  • Product, information on and inside the packaging

  • Any other specific and custom customer-facing functionality on your site

Localizing SEO Content

Remember that, besides the content visible to your shoppers, you should also localize the SEO information on your site. First and foremost, this means that the meta titles and meta descriptions for your pages must be localized.

The meta description is what Internet users see in search results. To boost multinational sales, you want the shoppers from your target countries (using search engines in their native language) to be able to find your site.

Besides simply making sure that the meta descriptions are available in the required language, it is important that the translations be done by a linguist with experience in SEO in order to make sure that the keywords used in the localized descriptions correspond to what people typically search online. Read more about boosting your SEO with localized content in our blog.

How to Approach Localizing your Online Store

Getting all of the required elements localized is no easy task, but the results are worth it. If you are serious about engaging your customers with your site and give them a truly localized experience from start to finish, your customers are more likely to come back for more and more likely to recommend your site to others.

Depending on the e-commerce platform you’re using, you will need to adjust your approach to localization and may need help from the developers building or supporting your site. Popular e-commerce platforms include Shopify, WooCommerce (built on WordPress), BigCommerce, and Magento, to name a few. For example, in WooCommerce, localization can be done via a specific plugin known as WPML. You can read more about it on our website and in our blog. Reach out to AD VERBUM to discuss the best strategy for your platform.

Localizing an Online Store Built on Magento

As an example, let’s look at the aspects to consider when localizing a Magento-based store. Translations for core content, such as default UI components, can be acquired by adding a language pack on top of your base Magento installation (this can be done by your developer).

However, you should keep in mind that you will not find ready-made solutions for all the languages you may need. In addition, anything on your website, which goes beyond the default Magento functionality, such as all product names and descriptions, product reviews, blogs, and just about any custom-coded frontend features or content from third-party extensions will not be covered by the language pack and will need to be translated manually.

Translations for certain elements can be added from the Magento admin panel, but the rest will have to be localized through code. Here you should contact your localization partner to discuss the most optimal approach for your specific store.

If you work with an LSP (Language Service Provider), one of the options may be to get the translatable content exported in an offline file (e.g., in CSV format) where the translations can be provided and the localized file uploaded back to Magento.

Keep in mind that each store is different—even if we’re talking about sites based on the same platform, such as Magento—therefore, it is important that you discuss the approach with the development and localization teams before getting started.


E-commerce plays a key role when it comes to sales in the modern era. Boosting the sales generated by your online store requires quality localization for the content to be delivered to your multinational customers in their native language.

Localizing your online shop, and any website for that matter, means that all customer-facing content must be provided to customers in their language, including the site itself and all the customer-facing communication, such as newsletters, special offers, and emails about the purchase and delivery of the product. The approach to localization may differ based on the e-commerce platform you’re using.

When it comes to the localization of websites and online stores, AD VERBUM has a process in place from the project scale assessment and source content extraction to the implementation of client feedback. We use native linguists, top-notch translation technologies, and our TEP workflow is the perfect choice for your online business. Contact us to help you boost your sales with localized e-commerce content.

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