8 Key Areas to Avoid Wasting Time and Money when Localising your Magento eCommerce Site

Online retailers across the world are looking for ways to overcome country and language barriers in order to expand their presence globally and grow their businesses. However, localising your store can represent a significant effort in terms of time and resources, so the key question is whether localisation is worth all the trouble in the first place.

Fortunately, Magento offers robust localisation capabilities, and Technology Partners like Straker Translations, create extensions that simplify and automate the process even further.

Yet, if you want localisation to become a long-term revenue stream, before getting started with translating your content, you will need to design an effective and comprehensive localisation strategy that addresses some key areas fundamental to the success of your site.

These are the 8 key areas you must address:

1. Language

You need to speak the language of your target market, so the first step to localising your Magento e-Commerce website is to add translations into the language(s) of those markets to ensure your message gets through. Magento features a multi-store functionality that allows you to run multiple stores under one installation, and each of those stores can be translated into its own language.

You need to first create additional store views to then add the translations. Once the different store views have been set up, you will need to download the language packs from Magento Connect, which contain translations for standard UI components. Keep in mind that these packs do not contain translations for your products or website- specific content, such as blocks or widgets. Your specific content like this needs to be translated and added separately.

2. Currencies

Another point to take into account when localising your Magento e-Commerce website is that currencies, just like words, also need to be “translated” or converted to reach your target market. Currencies can be easily configured from the Magento administration panel, while preferences, including “default currency” and local domains, are set up at the website level.

3. Payment methods

One of the key factors in localising your Magento e-Commerce website is to offer a product or service that is fully adapted to the market you are trying to reach, which includes offering payment methods that work well in that market. Failing to do so is risky as it might drive customers away from your site.

If you are selling your products across Europe or North America offering payment methods such as PayPal and major debit/credit cards like VISA or MasterCard is a no brainer. However, if you are targeting in Asia, then you may need to explore alternative options such as UnionPay, RuPay and JCB Cards. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You should also consider options such as Direct Debit, eWallets, bank transfers, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay and even pre paid vouchers.

It is important to do some research to find our which payment methods are more widely used in your target market and be sure to offer them to your clients. A good starting point is to check the list of Magento payment integration extensions, where you can find more than 300 alternatives.

4. Shipping

People don’t want to just buy goods, they also want to receive them as soon as possible and in a cost-effective way. Today shipping is not only one of the fundamentals of e-commerce, but an important service quality indicators, which means that an ineffective shipping service might cost you your consumer ratings.

Fortunately, Magento supports a wide range of shipping methods (flat rates, free shipping, table rates, online rates) and carriers. But remember, if the platform is already pre-integrated with world-recognised carries such as DHL, FedEX or UPS, make sure your website shows that you care about shipping by including local alternatives. So if you are planning to expand to the UK you might consider Royal Mail, or Postnord if your target is Sweden, Denmark or Norway. Don’t leave your shipping (and ratings) behind!

PRO TIP: Save your customers clicks with Geo-targeting

Geo-targeting helps determine your visitors’ geolocation to show storefronts in their language, local currency, prices, offers and shipping options relevant to them.

There are several IP-geolocation extensions for Magento (e.g. GEO IP) that can automatically switch the store view, language, and currency based on the visitors’ IP location.

5. Regulatory Requirements

When localising your Magento e-Commerce website, you need to bear in mind that rules and regulations differ from country to country, so you need to research which those are and ensure you comply with them. For example, if you are selling online within the EU zone, you will need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies to all companies selling services or products to customers inside the EU. Read about the 7 principles around GDPR here.

Generally speaking, to comply with regulations you just need to add a few pages on privacy policy or data protection, but sometimes you might need to take some extra steps. To comply with cookie law, for instance, you need to inform your visitors that the site uses cookies. One way to do it is to install one of the extensions available on Magento Marketplace.

6. Layout & Design

Another point to take into account when localising your Magento e-commerce website is that the cultural differences among the markets you are trying to target have an impact on the layout of your site. A colourful site that works well in Latin America might not be the right fit for the Scandinavian market, which tends to favour a more minimalist aesthetic.

This does not necessarily mean that you should redesign your whole site, but it does point out you need to pay attention to cultural cues at the visual level too. In case you regard this part of localization important, we recommend using API-based over Proxy solutions which are limited when it comes to adjusting layout or images.

Finally, remember always to keep in mind that contraction and expansion (i.e. a text becoming shorter or longer when translated into a different language) could potentially impact your site layout.

7. SEO

When turning your site multilingual, you need to consider some important search engine optimisation (SEO) aspects to attract traffic to your site. These include country-level domain, URLs, title tags, metadata descriptions, keywords and Alt tags.

You should also be aware that, although Google is a dominant search engine, there are regions where its use is discouraged or contested. For instance, in China, people prefer to use Baidu.

8. Customer Service

What happens if customers need assistance, but linguistic and cultural barriers are standing in their way? In an effort to answer this question and provide assistance in their customers’ language(s), many companies rush to translate support content, but what they do not realize is that this content might include millions of words. Thankfully, due to advances in translation technology, LSPs (language service providers) can offer varying price and quality levels for more or less visible types of content.

So there you have our 8 key concerns you should address.

Our best advice is that you plan ahead and take time to devise a workable localisation strategy for your support content. Anticipate your customers’ queries and keep them happy! If you would like to learn more about our solutions, just contact us here, we will be happy to help!

The Straker Magento Extension

The Ultimate Extension for Localising your Magento Website

The Magento Straker extension easily translates products, attributes, categories, pages and blocks, offering you complete control and flexibility to select content, which can be published directly with no need to export and import CSV files. Plus, it has a friendly UI and it is easy to use, even for those unfamiliar with Magento. By using this free component your teams will save time, energy and money, so be sure to check it out. 

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