In my previous post International Webshop – Get 40% More Sales! 1/2 I showed you the vast potential that you are missing if you don’t go global and start to think BIG! Today, I’ll show you what action needs to be taken to succeed on the international market, give tips for an international web shop, and why you can do that best, at a shop based on WooCommerce, with our MultilingualPress plugin.


The goal is to provide international buyers with an online shopping experience that does not differ from their normal, familiar shopping experience. This allows to compete with the local competitors and raise your revenue.

According to the Common Sense Advisory study, more than half of consumers in France, Germany and China prefer to buy on websites in their own language. But that’s not all: effective localization is not just language. For example, over 48% of Payvision retailers surveyed said that the possibility of multiple currencies increased cross-border sales. In addition, secure payment methods and customer support in the respective national language are among the most important success factors for cross-border success.

  • 76% of international customers prefer online shops in their own language
  • 26% of French and 21% of German online shoppers prefer not to order abroad – because of fear of having communication problems.
  • 60% of customers expect to be addressed in their own language.
  • 56% of customers claim to receive information in their own language is more important than the price.
  • 42% of customers have never bought online in a foreign language.
  • 14% shy away from payments in foreign currency.
  • 9 out of 10 Internet users prefer to visit a website in their own language.
  • $ 1 -> $ 25 With an investment of $1, you can average $25 in revenue.

In e-commerce, localization goes far beyond website translation. It’s about identifying with your audience on a level that goes far beyond spoken language: it means understanding their buying behavior and responding to their preferences to build trust. If you want to attract the masses, you literally have to speak their language. There is no way around it!

As stated above, more than 2/3 of consumers only buy from websites displaying information in their native language. This means that not translating your website has a significant impact on sales.

Large global brands can already achieve a high international turnover with an English-speaking web shop due to their reputation. For most retailers, however, it is advisable to present their online shop in the local language of the target market. Because according to research by OC & C Strategy Consultants, PayPal and Google, the fact that a website is not available in the language of the buyer is a key reason for online shoppers to avoid overseas online stores. In addition, product descriptions and other relevant content in the local language improve the search engine ranking, which is critical to consumer visibility. Ultimately, the goal of your website must be to build trust and turn visitors into shoppers.

How to create an international web shop: 12 To do’s for a successful localization

Research reveals that globally, 77.5 percent of online retail orders were abandoned in the first quarter of 2015. This shows that there is a lot of ground to be gained by retailers in order to convert their visitors more effectively.

1. Selecting the right market
2.Optimized e-commerce translation
3. Size and currency conversion
4. Local Marketing & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
5. Search terms used by buyers
6. International payments
7. Build up trust
8. Optimize shipping options – Drop Shipping
9. Local terms and conditions
10. Take care of local holidays and traditions
11. Establish local customer support
12. Just do it! Get started and testing

1. Selecting the right market

The most effective and profitable way to expand into new markets is the careful selection of resources to ensure a successful market entry. Online shopping depends a lot on trust. Therefore, the first question, before even thinking about localization, should be: which markets offer reasonable opportunities to build a profitable business within a feasible timeframe?

Do also not forget to analyze the search frequency of your products in the new markets. We also recommend a comparison of product prices, cost per click (CPC), average cost of running an AdWords campaign, and CPO (cost per order, quality of a marketing measure).

And if you can’t figure out, just start with No. 12 in our list.

2. Optimized e-commerce translation

Start to translate your website, the content, buttons, product description, images and so on. Use professional services for content translation and try to localize literally everything!

With MultilingualPress, it’s an easy thing to do. Unlike other multilingual solutions, MultilingualPress is based on WordPress multisite and therefore very flexible. You can literally translate everything to the corresponding language, since each language is completely separated in a Site within a Multisite. After creating a Site for the new specific language you can create a new product, based on the source product, which is in English for example. So all information will already be included, like technical information, product images, description, name and so on. After that, you can start to translate the description of the product on your own or you use our free plugin translationManager to use a professional translation service like Eurotext. That way you just need to push the content in the original language in your backend to the translationManager. Then Eurotext will translate the content professionally to the new language and push the content to the new translated product. Easy as it is.

3. Size and currency conversion

It’s often helpful to imagine how a customer goes into a store to figure out what he expects from your web shop. A customer in a physical store expects to read price tags in the local currency and identify quantities that are common to the country in which he lives. The display of prices in local currency is a must! Sizing is another important factor in the buying decision: A size 8 from the UK or Australia is 4 in the US and 36 in most parts of Europe. If you do not want to resize all sizes now, due to the size models of each country, then the easiest way to create transparency is to use a conversion table.

With MultilingualPress, you can easily use whatever currency or size model you want, since all settings of each Site can be adjusted separately in each shop. Again, the great flexibility of Multisite comes into play. Just select on each Site in the WooCommerce settings which currency and what size model should be used in each language.

4. Local Marketing & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Consider, that Google is not ruling all over the world! Optimize your website in the respective language to the most popular search engine in the corresponding country. Here is a list of some of the strongest markets for their most popular search engines:

  • China: Alibaba
  • USA: Google
  • Western Europe: Google
  • Japan: Yahoo
  • Russia: Yandex

With MultilingualPress, not only the already known flexibility of Multisite is an advantage to optimize each shop in each language exactly how it should be for the most popular search engines in the respective country. Another great MultilingualPress advantage is that it works without any performance loss comparing to popular plugins with one site solutions. That’s because MultilingualPress only loads the one language the user requests, instead of loading all languages and just showing the requested language. Better performance leads to better SEO ranking. And also to better sales, since no customer likes to wait for a page to load. In fact, 25 percent of users will leave a web page if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. Every second your site delays to fully load, customer satisfaction drops 16 percent. And a new research by Google has found out that 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a webpage doesn’t load within three seconds. That’s a whopping number!

5. Search terms used by buyers

Translating terms such as “Pants” or “Thongs”, which have different meanings in different variants of English, is not always considered. However, this is becoming increasingly important on mobile devices. Smartphone users are more likely to search than on desktops. Therefore, the exact naming of the categories is crucial for a good experience.

6. International payments

67% of respondents in a ComScore survey indicated that a variety of payment options besides credit cards are most important. In some countries, credit card payments are not the “norm”. For example, in Belgium, 27% of transactions are transacted through Bancontact / MisterCash. For example, direct debits and online banking transfers are much more common in Germany or the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the vast majority of buyers (55%) use iDEAL. In Germany, payment methods such as giropay and Sofortüberweisung have gained in popularity (28%).

Research by Ingenico Payment Services shows that 59% of online shoppers have canceled a purchase if their preferred payment option has not been offered.

In China, third-party cash on delivery and payment solutions, including Union Pay (54% of market share), Alipay (Alibaba) and Tencent (Tenpay / WeChat payment), are very popular. And if you’re wondering why you should be interested in Chinese consumer behavior? Because you should see them as potential buyers of your products! Up to 2 weeks for cross-border delivery are considered acceptable for Chinese consumers.They especially like upper class products and quality. The Chinese market is too huge to not care about it.

Most popular payment forms

  • China: eWallets
  • USA: Credit/debit
  • UK: Bank cards
  • Japan: Bank cards
  • Germany: Bank transfer

With MultilingualPress, you have the possibility to activate only the necessary payment method for each country, instead of showing all payment methods, which you are providing for all countries you are selling your products to. Thanks again to the flexibility of Multisite.

7. Build up trust

It’s important to enhance trust from the first visit to the check-out. In addition, a local trust mark (e.g. the badge of a national e-commerce association) increases trustworthiness which will continue to increase if you get local customer product reviews.

With MultilingualPress, it’s an ease to use different third party review systems or just show reviews only in the corresponding language. Of course, if you have badges, which are only popular in certain countries, like Trusted Shops, you only have to install their plugin on the necessary Site. So it won’t be displayed or drag performance speed in languages where it’s not needed.

8. Optimize shipping options – Drop Shipping

Stay competitive by finding a reliable logistics partner who can also help establishing a customer-friendly return process.

The way in which consumers wish to receive their order varies from country to country. In most European countries people value free delivery as more important than quick delivery – except for shoppers from Germany and the Nordic countries. German shoppers prioritize fast delivery and being offered the choice of a time-slot, whereas the French and the British seem to value this option less.

Nowadays there are a lot of Drop Shipping companies out there, which are perfect to have your products already stored in the local market to make sure having a fast delivery. Maybe just start with your Top-Seller, so you can make sure, those get shipped very fast. Also having a premium shipping partner enables you to have competitive shipping time, since some of them offer next day or 2-3 days intercontinental shipping. International shipping is now much faster than it has been 10 years ago.

With MultilingualPress, you only install and activate the shipping method, which you need for the specific country. So everything stays clean and lean, since you don’t have to provide or display several shipping methods, which are not applying to all of your customers.

9. Local terms and conditions

Adjust the terms and conditions and all legal requirements. Also, translate your terms and conditions to create transparency. What are the exact costs, what are the estimated shipping times, how is the return process going? For example, ComScore found that 23% of customers left the basket because they did not know the return policy. Retailers can significantly reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase their conversion rates by implementing streamlined and clear delivery and return policies. In addition, 61% value that the estimated delivery date and shipping costs are communicated early in the purchase process.

10. Take care of local holidays and events

Don’t forget to make use of local holidays and cultural events to boost attention!

With MultilingualPress, comparing to one site solutions, you can easily setup sales just for a specific country or setup sales for several countries with different terms. Also you can change the theme and look and feel just for specific countries on each Site. For example change your normal theme to an Oktoberfest Theme for a week, just for the German website. So, it’s up to you, change whatever and wherever you like.

11. Establish local customer support

The next step is to have a local customer support. But of course, this doesn’t need to be right away and can be tackled in the next phase to go global. But to establish in a new country and be successful on long term and really optimize everything, your customer service should ideally provide native customer support agents, who are available at locally appropriate hours.

12. Just do it! Just start and test!

To start global, you don’t have to go the full mile! Just start small. With Multisite and MultilingualPress it is very easy to start small when going BIG.

With MultilingualPress, just create a new Site within your Multisite. Then create a landing page and display only your 5-10 topsellers. If you see it goes well, add some more or create a whole new shop for the new language. However, you don’t have to create a complete shop right away, it’s easy to do some testing, if the market is interesting for you and you can find potential buyers!

Get a Pro!

I hope I was able to show you what is important to create an international web shop and you realize that not only the translation into another language is important to succeed in a new market. If you need professional help for the development of a multisite with best practice and optimal implementation, then contact us, we are the experts worldwide in terms of multilingualism and multisite. Scalability is not a challenge for us but passion!

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