Running an eCommerce store lets you reach shoppers from around the world. But unless you can communicate with those visitors, you might be missing out on sales at your store.
In this post, we'll discuss the benefits of creating a multilingual WooCommerce store. Then, we'll show you step-by-step how to create a WooCommerce multilingual store using the Weglot plugin for WordPress.
This tutorial will work for both your regular WooCommerce shop pages, checkout page, custom post types, as well as any order forms or product tables that you've created with WooCommerce Product Table or any other Barn2 plugin. It's the easiest way to create a multilanguage website.
Why do you need a multilingual WooCommerce store?
According to the latest stats, about 75% of the world's 4+ billion people on the Internet use a language other than English.
If your store ships globally, that means you're going to have shoppers that almost certainly speak a different language than your online store's native language.
Having shoppers who speak different languages isn't just an issue for global eCommerce stores, though.
You'll also find lots of different languages spoken in small geographic areas. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that almost 45% of families in California speak a language other than English at home.
So why do those two statistics matter for your store?
Well, as you'd expect, most people prefer to shop in their native language. According to a Gallup survey commissioned by the European Union, 42% of respondents never search or buy products in a language other than their own, and 38% only "occasionally" shop in other languages.
Put those two numbers together and it's pretty clear that people prefer to shop in their native language. So by creating a WooCommerce multilingual store, you make your store more appealing to shoppers who speak different languages and give yourself a chance to convert shoppers who previously might've skipped your store.
Multilingual e-commerce SEO opportunities can get you new shoppers, too
Beyond the benefit to your store's usability and conversion rate for existing shoppers, creating a WooCommerce multilingual store also gives you a chance to reach more shoppers in the first place by expanding your reach in search engines like Google.
See, when you use the right WordPress multilingual plugin, you'll be able to rank your product pages in Google for new languages. This isn't possible if you use a tool like Google Translate.
This can have a big effect on your traffic. For example, let's say you sell handmade soap.
In English, "handmade soap" gets about 5,000 searches per month in Google. But maybe you see that "Jabon hecho a mano" - "handmade soap" in Spanish - gets 1,500 searches per month.
By translating your product page from English to Spanish, you now have a chance to reach 6,500 people per month (English + Spanish), instead of the 5,000 people from before.
You can see how eCommerce-juggernaut Etsy uses this strategy to expand the reach of their product pages in Google:
How many new visitors can you reach? Well, that depends on what your store sells.
To get an idea of how big your target market might be in different languages, you can use the free Google Market Finder tool:
Weglot helps you create a multilingual WooCommerce store
Weglot is a WordPress translation plugin that helps you translate your entire WordPress site, including all of your WooCommerce content. More than this, it's a complete translation management solution.
One of Weglot's big benefits is its ease of use. With Weglot, you can have a working multilingual WooCommerce store just a few minutes after activating the plugin.
To offer that ease of use, Weglot uses automatic machine translation to completely translate your store right away.
Then, if you want to have a human review the automatic translations, you can use the Weglot cloud dashboard to either review the string translations yourself or outsource them to professional translators or a translation service.
Beyond being easy to use, Weglot follows multilingual SEO best practices to ensure that Google and other search engines can rank your translated content. This is because the permalinks are unique.
Each language gets its own unique URL (permalink) structure, and Weglot will add the hreflang tag and let you edit the SEO title and meta descriptions that you add with an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO.
Finally, Weglot lets you translate 100% of your site's content, which means that it will work with WooCommerce, your theme, all of Barn2 Media's plugins, and any other plugins that you use at your store.
How to create a multilingual WooCommerce store with Weglot
Now that you know why a multilingual WooCommerce store matters, let's dig into how to translate pages on your WooCommerce store using Weglot.
Step 1: Install Weglot plugin and activate with API key
To get started, you need to install the Weglot plugin at your store and then activate it by registering for a Weglot account and adding the API key in the plugin's interface.
The Weglot plugin is listed at WordPress.org, so you can install it by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for "Weglot":
Then, go to the Weglot registration page and create your account. Once you click the link in the account activation email that Weglot sends you, you should see a page that contains your API key:
You can also access this page directly by going to your Weglot dashboard.
Copy the value of your API key. Then, go to the Weglot tab in your WordPress back-end and paste the API key into the API Key box:
You should see a green checkmark appear to the right of the box - this indicates that the connection was successful.
Step 2: Choose original and destination languages
Below the API Key box, you should also configure the two boxes for:
- Original language - use the dropdown to select the default language that your WooCommerce store currently uses.
- Destination languages - one or more languages into which you want to translate your store's content.
For example, if your store is currently in English and you want to translate it into Spanish, you'd configure it like so:
You can select as many additional languages as you'd like with the pro version.
Once you've made your choices, click the Save Changes button to make your multilingual WooCommerce store live. You should see a confirmation message telling you that Weglot has translated your store:
Step 3: Configure the language switcher button
By default, Weglot adds a language switcher button at the bottom-right corner of your WooCommerce store. The styling is inherited from your WordPress theme. It will look something like this on the front-end:
If you'd like to change the looks or placement of this button, you can do that using the new options in the Weglot area of your WordPress dashboard:
For example, you could add the language switcher to your multilanguage site's main navigation menu instead:
Step 4: Manage translations from the Weglot dashboard
By default, Weglot uses automatic machine translation to help you create a multilingual WooCommerce store.
However, if you want to manually refine those translations (or outsource them to a professional), you can use the Weglot cloud dashboard:
To help you manage your translations, Weglot gives you two different interfaces. Both interfaces let you edit 100% of your store's content, including your WooCommerce product pages and content from all of Barn2 Media's plugins.
First, there's the Translations list. With this translation editor interface, you'll see a side-by-side view of your original content and the translated version.
To edit a translation, you just click and type. Beyond that, Weglot also:
- Marks translations as "Human reviewed" to help you keep track of what you've already done
- Lets you outsource translations to professional translators
Second, you can use the Visual Editor as shown in the screenshot above.
With this interface, you'll see a live preview of your store. To edit a specific translation, all you do is hover over it and click the green pencil icon.
For example, here's what it looks like to translate a regular WooCommerce page:
Clicking the green pencil icon will open a popup where you can work with your translation:
Translate WooCommerce Product Table, or any Barn2 plugin
For example, you can hover over the column header of your product table:
Then, you can edit that part of your product table in the same popup:
Once you make your edits, those changes will automatically sync with your WooCommerce store.
Create a multilingual WooCommerce store today
Creating a multilingual WooCommerce store is a great way to improve your store and reach new customers.
Your existing shoppers will be happier because they can use their own native language when shopping, and you'll also be able to reach new shoppers because you can:
- Rank your product pages in Google for new languages.
- Connect with the ~42% of shoppers who "never" shop in a language other than their own native language.
For the fastest, simplest way to create a multilingual WooCommerce store, you can use the Weglot plugin. It will have you up and running with a multilingual WooCommerce store in just a few minutes. Then, you can use the two editing interfaces to tweak and refine your translations.
Now you have the knowledge - go and create your multilingual WooCommerce store and deliver a better user experience to customers!