Cross-border shopping is fast becoming the norm. A recent study by Shopify reveals that 57% of shoppers make purchases from overseas retailers. This signals a pronounced readiness for digital consumers all over the world to take their spending power overseas. Plus, with markets developing beyond the western world, the temptation to extend eCommerce reach internationally is more than warranted.
For Shopify merchants aspiring to optimize their performance in overseas markets, equipping stores with multi-language capabilities with the help of an app is a wise move, particularly as Shopify’s native multi-language functions are fairly limited. In this article, we’ll run through the importance of presenting your store in the native tongue of your customers, and highlight some of the top multi-language apps available on Shopify.
Importance of Language for Global eCommerce Sites
It seems that no matter where in the world your customers are, they have a preference for shopping in their mother tongue. In Europe, 42% of online consumers never shop in any other language other than their own. In Canada, where over a fifth of the population speak French as their native language, 34% of online shoppers say a French-supported site is somewhat or very important to them while shopping online. When looking at Quebec, where most French-speaking Canadians reside, this number shoots up to 64%. Chinese netizens demonstrate an even stronger preference when it comes to online shopping and language, with 95% of them expressing greater levels of comfort in doing so in their own language.
A survey-based on over 8000 respondents in 29 different countries reveals an overwhelming preference towards consumers being able to shop in their own language. (Source: Syncee)
Furthermore, internet users and cross-border shoppers are coming from non-English speaking regions. Since 2000, the highest growth of internet users has risen the most in Chinese and Arabic-speaking nations, whilst the highest instances of cross-border shopping came from Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, and China. These trends make it crucial to equip your store with multi-language capabilities for success in the global markets.
Percentage of cross-border shoppers by country (Source: Flow)
By allowing your international customers to shop in their mother tongue you’ll erase the barriers and lighten the friction to purchase that they may face. Thereby, improving your chances of securing global sales. Plus, it’s great for SEO. By having language-specific stores, your rankings on regional Google searches will improve.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best multi-language apps on Shopify to ready your store for the global market.
Top Shopify Multi-Language Apps
Price: 7-day free trial, $17.50/month
Rating: 4.7 stars
Langify is a popular and pocket-friendly app that provides Shopify merchants with an easy-to-use interface that allows you to instantly begin translating your store to 100+ languages upon installation.
The intuitive interface makes it easy to add translated text to regional storefronts. (Source: Langify)
A great feature of this multi-language app is that it creates domains for each language you translate your store to. This will work wonders for your international SEO as when using this component meta tags are also translated, allowing for higher SERPs ranking. Additionally, visitors to your store are automatically transported to their preferred language, or they can alter their preferred storefront manually with the customizable language switcher.
Langify does not put a limit to the number of languages you can translate your store to, equating to extreme value for money when compared to other notable multi-language apps on Shopify. Image translation is also supported in addition to right-to-left translation, and translated text can be imported as well as exported.
The downside of this app, however, is that it does not automatically translate the content on your store for you, so you will need to hire a professional translator to do this for you. Also, it is not possible to translate the products on the checkout page, notifications, or customized shipping text. These will always appear in your store’s base language.
Price: Free for up to 2000 translated words in 1 language, paid plans start at €9.90/month for 10,000 in 1 language to €199/month for 1 million words in up to 10 languages. Also has an enterprise service starting at €499/month.
Rating: 4.7 stars
Trusted by thousands of global brands, Weglot provides 100+ languages for Shopify merchants to translate their store to. Unlike Langify, Weglot can automatically detect and translate content, lightening the load on e-merchants. This includes checkout, email notifications, third-party apps, images and even dynamic content. However, product pages can not be translated automatically.
To really drive international SEO optimization, Weglot follows Google’s multilingual best practices, and provides language specific URLs which carries the added benefit of only needing to manage a single site. Returning shoppers will be redirected to their preferred language automatically and have the option to select their language by using the customizable language switcher buttons.
Review all areas of your translated content on the dashboard. (Source: Weglot)
Management of translations is also made easy via the dashboard. Here, elements such as metadata, media files, text, and even third-party app content can be reviewed and edited. Plus, it’s super easy to collaborate as users can add members of their team to the management system to enhance the accuracy of translated content. There is also the option to order a professional translator from Weglot. Moreover, rules can be set so that specific words or phrases are never translated, saving you the task of repetitive editing.
The downside to this app is that the import and export of translations are not supported in any of the plans. It is also a little pricey when you take into consideration the number of languages stores can be translated to. Other apps allow for more languages to be used when compared to Weglot’s Starter and Business packages.
Price: free plan available, $9.99/month
Rating: 4.9 stars
This AI-powered multi-language app can translate all pages in your store without imposing any extra burden as it is compatible with Shopify’s Store Languages. As Translation Lab uses Google’s Neural Machine Translations, the accuracy tends to be better, but there is the option to make manual edits should you need to.
Easily translate different parts of your Shopify store with this simple interface. (Source: Translation Lab)
Similar to the previous multilingual apps, this one provides dedicated URLs for the languages featured in your store, translates meta tags, and generates hreflang tags to boost your SEO. Additionally, stores that already enable Shopify International Domains can easily map languages to the relevant domain. Another plus of Translation Lab is that it comes with a currency converter, equipping your store even more to sell internationally.
There are some key differences between the paid plan and the free one. Firstly, the free plan offers ~2000 automatically translated words whereas the paid plan shoots up to ~50,000 words. An additional 40,000 words can be purchased on the free plan for $9.99. However, it would make more financial sense to opt for the paid plan to gain more words.
The free plan also does not support the import/export of translations, nor allow you to translate your store in bulk. Being able to translate in bulk means that all instances of a product variant or attribute can be done in one go. Therefore, if your store has a wide variety of products, the free version could prove to be quite tedious. Furthermore, there is no language switcher button with the free version and it is not possible to migrate theme translations.
If you use third-party apps that will require translation this is not the best option for your store. The translation of media and glossary are also not supported with this app.
Price: Free plan available, 7 day free trial, $9.90 to $39.90 per month
Rating: 4.8 stars
Transcy is a robust app that can automatically translate your entire Shopify store to 100+ languages with no limit on the number of words no matter which plan you opt for. All elements of your Shopify store can be translated in a flash including third-party apps, images and media such as the homepage banner, reviews, notifications, and pop-ups.
Shopify merchants can save precious time and money as media text can automatically be translated rather than requiring new assets to be made. (Source: Transcy)
On the Starter and Essential plans there is also the option to add a specific image for every translated version of your store, allowing Shopify merchants to incorporate visuals that carry more cultural context to the international markets they are operating in.
Translation quality is enhanced thanks to the use of Google’s AI-powered Translate API and Shopify’s native translation API. Multilingual SEO optimization is another great feature of this app to propel your store up international SERPs. What's more, you also get a currency converter included in the app.
Let’s now take a look at what the different price plans offer. On the free plan, you are given only one language and one currency to add to your store. It is not possible to make edits to translations or content on this plan, so you will wholly be relying on the accuracy of the tool.
The Economy package allows Shopify merchants to have up to two languages in their store. You also have greater control over translations as front-end apps content on all pages can be edited when you choose this plan. However, you can only make edits to your store text for only one translated language.
Starter and Essential plans will give you much greater control over the translated content in your store. On both plans you are able to replace images and make edits to the translations. Furthermore, when you make alterations to your store content, the app will automatically update the translations for you. Shopify merchants can add up to 111 languages.
Despite all these great features, there are a couple of pitfalls. Transcy does not create country specific URLs for your international stores, and it does not support glossary translations.
If this sounds like the multi-language app for you, waste no time and try it now as they are offering 40% off all plans for BFCM.
Price: Free plan available, 15 day free trial, $7.99 to $27.99 per month
Rating: 4.8 stars
GTranslate uses Google Translate to convert your store into multiple languages automatically.
A highlight of this app is its ability to translate most third-party apps so you can be sure that additional elements of your site can be understood by your international customers.
Visitors to your store can select their preferred language via a language switcher which is available in a number of styles. GTranslate does not place a limit on the amount of words that can be translated no matter which plan you choose.
Shopify merchants who opt for one of the paid plans will also gain greater control over their translated content with the ability for manually editing. Moreover, you can input words and phrases for the tool to skip over during automatic translations. The efficacy of translations is also increased in the paid plans as they use Google’s machine learning feature for neural translations and increased accuracy. Additionally, should your store only need one additional language, you can enjoy all the mentioned advanced features at a fraction of the price.
Gain valuable insights to help direct your international marketing activities. (Source: GTranslate)
What really sets this app apart is that metrics, such as top-performing countries, can be gleaned via the dashboard and dedicated analytics section. This will go a long way in helping you to understand your international markets and their preferences so you can tailor your store accordingly.
This app, unfortunately, doesn’t allow users to import or export translations.
Break Borders With A Multi-Language Store
Some of the barriers to securing international success for your Shopify store can be stripped away by enabling your international customers to shop in their home language. In addition to making browsing and purchasing more comfortable for these shoppers, you’ll also make your business more discoverable in foreign markets.
With many of the top multi-language apps on Shopify offering automatic translation, you can kick start your venture into cross-border selling in an instant. So don’t hesitate, try one of these apps today.