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Why Localizing Your International Shopify Content Matters, And How To Do It

Rebecca Gatesman

The world is getting more global, and Shopify users are poised to get the most out of new markets opening up around the world. However, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it will be easy. Because we’re (quite selfishly) motivated to ensure that as many Shopify store owners do well as possible, we’ve decided to condense all of the complicated, conflicting information that’s floating around on the internet about internationalization into one three-part series.

This is the first article in that series, and includes all of the tools you need to present your store in the right language, with great content, no matter who is looking at it. Next up in the series is How To Handle Money Globally: Payment, Conversions & Pricing for Shopify, and the last part in the series will be Global Fulfillment For Shopify: Delivery & Inventory Management Overseas.

Money Talks

When your customers come to your Shopify ecommerce store, you want them to be met with enticing content, appropriate images, and an easy check-out experience. To achieve this, you invest in well-written product descriptions and FAQs, create an appealing visual experience, and troubleshoot your sales funnel until it’s perfect. This works well for a while, but as your store expands, customers from around the globe start pouring in - and struggling with your site.

At this point, you may be looking longingly at the A.I. engines of Amazon or Etsy. If you’re tempted to take your products to one of these online marketplaces just to compete internationally, resist! You’ll lose more than just what you’ve invested in your existing store - you’ll lose the opportunity to cultivate a recognizable brand and loyal following. Your company and the products you offer deserve to be more than just part of a list.

To compete in today’s global ecommerce economy, start using localization tools and best practices for your content early on - as HBR recently put it, a company being “born digital” (or as close to it as possible) is one of the biggest advantages it can have. Ensure that when customers come to your site, they feel like they’re at their local store, no matter how far away you physically are.

Here’s how to make sure your Shopify store targets every audience perfectly - no matter where they are:

Localized Messaging

The way people evaluate brands and marketing varies by region. Because of this, it’s important that you target content to specific markets whenever possible. Keep in mind shoppers’ expectations, cultural norms, pop culture references, idioms and phrases, and the appearance and clothing of the people in your images.

A great way to get started doing this is to use a personalization engine, which will allow you to create landing pages and specific messages that trigger based on a user’s location and known information. Personalization is the gold standard for great content, and required for great content marketing, and it’s no secret why: sites that are content marketing leaders experience almost 8x the traffic than non-leaders, according to Aberdeen. Personalization software allows you to get to know your customers, reach them when they’re actually available, and talk to them about things they’re interested in.

Personalized Recommendations and Content

While truly personalizing content by location will take a custom theme and some more complicated engineering, you can do some preliminary geo-targeting through the Shopify store. Your choice will depend heavily on your budget, the number of views your site receives on a daily basis, your marketing strategies, and the diversity of your audience.

Product Recommendations

If you want to increase loyalty to your store, an easy personalization technique you can implement today is personalized product recommendations. That way, every time a customer comes back to your Shopify store, they’re greeted by the products they’re most likely to be interested in - which means they start buying faster, and never miss out on something they would love!

Our favorite app for this is Nosto for product recommendations, which has a simple user interface and great reviews:  

Geo-Targeted Messaging

If you’re looking to expand your market quickly and get a new audience excited - or jump start a stable but stagnate customer base - then geo-targeted messaging may just be the key to success! With apps like Geolizr, you’ll be enabled to show popups and banner promotions to specific locations, as well as redirect to different pages based on the location of the viewer. This will ensure that each market is shown the right messaging, the most appealing images, and the products they’re most likely to buy. It also means you can do short term promotions that are relevant due to a public event or news item! The possibilities for your store’s promotions with mobile shoppers are practically endless.


While geo-targeting content and personalizing what your customers see is important, making sure it’s in a language they understand is paramount. Accurate translation is critical, as every ecommerce store is asking customers to trust it, not only with their valuable financial information, but also their time and expectations. A great way to lose trust quickly? Misspellings and confusing grammar. In fact, because errors indicate a lack of attention to detail and cause customers to be suspicious of your brand, they can reduce your online sales by up to 50%.

Translation through Apps

The best way to avoid translation issues is a two step process. First, install one of the many excellent Shopify translation tools. Our favorite for those looking for a budget friendly option - and the leader in the Shopify app store - is Langify, which optimizes for SEO in the country being served as well. We love how easy it is to set up, and the top-notch customer support that’s always available to help.

Translation through Multiple Stores

If you’re ready to invest in a much more comprehensive and accurate system, the best move is to become a Shopify Plus member. By doing so, you’ll gain multiple storefronts, so you won’t have to have a bunch of different stores that all sell the same thing. You’ll also have a much greater ability to reach various locations and expand without having to essentially start over with your brand recognition.

Once you’ve installed the app, you can launch your new store. However, we do recommend an optional second step, which is to hire a bilingual individual to ensure that the translation A.I. of your choosing is completely accurate. This is especially important if your products are expensive, have complicated descriptions or instructions, are customizable, or if you have a significant amount of written content on your site. A great company to have proofread your site is Gengo, the platform with 21,000 translators around the globe, working in the 36 most popular languages.

Customer Experience Is Paramount

Entering your Shopify store into the global marketplace is an exciting next step for your business, but it also requires due diligence. Make sure that no matter how widespread your customers are, they always know that you value each of them - and show them by personalizing your content and interacting with them in their native language.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2: How To Handle Money Globally: Payment, Conversions & Pricing for Shopify, where we’ll discuss pricing, and currency conversion and processing. Don’t forget to also stay tuned for Part 3: Global Fulfillment For Shopify: Delivery & Inventory Management Overseas, where we’ll talk about foreign tax & VAT issues, international fulfillment of physical goods and inventory management.

If you have any questions about this series, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.

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