Multi-lingual must-have

Why multi-lingual sites are a must-have

The combination of a global economy and the growing popularity of mobile commerce has had a huge impact on company expansion. We take a look at why being multi-lingual is now a must-have function for your eCommerce website.

The world of eCommerce is a truly global environment, with people able to purchase things from around the world with very little effort, but that doesn’t mean there are not still barriers preventing your website from reaching its full potential. One of the main drawbacks is still language, and it is stopping businesses from maximising on their true value within the marketplace. 

Towards the end of last year, we saw exciting proof of this. First of all there was Chinese Singles’ Day, which generated more than $9 billion, but following this was the infamous Black Friday bargain-packed weekend which ran into Cyber Monday. If this isn’t proof that localised marketing and multi-lingual capabilities pay off, then I don’t know what is.

New Horizons 

Mobile commerce has opened up unprecedented opportunities for company growth and has led to a practically limitless customer-base – the only thing standing in your way is your ability to communicate with those potential customers on a more personal level. I have written before about the need for the personalisation of advertising and content marketing in eCommerce, but a crucial element of this is your multi-lingual and multi-currency functionality. 

If you want to provide the same excellent customer service level which you currently do for your native audience, this needs to be maintained across channels and across country boarders. If your business is based in England but you have a new and emerging customer base in Japan, shouldn’t they receive the same experience as someone from the UK? This isn’t just about consistency, it’s about making sure that you are selling to a new market with the proper cultural provision. Do you need to rework your marketing? Do you need to rework your advertising?

The answer is yes, but it’s not as difficult as you might think.


The localisation of your website is a critical element of your campaigns in new territories. From the colloquial graphics and currency conversion to the translation of the UI text and the product catalogues, there are many components of your CMS which need to work in harmony. The adaptation of search functions to account for the ways in which consumers communicate with your site, as well as any live chat integration, are areas that require a more personal touch from staff too.

With so many add-ons currently on the marketplace, it can feel like you’re swimming in tech-speak, with ERPs, CMSs and CRMs everywhere you look, but most of these so-called solutions only tend to offer you costly integration problems with SAP. The best option is to go for the SAP-native system which has multi-lingual and multi-currency functionality built into it.

The Three Ms

Just as we must include responsive web design for the growing popularity of mobile commerce, website localisation is crucial for the optimisation of your reach into foreign markets, which is where the three Ms come in: Mobile, Multi-lingual, Multi-channel.

If you wanted to make the most of the Chinese Single’s Day sell-out, you look at the statistics in China which suggest that mobile is responsible for an incredible percentage of sales. So, you optimise your website layout for mobile and realise from your multi-lingual system that Chinese characters take up a lot less space than English, meaning you have to re-design your site to get rid of the blank spaces. This then forms part of your multi-channel strategy, as you provide localised advertisements and merchandising on your site via your SAP-native CMS.

In terms of eCommerce, local knowledge is invaluable in providing a seamless shopping experience, which will win you more points with customers, so make sure you invest in a system which supports this key multi-lingual and multi-currency component.

If you'd like us to turn your platform into a multi-lingual, mobile masterpiece, then why not take a few minutes to view our Omnia eCommerce solution page.