E-commerce is a rapidly growing enterprise and one of the biggest drivers of economic growth in the world today. With global retail sales via e-commerce expected to clock in at just shy of USD 2 trillion in 2016, approximately 8.7% of all retail sales this year, it is clear that e-commerce is the future of consumer spending. Retail e-commerce, led by giants like Amazon and Alibaba, has grown at a breakneck pace; double-digit growth rates are predicted to last through 2020 when sales are expected to cross USD 4 trillion. Not bad for an industry that didn’t even exist 20 years ago!
Now, businesses have realized that in order to survive, they must leave the past behind and move into the digital marketplace. All of a sudden, small and medium scale e-commerce ventures have sprung up all over the internet targeting every possible market niche. From custom made art and crafts to dedicated engineering and electronic solutions, the internet has been a boon for small businesses. They are now able to directly connect with the people who want to buy their goods and services without having to deal with middlemen and resellers. E-commerce ready websites are in huge demand now, and a very popular combination of web resource has emerged.
The foundations of a solid e-commerce venture
WordPress has long been the content management system or CMS of choice for a vast spectrum of web hosting needs. The platform is robust and flexible and is the foundation for some of the biggest and most popular websites on the internet. Along with WordPress, a number of e-commerce platforms have also been developed to tackle the unique requirements of an e-commerce venture. Of all the platforms available in the market, WooCommerce has emerged as the most popular e-commerce platform in the business today. The combination of WordPress and WooCommerce is definitely a great starting point for building a killer e-commerce venture that can be accessed on a variety of devices without losing functionality and usability.
Why would you need Multi-lingual support for your e-commerce venture?
As e-commerce spreads far and wide, it has enabled buyers from all over the world to connect with sellers who can provide them with the object of their desires. This is more pronounced with niche products that are not easily available in the mainstream marketplaces. E-commerce has obliterated the geographical restrictions that once prevented buyers and sellers from coming together. Now a buyer in the USA with a taste for fine Asian handicrafts can directly purchase from the maker in Japan without having to go to the local gift shop or antique store.
One barrier still exists though, which is that of language. While English is still the language of business, most small e-commerce ventures of C2C (consumer to consumer) type deal with individuals. Someone interested in a product you have to sell might not necessarily speak your language. This has necessitated the development of a multilingual website structure so that people can engage in business irrespective of the language they speak.
How to tackle the language barrier?
Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem. The WordPress Multilingual Plugin or WPML is a simple yet powerful plugin that allows you to seamlessly translate a WordPress website such that site usability is not hampered. WMPL can translate entire pages and menu text while retaining the typeface and taxonomy. It is an extremely powerful tool that is robust enough to be used for corporate websites and at the same time, lightweight enough not to bog down resource scare personal blogs.
With e-commerce, WMPL is particularly effective since instead of large blocks of text which are comparatively difficult to translate without losing tone and meaning. E-commerce sites have short product descriptions that are perfect for machine-based translation because there is not much scope for misinterpretation and thanks to the niche in which they are applied, mistakes are often obvious and easily detected. This results in a situation where machine translation is not only acceptable but effective. Paired with the WooCommerce Product Feed plugin, this allows you to easily develop a very robust e-commerce platform that natively offers support for multiple languages.
The WooCommerce Product Feed plugin allows you to insert your e-commerce inventory into popular shopping engines like Google Shopping, Facebook Product Ads, Shopbot, PriceGrabber, etc. automatically. It automatically synchronizes your product feed, in the form of CSV, TXT, XLS, XLSX, or XML file formats, automatically with these merchant center services. This allows people to find the products you have for sale via search engines, social media search, price aggregators, etc. WooCommerce Product Feed plugin can be used on any e-commerce website developed on the WordPress platform and fully supports the WordPress API. The free version of the plugin supports a maximum of 2000 products and treats variations on the same product (such as color or model year) as different entries; the premium version does not have this limitation and also has some additional useful features. Best of all, WooCommerce Product Feed is completely compatible with WMPL, allowing your products to show up even when not searched for in your native language. This significantly increases the number of users who can potentially drive traffic to your website via search engines and price aggregators. Therefore, by combining the translation services of WMPL with the automated feed synchronization of WooCommerce Product Feed, your prospects are set to be significantly improved as far as your e-commerce venture is concerned.
WordPress Multilingual plugin is available at wpml.org
Premium version of WooCommerce Product Feed plugin is available at http://webappick.com/plugin/woocommerce-product-feed-pro/
The free version of the WooCommerce Product Feed plugin is available at wordpress.org/plugins/webappick-product-feed-for-woocommerce/