Creating a multilingual online shop

To be successful in e-commerce internationally, you should build your online store in several languages.

A multilingual online shop improves the user experience and helps boost internationalization.
Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH, Matias Sauter

Internationalization through multilingualism

In marketing, it’s important to always speak the language of your customers. In most cases, this means targeting individual groups with specific phrases and demonstrating that you have taken their needs and wishes into account. On a very basic level, language comes into play when your company is internationalizing its online store and sales. Customers usually react very positively to being able to shop in their native language. This way, your company expands its customer base and improves the user experience.

Jaromir Fojcik talks about creating a multilingual online shop.

A language menu is thus a key success factor for an online store. And at the same time, it is becoming easier and more important to expand your online store internationally, as Jaromir Fojcik, founder and CEO of the creativestyle agency, explains: “By now at the latest, with the rapid progress of generative artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT, retailers should be looking at integrating AI-powered services into their store and PIM solutions. It has never been so quick and easy to display product information in any number of languages.” At the same time, it is important for companies not to lose sight of the goal when optimizing their online store: “At the end of the day, customer experience is the only thing that interests the end customer,” emphasizes Jaromir Fojcik.

Setting up a multilingual online store and observing local law

Matthias Steinforth, founder and CEO of the kernpunkt agency, also recognizes the value of setting up an online store in multiple languages, but at the same time points out the legal aspects of internationalization:

“Multilingual online stores are known to be a key to tapping into global markets, because they enable broader customer contact and can increase sales in the future. However, multilingualism requires careful planning: In addition to the necessary translation of content, social and cultural aspects and local shopping habits must also be taken into account. This is the only way to ensure an authentic and customer-centric shopping experience. But where should retailers start?


Matthias Steinforth on the topic of online shop internationalization.
Image: © kernpunkt

An online store as a minimum viable product (MVP) built on MACH architecture (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless) and more broadly on composable architecture principles is best suited for this. With this approach, scalable results can be achieved quickly in individual markets – with the option of using the MVP as the basis for extensive replatforming of the original online store. From this point on, an increase in sales can be targeted, because each launch means an initial investment in the respective market.

For business success, it is important to consider the country-specific requirements and the different jurisdictions, because what works in the German market with orders, shipping, returns, and customer service may be completely different in other neighboring EU countries or in markets outside the EU.”

International success through a multilingual online store

For international success, your company must speak the language of its customers. This applies literally, too, which is why your online store should be multilingual. Admittedly, internationalization is initially an investment that is associated with certain hurdles. But with a carefully considered approach and an intelligent implementation strategy, your company can reach significantly larger target groups and increase its sales. What’s more, if your online store is multilingual, it will also appeal to target groups that include speakers of other languages at home and therefore respond to the needs of our globalized world.