Localization on Demandware
In order to maximize sales, internet retailers need to make sure their website is both intuitive and efficient. There are many key ways to achieve this—a well-organized product catalog, a robust search setup, simple site navigation, easy checkout—and accomplishing those tasks will go a long way to getting customers through checkout. However, one often-overlooked aspect of managing an ecommerce store is localization.
Localization is the process of adapting a website to varying languages and regions of a specific target market by adding locale-specific components and translating content. For example, a retailer can make sure his ecommerce storefront is accessible for English-speaking customers as well as those who speak Spanish. The importance of this is clear. If a Spanish-speaking consumer can’t read your site, she likely can’t make a purchase through it either. With a properly localized Spanish version of the website, however, chances of converting her visit to a sale are much higher.
Fortunately, Demandware provides retailers with powerful, simple-to-use tools that make localization possible. On the back-end, business objects such as catalogs, products, and attributes are all localizable, as is the storefront, through localized template and properties files. If the goal is to make the same underlying business objects (catalogs, products, etc) available to everyone in a localized manner, one can do this by allowing customers to select their location at the beginning of their visit. This tells Demandware which locale the customer is coming from, and localizes as necessary Retailers also have the option of offering different product sets for different locales, allowing them to tailor the consumer experience to individual regions. Furthermore, a Demandware storefront can run under multiple localizations.
Making locale-related customizations to a Demandware storefront is easy, as well. At lyonscg we worked with Demandware LINK Partner, PowerReviews, to customize their LINK Cartridge so that it is compatible with multi-locale merchants. This encompassed taking their existing cartridge—which allows customers to read/write reviews and ask/answer product-related questions—and localizing it so that, for example, Spanish speakers would see reviews in Spanish instead of English. Our approach was to import the localized data provided by PowerReviews into Demandware. To accomplish this, we needed to run a custom product feed Job that assigned locale-specific values to the correct product locale. In other words, the Spanish reviews data for Product ABC needed to be assigned to the Spanish version of Product ABC, not the default version of Product ABC.
Our approach for importing the localized data appropriately was to first loop on all allowable locales using a Loop Node. In this case, we are iterating over dw.system.Site.getCurrent().getAllowedLocales(). The allowable locales for a Site are setup in Business Manager. Next, we used the SetRequestLocale() pipelet to set the locale to the value currently being looped on. At this point in the loop, we were free to make any product-related database transactions as Demandware automatically assigns the data to the correct locale as long as it was set (which we just did in the pipelet). By the end of the loop, all data had been imported to the correct version of the product.
One critical step that can’t be overlooked is that we had to make sure that any custom attributes we created to hold the PowerReviews-related data had to have their “Localizable/Site Specific” property set to “Localizable”. If this was not set, then all of our locale-specific data would have been set to the default locale regardless of what locale was being looped on.
This ended up being a simple solution to a complex issue that provides a huge amount of value to the retailer. In our expanding global economy, it’s critical to cater to as many potential customers as possible, and in the end, selling products is the goal. Achieving that goal is much easier if the customer can get from Point A (initial visit) to Point B (checkout) as easily and intuitively as possible. Localization is a perfect way to do that, and Demandware makes that possible.