Building an eCommerce site with WordPress can be easier than you think. If you are new to the area of eCommerce, you might initially find making your eCommerce store a challenge. A variety of new concepts need to be dealt with: products, prices, shopping cart management, shipping, provision of different methods for online payments, and so on. Another issue is in making the site multilingual.

We have good news for you. Ready-to-use solutions are available to simplify your life. Today, Yardena Epstein, a WordPress developer from Israel, tells us how she built a multilingual store using the Avada theme, WPML, and WooCommerce plugins. Yardena’s experience shows that building a multilingual eCommerce WordPress site is a straightforward job, so long as the proper components are used.

About the project

www.ceremonietea.co.il: a multilingual site with WooCommerce stor
www.ceremonietea.co.il: a multilingual site with WooCommerce store

www.ceremonietea.co.il

The site ceremonietea.co.il is a Hebrew–English eCommerce site created for a client, the owner of a company called Ceremonie Tea. Currently, 45 products are being sold via the site.

What were the reasons for creating an online store

The tea provided by Ceremonie Tea is normally sold in their stationery stores. However, the company wanted to give their customers the option to buy online, particularly those who could not buy the products in the traditional way.

What were the reasons for making the store bilingual

Hebrew is the language of Israel, whereas English is an international language. In making the site bilingual, the company aimed to reach more foreign customers. Moreover, by having the store set and tested for handling two basic languages, the client could easily handle the task of extending the site’s functionality to accommodate additional languages in the future.

What were the challenges to the project

Right-to-left (RTL) language support
Hebrew, the main language of Yardena’s project site, is an example of an RTL language, in which writing starts from the right of the page and continues to the left. The second language used in the site is English, which is a left-to-right language. In building a website dealing with these two ways of writing, you have to keep Right-to-Left_Language_Support in mind.
A user-friendly interface for product translations
English is the mother tongue of the site owners, and consequently, dealing with product translations is easy for them. The only challenge here was in providing a friendly WordPress interface to manage translations in different languages.

About the site maker

Yardena Epstein, the Ceremonie Tea site maker
Yardena Epstein, the Ceremonie Tea site maker

Yardena Epstein creates WordPress sites with Premium Templates for small businesses. She has built about 30 sites in the last three years. Before getting into WordPress, she coded HTML for 10 years at a web design company.

What Yardena says about herself

“I am neither a graphic artist nor a ‘real’ programmer. This is why the system of building WordPress sites based on ready-to-use templates has been a perfect opportunity for me. WordPress, templates, and plugins become increasingly sophisticated and awesome each year.

I have really found a great niche in building small websites for small businesses. In the past, only ‘real’ companies/organizations created websites, and they used ‘real’ website developing companies to build such website. At present, every ‘one-man show’ small business needs a website, and they need a ‘one-man show’ to build it, and that’s me!”

You can read more about Yardena and see the other websites she built with WordPress by visiting her site: http://www.yardenasweb.com/.

Building an online store: What solutions were chosen

For the Ceremonie Tea project, Yardena chose the following WordPress solutions:

  • WooCommerce, to deal with eCommerce issues
  • WPML, to make the entire site multilingual
  • WooCommerce Multilingual plugin, to handle product translation management
  • Avada theme, to minimize the custom work to be done to meet the project’s special requirements (RTL support and product presentation, including product reviews and related products viewing)

At this point, let’s have a closer look to see why she decided to choose such solutions.

Why WooCommerce

ceremonietea.co.il built with WooCommerce:  back-end view
ceremonietea.co.il built with WooCommerce: back-end view

The WooCommerce plugin is one the most frequently chosen solutions by WordPress users to extend their site with eCommerce functionality. It is free, and so far, it has been downloaded more than two and a half million times from the WordPress repository.

Why WPML

ceremonietea.co.il back-end view: string translations made with WPML
ceremonietea.co.il back-end view: string translations made with WPML

Yardena learned about WPML from the LinkedIn WordPress Experts Group. If one is making a multilingual website, WPML is the only go-to plugin to use.

Yardena lives in Israel, and consequently, many of her clients want a Hebrew–English site. She has built many small business websites with WPML. Ceremonie Tea was her first eCommerce site built with WPML.

How Yardena learned WPML

“I mostly learned WPML from just installing it and finding my way around. As I mentioned, I am not a real programmer, so I need things to be intuitive as I try to stick with default settings. When elements don’t work as they should, I would email support to get help.”

WooCommerce + WPML = WooCommerce Multilingual

To ensure full support for the multilingual eCommerce WordPress site based on WooCommerce, you have to install the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin.

This is a dedicated plugin for WooCommerce product translation management created by WPML makers. The plugin is free and can be downloaded from the WordPress repository.

Woo Commerce Multilingual is a free plugin created by WPML developers
Woo Commerce Multilingual is a free plugin created by WPML developers
WooCommerce Mulitilingual plugin in ceremonietea.co.li site
WooCommerce Mulitilingual plugin in ceremonietea.co.li site

How the plugin helped Yardena translate the products

By using the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin, all product-related information could be handled easily, including:

  • single product information (compare pictures below)
  • product category translations
  • product tag translations
  • product attributes translation (e.g., bag weight)
A single product page in Hebrew
A single product page in Hebrew
A single product page in English
A single product page in English

Even the tag archive pages for viewing the products are fully available in both languages: English and Hebrew.

The WooCommerce Multilingual plugin also supports dealing with different currencies. As Ceremonie Tea currently only ships within Israel, the prices appear in NIS only.

Avada theme

The site was based on Avada theme customized by Yardena to meet her customer’s needs.

The Avada, a WPML compatible theme
The Avada, a WPML compatible theme
The Avada theme customized for the Ceremonie Tea site
The Avada theme customized for the Ceremonie Tea site

Yardena says that she started using the Avada theme months ago and continues to use it for most of her sites for the following reasons:

Great design and multiplicity of built-in options
Yardena says that the Avada theme looks sophisticated and offers various customization options and great support. She used to give her clients a choice of themes, but then decided against it because, as she says, “Avada has it all. No need to look at others.”
WPML support
The Avada theme was certified to be “multilingual ready” with the WPML Go global program.
WooCommerce support
If a theme is WooCommerce ready, then the majority of your work as a WordPress developer has already been done for you. You don’t have to add any custom CSS to make your product pages fit your main site design.
RTL support
The most important reason Yardena used the Avada theme was its support for RTL languages, which is necessary for her Hebrew sites. Yardena comments: “Last summer, when Avada came out with RTL support, that meant I was finally going to be able to create a Hebrew (RTL Language)/English-WPML-WooCommerce site. Avada has it all in one.”

What was the most difficult part of building a multilingual eCommerce site?

In combining themes, such as WPML and WooCommerce, the biggest challenge is in understanding the systems to overcome problems that may come up. In Yardena’s case, she had to know which support forum to turn to for help:

“Most of the time, I got it right, but I had situations where I was back and forth with WPML about an issue for a week, and then it hit me that the issue was a WooCommerce issue. Thus, I wrote to WooCommerce, and they quickly helped me resolve the issue.

It is challenging that support forums (WooCommerce, WPML, and Avada) don’t have the same insight I have using all three systems together. This gap gives a lot of stress to a non-programmer like me,” she adds with a smile.

Amir, the CTO of OnTheGoSystems comments:

Amir Helzer, the CTO of OnTheGoSystems
Amir Helzer, the CTO of OnTheGoSystems
“We realize that having to ask for support from different sources is frustrating. To improve our clients’ experience, we are undertaking a major update to our support system. Our development and support teams are already working closely with developers from leading plugins and theme houses. The forum update that we’re doing will allow the developers of WooCommerce as well as of other plugins and themes to join support threads. This way, when clients report issues, their problem will be resolved in one place, instead of having to bounce among different platforms and support staff.

We believe this move will serve everyone, including our clients, staff, and colleagues. It will reduce the time required to support clients by allowing everyone involved to communicate in one place.”

Final thoughts

Yardena successfully built her first multilingual and RTL language eCommerce site with the Avada theme, WPML, WooCommerce, and WooCommerce Multilingual without having to hack in PHP code. Here’s how she summarizes her work for the Ceremonie Tea site:

“I had been very excited about the possibility that I, Yardena, a non-programmer and non-graphic artist, could put together a Hebrew/English-WPML-WooCommerce site! It is amazing and all owing to the systems of WordPress, WooCommerce, WPML, and Avada, which have created the opportunity to do so.”

Your approach to creating multilingual online stores

What is your method for making your online stores, and how do you deal with different languages? Feel free to share your comments with us.

If there is anything special about your site as regards the use of WPML, please also let us know. Interesting cases will be covered in the next articles in this new Case Studies series.