About localized products

You can localize your products so that shoppers see product information in their native language, date format, time format, and currency. You can also localize themes and styles to create a look and feel for a specific locale or region.

When you create or edit a product, you can choose the locales you want to support. You can configure a product to use a specific locale and then enter localized content for that product. When choosing locales, note the following:

  • When you enter text for the product in the default locale, the text appears for all supported locales until you override the default in a specific locale folder. Changing the default locale for the product does not affect the global default locale settings in your store.

  • You can provide localized content for a product. A tab appears for each supported locale where you can enter the localized information. You do not have to enter localized content for all supported locales.
  • By default, shoppers can purchase products in any locale (within any defined export controls). If you want to restrict the purchase of a product to only supported locales, see Limiting purchases to supported locales.

Ideally, you should localize a product when you first create it. However, you can localize a product after you create and deploy it to your store. If the fields and options on a locale tab are disabled, that means the supported locale uses the default locale setting. See Overriding the default locale for more information.

Limiting purchases to supported locales

You can limit which locales can purchase a product when you create a new product in the Product Wizard or when you edit a product in the Product Editor. Select the Restrict Product Visibility and Purchasing to Locales Below checkbox that appears when you select or add supported locales. This checkbox ensures that a shopper can only purchase this product from a supported locale (including the default locale).

What you should localize

What you localize for your products is up to you, but you should base your decision on the products and the locales you want to support.

Example: If the locales you want to support have regional or cultural differences, you can localize the product to account for those differences. Most people localize the product names, descriptions, keywords, and the text on the Thank You page and in the email. You can also localize other attributes such as the SKU, return type, product images, download file, search engine optimization settings, and so on.

Overriding the default locale

When you create a new product, the system automatically copies the information you entered for the product in the default locale (name, description, product image, and so on) to all supported locales. You cannot change the content for a supported locale until you override the connection to the default locale. To override the default locale, click a supported locale tab and select the Override default locale settings checkbox.

Once you override the default locale, you can enter localized product content in the supported locale.

Note: Once you enable the override for a supported locale, you cannot reverse the override.

About locale codes

A locale code is a four-character code that represents a specific country and language. The first two characters in a locale code represent the language code. The second two characters represent the country code. The language code is always lowercase, and the country code is always uppercase.

Example: To specify the locale for the United States, specify en_US where "en" is the language code for English and "US" is the country code for the United States.

Locale codes consist of the official language code and country code as assigned by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Visit the ISO web site at www.iso.org to learn more about the ISO.

Using locales with multiple countries or languages

Locales are not limited to a single country or language. A country can have more than one locale, some countries may even share locales, and several different locales can use the same language. You define a locale by its unique combination of language, country, and currency.

Example: In Canada, there are two official languages: English and French. Thus, Canada has two major locale codes: "en_CA" and "fr_CA." Shoppers from Canada may be able to shop your store using the "en_US" locale because this locale uses English but to support Canadian shoppers you need to localize your store for both locales in Canada.

Using locale codes in URLs

When you view your store, the URL for the page shows the locale code you are using to view the store. The local code (also known as locale parameter) appears in the URL as something like Locale=en_US or Locale=es_ES.

Example: Changing the locale parameter in the URL from "en_US" to "de_DE" changes the language from English to German and the currency from the dollar to euro (if you localize your product and store content).

Understanding the difference between default locale, supported locales, and unsupported locales

Every store has a default locale. The default locale is the locale you set up your store to use by default. Usually, the default locale is the locale where a company resides or where most of its shoppers live.

Example: The default locale for a store that services customers mainly in the United States is en_US (English, United States).

A supported locale is a locale that you chose to use in your store to provide a localized experience to shoppers in that locale. Supported locales allow you to offer shoppers a tailored shopping experience for their language and currency. You can have as many supported locales as you want. If you do not create localized content for those supported locales, they will not give the shopper a familiar or comfortable experience.

An unsupported locale is any locale you did not specify as your default locale or supported locale for your store. Shoppers using unsupported locales can still view and shop your store. However, they will not see content in their native language, currency, and so on. Instead, they will use the default locale to view your store.

You define the supported locales for your store when you create your store. How a shopper chooses to view a supported locale varies by your store design. Some stores automatically detect a shopper’s locale while others provide shoppers with a mechanism to choose the locale they want to view.

Regardless of how a shopper selects a locale in your store, you must enable all supported locales in your store before you can create localized content for these locales.