How to handle products available in only some countries, and products available in multiple languages? (question)
2 related questions from Javichu:
- Products that are not available in all countries where a specific language is spoken.
Do you think that make sense have not only different versions for languages but also for countries?. There are 20+ countries that speak spanish. And every one have its own and different products. We rarely see in Spain products from Mexico, Argentina or elsewhere. Indeed, we see quite a lot more products from the European Union than from other spanish speaking countries. So, it doesn't make sense that a search returns you products that never ever you are going to see in a supermarket shelf. Or see 300 hundred versions of Coca-Cola's, bottled in 30 different countries. This is not a problem right now nor is a problem with a few thousand of products, but if the site succeed (as I hope), it will be a problem in the future.
- Products that are available in multiple languages:
I have noted that if you try to add a product with a Bar Code existing in other language (I tried it with the Heinz Baked Beans in Tomate Sauce), the site direct you to the record page in the other language. The real problem here is not the language (you can use the google translator for example), but that the searching engine is not going to return you the product that you are looking for, and the product won't show in the respective categories in your language. In the other hand, I guess that you probably don't want to have duplicated product records. I don't know what could be the best solution for that. Maybe have different versions like an article in the wikipedia, with links in the left hand side to the different language versions. Anyway, I understand that this affects only to a few products with an international distribution, like beers, whiskeys, chocolate tablets, etc. or the own-branded products of the big distribution companies like Carrefour or Lidl.
The RedBurn commented
I have that kind of problem with this UPC 4001724820000
It's being sold in UK (and made in UK) with specific ingredients and packaging and in West Europe (made in Germany) with different packaging and ingredients. But since the values don't differ too much (I've read 10 % somewhere), the UPC is the same.
Something is needed to differentiate the two slightly different product versions. I think the countries where it's sold is the best way to differentiate them, but we should be able to group them and create different product pages when the product version isn't the same.
- one product page for the version sold in UK
- one product page for the version sold in West Europe
I live in between two countries and languages so that's the kind of issue I face everyday. I think a product should be multi lingual and multi homed. If I search from the fr site I want to find products from all countries, since the bar code is the ID I would think that I'd see the french version of the product (as in the words used). There should be a dictionary that will link all languages together.
ID/ FR/ EN
1 / Citron / Lemon
The dictionary being somehow being built by the community, a bit like wikipedia bots that link pages between languages.
Easier to say than to do, I know.
2 very good questions for which I do not know what is the best answer yet.
For products that are available only in some countries, the best way to solve that would be to find a way to list the countries where they are available. Then we could let users decide if they want to see all products in Spanish, or only products that are widely available in Spain or Argentina.
The issue then becomes: how do we know in which countries a product is available? We could try to crowdsource it. If we create an iphone / android app that is widely used, then we could check where the scans for a product are coming from.
Or we could try to connect with some online stores to see if they sell the product or not.
Or maybe there are other ways. Any ideas ?
For the reverse question (products that are available in multiple languages), at this point they should be only listed in the language that is the most visible on the product. (but it may be that some brands translate the packaging while still using the same barcode...)
One thing I was thinking to do is to someday automatically translate the product information (the ingredients mostly). Then this question becomes the same as the first one: if we know in which countries a product is sold, then we can show it to the right users.