With virtual shopping accessible from every corner of the world, it’s a shame for e-commerce owners to pass on the opportunity of taking their business to the global market. If you’re running a successful online venture, consider reaching out to new markets today – if you don’t, your competitors will seize this chance sooner or later.
But if you think you can just keep on going with English as the language of your website and engage audiences from other countries, you’re highly mistaken. Sure, the ones who are engaged enough will seek your store and products, but it’s your job to meet customers halfway and provide them with an easy way for purchasing your products. That essentially means that you should localize your website.
If you fail to employ a solid localization strategy, you’ll never engage new audiences in your product. Moreover, keeping your website only in English, you’ll address just one third of your potential market. If that’s not a waste, I don’t know what is. Here’s why localization is so important to making your business truly international.
Why is localization so crucial?
A recent survey showed that consumers are definitely more likely to buy products online if they can do it in their own language. And it’s not just about the kind of copy-paste translation of your content.
If you decide to localize your website including all the product descriptions and database-driven content into new languages, you need to have a sense of cultural sensitivity. If you don’t, you’ll inevitably discourage users from buying your products by appearing unprofessional and simply not trustworthy.
Thanks to successful localization, you’ll engage and convert new audiences with a relatively low amount of effort from your side. Interacting with a well-designed website featuring product descriptions and images in their own language, users are bound to trust your business. Hosting your website on a country-level domain, you’ll add to this sense of trustworthiness.
You must be wondering about how many languages does it take for a global businesses to stay competitive online. Experts believe the minimum number of languages should be 14. But if you’d like to extend your reach and address the majority of economies, you’ll need to translate your website into at least 20 different languages. It might seem like a drag to translate all your web content into so many languages, but the benefits of localization are enough to change your mind.
Here are 7 things you should know to make the most from localization in reaching your business goals on the international market.
- Feature localized user-generated content
If you haven’t realized the value of user-generated content for your business yet, here are a couple of statistics you should see right now:
- 63% of surveyed consumers will be more likely to purchase a product from a website if they see positive product reviews and ratings
- 70% of consumers read such ratings and reviews before deciding to make a purchase
- 71% of e-commerce customers consider online reviews as a security value when purchasing online
All in all, you can count on consumer reviews to bring you a smashing 74% increase in product conversion!
It’s clear that consumers trust the opinions of their peers, so if you want to positively influence their purchasing decision, make sure to deliver reviews in their own language. Every language version of your website should allow consumers to rate and review products. When a user accesses an Italian version of your website, they’ll see only reviews written in this language.
If you get a particularly powerful review, it’s in your interest to translate it into other languages and display it right at the top of the review list for the product. This is how you leverage its value for generating more revenue on different language versions of your e-commerce website.
- Learn about local rules for customer interactions
Details like customer greetings really matter. You must realize that different cultures require different levels of formality. That’s why it’s in your interest to learn as much as you can about social interaction norms in countries where you plan to extend your business. While informal communication most of the time works in Western countries, customers from the East might feel out of place if you greet them in a decidedly informal manner.
By showing awareness of details like the correct name order, the common number of names and surnames your customers have or the required level of formality, you’ll make them feel welcome in your store and trust you as a provider of quality products.
- Build a localized mobile app
M-commerce is a phenomenon you shouldn’t underestimate. Right now there are already more mobile devices than people in the world and consumers are increasingly prone to make online purchases with their tablets and mobile phones. Consider the last Black Friday, where 40% of sales were made through m-commerce. That’s why you should consider offering that kind of experience to your customers as well – and localize it to extend the reach of your mobile app.
When deciding to expand to new markets with your app, take a close look first to decide whether you potential customers actually use mobile devices to make purchases. Purchasing habits vary from country to country, so research them first and then add more languages to your app to effectively engage wider audiences.
- Nail it on social media
Social media are one of the most important channels for interacting with consumers. Since they’re all about communication, you need to know how to talk to your customers to do it right from the very first post. Without this knowledge, you stand no chance at offering content that will resonate with your audience.
Naturally, you shouldn’t assume that audiences in different countries use the exact same social media. Not everyone will be on Twitter or Facebook. That’s why successful localization can bring you great results in making your social media activity a big boost to your business revenue.
- Process payments in local currencies
Online shoppers like to make purchases in their own language and pay for them in their local currency. Offering a flexible shopping cart that can easily convert money from one currency to another, you’ll be significantly helping your business. Make sure that you know what are the standard and preferred payment solutions and adapt to them. Not every market will offer the same checkout process, so don’t expect your customers all over the world to fit into your existing solution.
- Benefit from major shopping events
You probably realize that even if Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now global events, they aren’t the only shopping holidays on the planet. Localizing your business, you’ll benefit from knowledge about such events in different countries and potentially generate lots of revenue.
Make sure to create a host of marketing materials to inspire users to visit your website. Benefit from guidance of local marketing consultants to help you nail down the tone and style of the local market. All that effort is well-worth it.
- Offer localized customer service
Finally, there’s the matter of customer service. You know that impeccable customer service is key to your sales. Offering assistance in your customer’s language will not only render the process much more efficient, but also provide them with a great experience with your brand. Open a phone hotline, email support and live chat – ensure all are delivered in local languages. Hire local professionals to help you provide excellent support to your local customer communities.
Localization should be your first step to expanding your reach over international markets. By investing in localization, you’ll ensure that your marketing massages engage and convert consumers from markets all over the world.
About the author
Amelia Knott is a manager at aubiz.net – an online ABN lookup tool. She has a great passion for e-commerce and likes to share her insights on that.