Nearly two billion people in the world shop online, and your business should use ecommerce localization to reach them.
Without ecommerce localization, an American business can reach more than 230 million people. While a market of millions is nothing to be flippant about, ecommerce localization allows you to expand your market drastically. Here’s how.
What is Ecommerce Localization?
Imagine being able to reach customers internationally, in their language, and on a level playing field with local competitors. Then imagine getting even more customers — domestically — from culturally diverse backgrounds. That’s what ecommerce localization provides — an online shopping experience for national and international customers indistinguishable from their native, trusted sources.
Just like a chameleon, it’s all about blending in with the cultural environment of your customers.
At Mindsize, ecommerce development is our forte. It’s what we do. If you plan to expand your business globally or reach more non-English speaking customers domestically, ecommerce localization is a critical piece of this puzzle.
For those who plan to grow, ecommerce localization provides your company the tools it needs for optimal digital scaling and performance expansion across the globe. It also gives your customers a hassle-free, comfortable user experience that increases trust.
The Difference Between Localization and Translation
Translation is a critical aspect of ecommerce localization. Your customers need to read product descriptions and customer reviews to understand what you’re offering.
Translation doesn’t mean just installing a plugin that translates your site to another language. There are options that can do this, but they miss nuances in the language and may make your site look less, not more, inclusive.
Plus site translation alone is not enough to inspire confidence. You need to connect culturally with your target audience. Ecommerce localization applies cultural filters.
What are the colors and nuances that your market segments prefer?
What are their major holidays, so you can effectively market valuable products?
Crafting your email marketing campaigns for maximum impact means making them culturally appropriate. It helps make your campaigns resonate by tailoring your brand messaging to individual macro markets. This tailored messaging means translating and culturally connecting in up to 20 different language markets.
Of course, as small and mid-sized business owners know, expansion takes time and money. But any global development benefits your company long term.
How Ecommerce Localization Helps Brands Go Global
Hindsight may be 20/20, but foresight will save you needless aggravation and money.
The true beauty of ecommerce localization is that it takes the guesswork out of marketing your products internationally. It allows you to consider each audience individually and think about what design elements most appeal to them and provide them with the best possible user experience.
Localization allows you to:
- Theme Offers. Offer themed advertisements or discounts based on calendar holidays, festivals, customs, or events directly related to international customers.
- Consider Timing. Launch campaigns based on local time differences to reach customers during the day part that makes the most sense in their timezone.
- Accept Currency. Remove barriers around currency conversion. Don’t force your customers to convert yen or pesos to dollars or euros when selecting between products. Take the guesswork and stress out of potential financial transactions by adapting your products to local currencies.
You will, however, need to figure out the details related to regional regulations, local prohibitions, and potential sales taxes of localization before you translate your site.
5 Reasons to Embrace Ecommerce Localization
When deciding whether you want your business to go global, it’s essential to keep some factors in mind. Specifically, if it’s feasible and what the benefits are.
The primary benefit of global business is connecting with your target audience authentically. By doing so, you can attract various cultures, launch relevant ads, and craft the all-important email marketing campaigns that are the lifeblood of ecommerce.
Here are five reasons companies branch out globally through ecommerce localization:
1. More Prospects. The global audience is much larger than the local one. That means more potential customers. Reach people where they are and through their native language.
2. More Customers. By translating your website and making it culturally relevant, your personalized messaging will resonate more. Such sensitivity builds trust and grows customers. That not only helps ensure far more healthy and authentic connections, it also means you’ll retain your international customers. That is what levels the playing field among local competitors abroad.
3. Improved Customer Experience. A positive user experience makes for happy, repeat customers. Reducing confusion on product descriptions and specifications also translates into far more positive customer reviews. It will also inspire free word-of-mouth advertising locally.
4. Greater Profit. Making localization investments means expanding globally. Reaching audiences worldwide increases your ecommerce revenue exponentially, letting you earn more with your money.
5. Successful Business. Digital connectivity largely decimated costly brick-and-mortar businesses. The retail apocalypse is real. Though nothing can be guaranteed, ecommerce localization + great digital marketing + good products = consistent online success in a larger pool.
Amazon’s Success with Localization Strategies
How did Amazon gain market dominance around the world? By thinking big and embracing ecommerce localization.
The global shipping giant captured markets by tailoring its digital brand messaging entirely differently in Japan than in China, the U.S., or the U.K.
Amazon didn’t just translate text. They adapted their site’s photos and graphics. Why? Because culturally, customers may not resonate with your content if it looks like it’s being marketed solely to Westerners.
India and China combined are home to 3 billion people. To localize in India, Amazon first translated its online shopping platform, offering both Hindi and English. They began offering call-back hotlines in three popular regional languages: Kannada, Tamil, and Telegu. Now, Amazon has city-specific digital platforms to target market segments in India.
The lesson: If you want to conquer the world, be strategic.
How to Localize for Ecommerce
Localization makes excellent international customer service possible. That requires strategic planning.
There are many factors to consider, but first, find out if it’s locally relevant. Do market research to determine your target audiences.
Once you determine your geographic regions:
- Call On Locals. It’s always wise to ask locals their opinions. It might also help in hiring translators for writing product descriptions or adapting your SEO and keyword searches.
- Learn the Rules. This discovery period is vital for assessing potential tax regulations, regional shipping regulations, and local privacy policies.
- Localize Online Marketing. Marketing is how you stay relevant and spread the word about your products and services. Track traffic sources on your website to determine which products potential customers are interested in.
- Make It Mobile. Optimize your site for web and mobile access. Today’s shoppers tend to make purchases from their phones more frequently than in the past.
- Make Checkout Seamless. Localizing the checkout process takes planning. That means correct translations—especially for product sizes and measurements. It also means localizing payment methods, working with local banks, and knowing which online e-wallets are available and preferred in your chosen markets. It also means translating local currencies accurately, so your customers don’t have to.
- Get Good Help. You may need help to write code, craft email marketing, and adapt your site. Find a trusted ecommerce developer early on to help you implement and fine-tune the process.
Selecting Localization Resources
Once you’ve determined your target markets, select which languages those customers prefer to surf in. Note that it may be more than one language per geographic area.
Choose a Language Service Provider or native-speaking person to translate or edit content and assure correct context. Computer-assisted translation tools can help translate files, safeguard base terms, and catalog institutional memory and glossaries of repeated words. Translation Management Systems also are available for the project management of ecommerce localization.
When deciding whether to contract with a translation company, ask if they provide live testing. Testing will let you catch errors and make the needed corrections before going live.
For excellent customer service, FAQs won’t be enough. Consider opening up a call hotline to resolve disputes or doubts. You also can offer email support and live chat options in each target language.
Get Ready, World!
Want to grow? Start doing your homework. Strategize to find where your global target markets are, then market locally to them. Discover new worlds and millions of potential customers.