When it comes to going global with your business, you’ll want your customers both here and abroad to feel at home on your website. But what are the best practices to make this happen?
Chuck Whiteman, senior vice president of client services for MotionPoint International, offered 10 “needle mover” tips for global ecommerce success at Multichannel Merchant’s recent Growing Global conference in Long Beach, CA.
Delivery: Get the product into the hands of your international customer. Moving from your legacy distribution process to a globally-focused 3PL will help increase your international distribution. Whitman said a 3PL will turn fixed overhead costs into variable ones.
Currency: Clearly communicate currency in the the prices of your products. Display the approximate price in local currency and offer local pricing and checkout. Also keep in mind who your target customer is in this exercise.
“Using local currency will increase conversions by 60% in the United Kingdom,” said Whiteman.
Payment Types: Add relevant country payment types supported by your processor, and ask them to add others they don’t support as well.
Language: Do the math and optimize your translation ROI, thus enabling full “transcreation,” the ability to ensure that the tone, intent, style, etc. of your messaging has been adapted successfully into the local language.
SEO: Follow and use Google’s guidelines, including its tips on optimizing your main website and use the right URL strategy. “Templatize” on-page SEO elements and connect all sites with “rel-alternate” coding attributes to serve the correct language or regional URL in search results. Follow SEO best practices and include inbound linking. Use scalable URL structure that leverages the power of your domain.
“You are not creating cost you could otherwise avoid,” said Whiteman. “It’s important to link your localized site to your origin.” He added if you do what Google says, you will do okay in other search engines.
Conversion Optimization: Launch and benchmark, hypothesize and test. Follow this by implementing a visitor survey along with focus groups and experience testing.
“Think like your target customer – remember that they trust you,” Whiteman said.
By asking what they think, Whitman said, merchants can increase conversion rates through engagement.
Customer Service: Use translated FAQs, and have emails and live help in the local language. This creates confidence and inceases conversion and loyalty.
Outbound Marketing: Launch outbound marketing and capture email opt-in and language preference; follow this with cross-channel marketing and use of a local social presence.
“I see clients have success with social as they matured,” said Whiteman.
Optimize Site Speed: Follow this up with use of a content delivery network, local testing and implementing responsive design; also consider creation of a mobile app. Adding one second more in load time equals a 10% drop in conversion rates.
Units of Measure: Launch and display conversion tables, followed by translating the units of measure. Also globalize your date formatting. “There are a lot of conventions in terms of how things are measured,” said Whiteman.