4 Tips to Take Localization to the Next Level

global-shipping-840The economic potential of ecommerce is mighty indeed. We’re talking about a billion buyers across the world representing $1.2 trillion in online sales in 2012, projected to grow 44% in the Asia Pacific region.

The global market is open for business, and many of your competitors are already out there solidifying their localization strategy for online shoppers. Ecommerce provides many opportunities for businesses, but you have to make sure you’re on top of your game.

If you’re thinking about taking your ecommerce business to the next level, here are a few things to consider.

Don’t miss out on global shopping events

Have you heard of a shopping event that generated $5.7 billion online, more than any other national shopping event globally? It’s not Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It’s called Single’s Day in China.

Global shopping events present great opportunities for ecommerce, but your company has to prepare and localize your website and sometimes alter the brand to resonate with online shoppers. To do this, you’ll need in-country, native-speaking marketing experts to ensure your messages hit home with locals. Everything from online advertisements to print collateral will need to be part of your localization strategy.

Finding a language services partner that offers deep expertise and experience for all global marketing needs as part of a localization strategy can increase the success of any ecommerce business.

One language is not enough

If other global sales events are in your forecast, then don’t allow your company to be at a huge disadvantage with only one language. A solid localization strategy incorporates multiple languages on websites. According to a study by Common Sense Advisory, you limit yourself to one third of a potential $45 trillion economic opportunity if your websites are only available in English.

According to the study, a business needs a minimum of 14 languages in order to stay competitive online and 20 languages if you want to reach 95 percent of all ecommerce users.

A successful ecommerce localization strategy includes regional languages. ASOS, a European-based clothing seller, launched a website for the Chinese and Russian markets in 2013. The company not only expanded its global footprint beyond the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany and Australia but saw its international sales grow 39 percent.

To capture a bigger portion of the global ecommerce pie, consider adding languages from your target markets. Check out this blog post for tips on ecommerce website localization.

Positive customer reviews means more customers

Customer reviews help boost ecommerce sales, and sites with just product descriptions – even if they have the best content in the local language – can limit conversions. Providing ways for customers to rate and review your products in their own language boosts buyer confidence. A Review of Reviews study on consumer behavior found:

  • 71% of customers agree that online consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they’re buying the right product or service
  • 70% of people consult reviews and ratings before purchasing
  • 63% of people are more likely to purchase a product from a website if it has positive product ratings and reviews
  • Customer reviews create a 74% increase in product conversion

Once your localized websites allow consumers to rate and review your products or services, use the reviews to your advantage. More than just consumer confidence boosters, they help leverage your brand among online consumers – but only if they’re translated into the local language.

The rise of m-commerce

With the explosion in mobile commerce, you need to be plugged into this trend. Today, 50% of people who own a mobile phone use it as their primary internet source.

Black Friday sales are evidence of m-commerce’s impact—typically comprising up to 40 percent of all sales transactions during the sales event. Companies like Netshoes and eBay are creating and localizing their mobile apps for exploding markets, such as Brazil.

The integration of mobile apps – another major trend – into your localized website is another important consideration. You can find a useful step-by-step guide to this process here.

Ecommerce doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark for you. But to succeed in ecommerce globally, it’s important to include a localization strategy that hits all of your business goals not matter what region you’re doing business in.

Shannon Zimmerman is cofounder and CEO of Sajan, a leading global language services and technology provider.

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