5 ways to globalise an ecommerce brand through effective localisation
For most ecommerce companies, regardless of starting size, the big dream is globalisation. With the success that giants like Amazon have seen online over the past decade or so, more brands than ever are seeing the potential revenue that can come from getting a slice of the $1 trillion plus spent online each year and selling to a global marketplace.
To do this, companies face many challenges. Not every country is the same, and there are barriers that can prevent penetrating the markets in some parts of the world. However, getting translation and localisation right is essential to break down these barriers.
Here, we take a look at five key ways companies can successfully start their brand’s globalisation process through localising their websites.
Effectively translating throughout the site
Translation is the primary tactic when it comes to globalisation. With as many as three-quarters of the world’s online population not speaking English, according to Internet World Stats data, it’s important that any website taking steps into a new market caters to the local target audience, and providing a website in their native language is the first step to breaking down potential barriers.
One of the most vital things to remember, however, is that translation needs to be carried out throughout the entirety of the website. It can be frustrating to choose a localised version of a website, only to find that it’s only the main body text that’s been translated, or that the navigational tools remain in the original language.
The most common pitfalls can come with buttons, which are occasionally not translated and leave the customer potentially confused or alienated. Things like the checkout buttons, add to basket, any currency conversions, and other navigational tools not being properly translated can result in higher bounce rates and more customers leaving the site, so it’s vital to get the translation right throughout the website to maximise the potential of the brand.
Localised mobile site development
The majority of websites created for ecommerce around the globe are developed in the traditional manner, with the laptop or desktop user in mind. For most countries, this will still be a useful way to work, but for others, it’s important to remember that ecommerce companies need to be adaptable.
Some 2 billion people around the world now use smartphones, according to SMS Global, and many of these will use their devices for shopping online. In countries where this is more prominent, those companies that fail to provide a site that is easily navigated on mobile devices risk high bounce rates and turning away customers.
For countries where mobile shopping is much more prominent, it can pay to develop specifically optimised sites, or even apps, for people to purchase on, enhancing their experience and making sure you are not losing out by not offering something that your competitors are.
More localised on-site content
Content in whatever form it comes can be vital to a website’s performance. Whether you’re using news articles, features, videos or infographics, content helps build awareness in your brand and interest in what you do, all with the end goal of asking the customer to convert and make a purchase.
Smart Insights reports that content on site is the most commercially important trends in business, with 30 per cent of decision makers agreeing with this statement. It helps to bring traffic and keeps people on site and interested.
It’s important not to forget this when looking to globalise an ecommerce business. Content needs to be translated, of course, to fit new websites that are being created for specific nations, but it’s not as simple as just translating the content you already have.
Different nationalities will have different interests, and news relevance will differ from country to country, so simply translating from one language to another will mean some of your content can lose its usefulness. For success in globalisation, it’s important to ensure that content is specifically targeted at each nation’s demographic, as well as being correctly translated.
Awareness of specific shopping days
Online retail has given birth to many concepts – fast delivery, ease of purchase and shopping on the move, to name just a few – but in recent years, one aspect of shopping online that has become more and more common has been the emergence of specific, and well marketed, shopping days.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the like have become vital in the ecommerce calendar, with sites across the web giving customers fantastic discounts and perks to encourage them to spend big on specific days.
However, for companies branching out into other nations, it’s important to look at what their most common shopping days are, or else you risk losing out on potentially millions in revenue. For example, in China, the two days above will pass by unnoticed, while Single’s Day becomes the fastest online shopping day of the year. According to the Financial Times, Single’s Day in 2015 saw as much as $14.3 billion spent online in China, showing just how important it is to be aware of other countries’ established customs when entering new markets.
Varied social media use
In the modern world of business, whatever the sector involved, social media use is absolutely vital as a way of not only getting in touch with potential clients but also interacting with them and creating a sense of brand loyalty that can increase repeat business levels.
For ecommerce sites looking to go global, social media use can be just as problematic as translating the site itself, but it’s important to get right to make sure you’re not just wasting your time. Remember, just because Facebook and Twitter are the biggest networks in the west, it doesn’t mean the same is true elsewhere.
According to the Vincos World Map of Social Media for 2015, as soon as you look outside of Europe, what we would consider the two big social media players quickly lose prominence. Of the 1.5 billion users on Facebook, more than 550 million are from North America and Europe, while the site does not perform as well across the rest of the world. For example, V Kontakte and Odnoklassniki are far more popular in Europe than Facebook, while much of the Far East is commanded by QZone and Weibo when it comes to social presence.
Choosing the right social media site for any country that an ecommerce company is looking to branch out into is, therefore, vital. More customers than ever use social media to interact with brands, and choosing one that is most prominent in any given nation will afford companies the widest potential target audience possible.
For any company looking to achieve the overall dream of globalisation, there are a number of hurdles to overcome, but by taking a step by step approach and looking at globalisation factors closely, ecommerce businesses can realise this dream and effectively reach out to markets they could never have in the past.