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Importance of translation and the buyer cycle

Importance of translation and the buyer cycle
in Retail and Ecommerce

When ecommerce companies are translating and localising their websites, there are a great many doors opened in terms of new markets and new customer bases that were previously unreachable. However, there are pitfalls when it comes to making sure the website is effectively translated, and certain easy to miss areas can lead to customers being turned away from the site if they are not properly translated.

Any customer that comes onto site goes through what is known as the buyer cycle; awareness, interest, action and advocacy, and at various points of this cycle, there are risk areas where websites can lose customers if they are not delivering a localised site that provides well for customers. 

Getting people to come onto the site (awareness stage) can be a relatively straightforward task, but it's how companies deliver after this that can make or break their bid to go global. We take a look at the other different stages of the buyer cycle and how effective translation in each area can help ecommerce sites guide users from new markets through the site. 


In the interest stage, your main goal is to get your customer engaged with your brand and seeing how you can solve their problem, normally offering them a product that they want at a good price. But this is easier said than done for global brands. 

It's all too easy to get hung up on things like making sure you have enough translated content to grab the attention, but if something as simple as website navigation is off, it can cause customers to leave before they ever convert.

According to a Kissmetrics infographic, as many as 50 per cent of all sales are lost online because people simply can't find what it is they're looking for. When it comes to putting content online, it's important that it's not only well translated, but also that it's configured correctly. 

To properly execute the interest stage, it's vital that people can navigate through things that serve to show them what your brand can do for them. This means grouping similar content together and making it easier to move between them on site.


The action stage is the area of the process where customers are most likely to be lost, with a number of different potential pain points when it comes to actually converting on a purchase. As this is the primary goal of any ecommerce site, not getting it right here can be a real problem. 

So where are people leaving the site when they should be converting? According to Formisimo's webinar, the two main failings can centre around a lack of help text, and issues with data input, both of which can bring difficulties with translated sites. 

For companies moving into new markets with their websites, having additional help text in the localisation process can be very important in reassuring customers before they convert. Things such as delivery charges to their country and contact details can help put the minds of the customer at ease. 

In addition to this, it's important to remember that any fields that need to be filled in are translated properly. Many companies will fail when it comes to this, and it can be as fundamental as not accepting bank details from overseas institutions, or as easy as not having enough characters to fill in a postcode or a phone number from a different country. It's the little things like this, which can often go unnoticed, that see customers lose confidence in your site at the most crucial stage, and see them clicking off site.  

It can also be a wise move to look into how other ecommerce sites work in your target nation. Formisimo says that as many as 27 per cent of customers worldwide will abandon a cart at checkout in search of a coupon. Are coupons commonplace in your new target market? If so, it can be vital that you offer them to keep people on site. 


In online retail, repeat custom is big business, as is online advocacy, and it's at the post-purchase stage that customers can become very important to the business, as they can be turned from buyers to brand advocates. 

If your ecommerce site is still relatively unknown in a new country, giving customers the chance to share and talk about your brand on social media can be priceless. But it can also be a real hurdle to overcome, and one that is easy for brands to fall at. 

The main issue comes with the use of certain types of social media. For western companies, it's easy to forget that not every nation has widespread access to the likes of Facebook or Twitter, so the buttons for sharing post-purchase and in emails can become obsolete when you go overseas. 

According to Search Engine People, China, for example, has three large sites that total more than a billion users, none of which we ever see in the west. QZone alone has 712 million users, and in spite of this, it's easy for a company going overseas to forget to look into social media, potentially losing themselves the chance to turn customers into priceless brand advocates. 

The key to success when going global with an ecommerce brand is to understand how your customer is likely to navigate through your website. Once you know what they are looking for and when they will be looking for it, you can start to really shore up those little gaps that might have previously lost you custom and stop people leaving the site before they convert. 

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