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Top 5 tips for becoming a global retail brand

Top 5 tips for becoming a global retail brand [Photo: Martin Dimitrov via iStock]
in Retail and Ecommerce

The internet has mutated in recent years from a place people primarily used for the sharing of knowledge and data, into a tool for easier and more convenient shopping. Its emergence as a global marketplace with more than three billion active users has not only been fantastic for shoppers, however, but also for brands, who have been able to unlock far larger and wider spread customer bases.

This has allowed ecommerce brands which may previously have had a narrow reach to become global in their approach, with effective translation of their websites meaning they can appeal to customers across the globe and grow their business in a way they never could before. But how do companies take advantage of the internet and truly go global? We take a look at a few top tips from making the leap from local seller to international brand.

Forget traditions

One of the most important things that companies need to remember when they are taking a brand worldwide is to be open minded when it comes to translation, and not just assume that the languages spoken most commonly across the globe are those that are most prominent online.

After all, as Internet World Stats reports, although there are 400 million French speakers across the globe, a mere quarter of these are active online. And it’s a similar story with Spanish, which has over half a billion native speakers in the world, and only around half of these online. By contrast, languages that may not be seen as traditional translation languages, such as Chinese, Arabic and Japanese, have some of the widest online reaches, and can make for far better options when taking a brand local.

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Be adaptive

Another top tip when going global with a retail brand is to target and translate in a fluid manner. Remember that the internet grows at a startling rate – according to Internet Live Stats it took almost 20 years for the internet to garner one billion users, just five years to get the second billion and only four years for the third billion. The constant increase and spread of internet use means that new markets pop up all the time across the globe, and companies need to be aware of this, and prepared to make changes when newer customer bases emerge.

For example, in recent years we’ve seen the Far East and Middle East become more promising sectors for ecommerce. The emergence of Alibaba and Aliexpress in China, and the continuing rise in buyer numbers in Arabic nations has meant companies needing to adapt and be willing to change their tactics for translation in order to unlock global success.

Think global, act local

One challenge that will always rear its head when it comes to globalisation of a company is how to balance this with the localisation needed in order to optimise performance of an e-commerce site. There’s little use setting out a plan for moving into new markets and translating web content if your attention to detail isn’t up to scratch.

Remember that content promoting your site and products thereon will be consumed in different ways in a range of different countries, and what works in one nation might not necessarily work in another. Companies with a global outlook need to don their local caps as well, and decide whether it’s worth not only translating their website, but also the strategies used within them in order to give them the best chance of success with local buyers.

Buyer habits and localisation

On the subject of localisation, remember that it’s not all about what content you have online and what appeals to buyers, but also how they interact with you as a brand, that matters. Do you need to think about optimising the website for mobile users, for example, as well as translating when moving into certain markets, and is it necessary to change the user journey for customers shopping from other nations?

For example, while in most of the English speaking world we see laptops and desktops remain the primary method of online shopping, according to Remarkety, nations like South Korea are entirely different, with this technically advanced nation boasting as many as half of all purchases being made by mobile. What this shows is that it’s vital companies take optimisation into consideration, but remember, it’s not always necessary, and depends entirely on the specific nation. After all, although there are 1.9 billion smartphones in the world at present, it doesn’t mean everyone in every nation is shopping via mobile.

Be aware of local laws

Localisation does not start and end with users, however. Remember that while the internet in the English speaking world is, generally speaking, quite liberally regulated, it’s not the same story across the world. Taking the wrong approach with online content and hitting a nerve with regulators in some countries can mean a brand being banned or blocked online, making them essentially closed off from potential customers, so remember to ensure that any content used doesn’t fall foul of strict laws in other nations.

Local laws can also affect strategies for social media promotion of your company as well. For example, in China, Facebook is blocked, so promoting your brand via this medium can be a waste of time. It’s always worth learning local laws to make sure any marketing you do for your brand is not entirely in vain.

Becoming a global brand on the world’s biggest marketplace can seem like a daunting task for any business. But with the right translation and a well-thought out strategy for growth, any ecommerce company can push itself into the global market.

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