Ecommerce is a worldwide trend that is set to sustain through the years ahead. Further, international global trade is already developing almost twice as fast as its domestic counterpart.
If we look at some recent figures, we can see that 67% of online buyers from the top global online markets had made at least one international purchase. Moreover, there are other clear indications that this share is going to increase.
And indeed, if you already have an online store, there is nothing that can stop you from going international. However, there are some practical technicalities to consider, which is going to form our focus today.
In this article, we are going to discuss the concept of ecommerce localization, or how to customize your online store offering in each country you are present. We are going to tackle both the concept and some of its key manifestations and strategies.
Learning more about localization may be of real help if you have decided on selling internationally. Yet, if you need to build a preliminary idea of what it may involve (let’s say your content), you may enjoy this video too.
Now, let’s begin with a brief overview of the localization concept.
What is ecommerce localization and why is it so important?
If you do a random search in Google you will immediately arrive at an answer. Online store localization usually entails making your website duly customized and accessible to the market of another country.
This inevitably includes the translation of your content but it may also involve other aspects such as adapting your content to the other country language norms, taking into account market particulars, payment specifics, customer expectations, etc. As these may vary from country to country, you will need to study them separately for all language versions of your online store.
That being said, the importance of ecommerce localization is already logical. In practice, it pertains to your local content potential to resonate with your local target audience in the best possible manner. Related here also are your ability to attain native customer attention, engagement and satisfaction.
If you would like to explore the benefits of localization a step further, you may also see here.
Why eCommerce Localization?
Once you decide to expand your business internationally, you will inevitably recognize the importance of going local.
Several studies reveal that customers are more likely to buy products only when they find relevant description and reviews in their mother tongue. Similarly, they would also like to see that the ecommerce site they are shopping from is hosted in a local domain.
However, this is just a sketch of what your new customer expectations may include. Let us see what an article tells us about the key factors to consider:
1. Study the social code of customer communication
Even if you do the perfect translation of your website content, you still may appear to be missing out on something. For example, this may relate to the level of formality you introduce when speaking to customers. If being informal is perfectly fine in Europe and the USA, it may not be so well perceived in other Eastern cultures.
2. Tailor your social media presence
You will need to study your online customer social behaviour once again. Even if you are effectively promoting on Facebook in Bulgaria, it may turn out that you will need to switch to Twitter when you enter the Japanese market, for example. Finding where your customers are is imperative.
3. Build trust by native user-generated content
As you may be already aware, more than 70% of online customers do read reviews before making a purchase. Thus, you better make sure your reviews are accessible in your new target language. Also, provide for the opportunity that your new customers may drop their comments or reviews in their native language as well.
4. Learn the shopping days of the country
Although Black Friday is a global phenomenon today, probably it was not that prevailing just some ten years ago. Similarly, different cultures may have different shopping habits. For instance, you do have the Bank Holidays in the UK, which are unique for the country. Ensure that you study those in advance.
5. Consider a localized mobile app
It depends on where you are heading to. If you are entering the US market, a local mobile app may be a really good strategic weapon. Just to illustrate, the share of mcommerce online purchases reaches as high as 40% over Black Friday in the US.
6. Ensure appropriate customer service
Local customer service may be a determining factor for your overall ecommerce success. That is why ensure that you either hire someone local to help you out or deliver the most appropriate customer service tool that your new audience is expecting. This may be an e-mail service, chatbot, hotline, etc.
7. Take into account the most typical ways of payment
As you may have already found out yourself, different countries may have different checkout standards. Being one of the most sensitive elements for customers, you must observe and provide for the established ways of payment in the local market.
What Does Going Local Entail?
Ecommerce localization involves a lot more than translating content. Let us take a look at what another study recommends as the top five other elements you have to consider:
- Address formalities – the proper filling of customer addresses during check-out is crucial for completing the sales cycle. Often, you use dedicated forms to collect this info and these need to be customized. For instance, you may need a field for a postcode in the UK, but not so in another country.
- Price tags – it is imperative that you set your prices in the local currency. This is what may win a new local customer or make him leave.
- Culturally Sensitive Visuals – cultural appropriateness of images is imperative. If you do not study the cultural sensitivity of your target audience, you may be often facing the risk of being offensive with your content without being aware of it. For example, in some countries, customers may find it offensive if they see a model presenting a product rather than an image of the product only.
- Holidays – we have already mentioned the importance of local holidays but this is important. To reiterate, if most of the countries now do celebrate Black Friday, probably not all of them do so with Thanksgiving. The more recent Frenzy Day in Australia is another good local example.
- Duties and Taxes – there are different established norms for displaying taxes that local customers expect to be observed. Let’s say your online store may list a final price but it may also separate it into a basic product price and taxes.
Expanding your ecommerce business internationally is a bold step to success. This is supported both by international purchase statistics and the overall ecommerce trends.
Ecommerce localization ensures that you are empowered to address your new foreign market properly. It is vital that you consider the native language of your new target customers, their cultural expectations and all key technical details that may be needed.
If you need your online store professionally localized, do give us a call.