eCommerce Localization Best Practices

by | Jul 1, 2020

If you want to succeed in doing business in a different country, you must pay attention to eCommerce localization. This means localizing your website to conform to a country’s unique language and cultural norms. Thinking that this step is unnecessary, and using the same eCommerce content across various global regions can lead to massive disconnects between you and the customers you want to reach. 

eCommerce Localization Best Practices 1

4 Reasons Why You Need eCommerce Localization:

1. You Need to Connect With Your Target Customers

Language, culture, and traditions vary greatly between countries. What your target audience will find acceptable in one locale may not be liked in another. Even people in different regions within a nation have differences in the way they live and perceive things. 

  • Example: Western countries are a lot more open and liberal on various topics than large parts of the rest of the world. Therefore, openly posting content about something (e.g., anything with a sexual connotation) that is normal in the west may be regarded as scandalizing to people in certain other countries, especially those in the Middle East. Considering that the Middle East is one of the largest high-spending markets in the world, it would be wise to localize your site to conform to its more conservative sensibilities.  

2. Localization Opens the Door to New Markets

Data tells us that more internet users browse websites and eCommerce stores in their local language than in English. Therefore, when you localize your website for a specific market, you make yourself more approachable and available to local consumers. Additionally, with more and more shoppers worldwide spending via their smartphones, you also need a localized mobile website

  • Example: In India, studies show that many more people choose to consume online content in their native language than in English. In addition, many Indians who do not own a computer do have a mobile phone. India is poised to be the third-largest consumer market globally, so localizing your site for the main Indian languages is essential if you want to do well there. 

3. A Personalized Customer Journey Is What Works

Imagine if a prospective customer who isn’t proficient in your website’s language is looking at your content. Will they really stick around and browse through your offerings? No, they won’t. eCommerce localization of your site will allow you to engage with the prospect and make the entire purchase process understandable to them. Your instructions for order placements, returns, refunds, etc. should be easy to follow and provide a quality experience during the entire customer journey. 

4. You Can Tap Into Local Holiday Revenue Streams

Taking advantage of local holidays and festivals is a great benefit of localizing your eCommerce store. The holidays are when people tend to shop more than usual, and the concept of holiday shopping isn’t limited to just one part of the world. Keep in mind that many countries don’t celebrate Christmas or the New Year. However, local festivals and celebrations offer great opportunities for local sales. Here are just a few examples:

  • China – On November 11, China celebrates Singles Day. The Chinese eCommerce giant, Alibaba, makes the most of this highly popular shopping spree, bringing in more revenue than Cyber Monday and Black Friday in the US combined. 
  • India – The November festival of lights called Diwali is one of the busiest shopping periods in the entire country. 
  • The Middle East and Africa – Several global brands make special offers during the important time of Ramadan.
  • Australia – The holiday season down under boasts a major November shopping event called Click Frenzy, which is an online mega-sale composed of promotions from various retailers. 
  • Black Friday Abroad – This big shopping day is generally associated with the American market, but this concept has also been growing in significance for international shoppers. A whole host of countries, such as Spain, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Ireland, the UK, Italy, Germany, Chile, and Portugal, now have their own versions of Black Friday. 

So, mark up your international holiday calendar and aim to provide localized shopping experiences during these times. Soon enough, your international holiday deals will provide you with the ROI you’re looking for. 

Key eCommerce Features to Localize

ECommerce is a sector that has seen extraordinary growth, and this phenomenon isn’t limited to the west. For instance, in India, eCommerce has been rapidly snatching the market away from its brick and mortar rivals. Flipkart, a leading eCommerce retailer in India, came into being in 2007 and has seen tremendous growth. If you’re an eCommerce retailer, this is the perfect time to localize and access valuable foreign markets. But, before you do, make sure you consider these factors. 

Language

Language is an essential part of eCommerce localization. The first step is to know what language to use if you want to make inroads into a local market. For instance, research tells us that the Indian population has an affinity toward more content in Hindi. In fact, searches for content in the Hindi language have grown by more than 100% in the past few years. Moreover, similar growth has been noted with regard to the country’s other regional languages. Customers will find content written in their own language easier to understand, making it more likely that they will buy from you. 

SEO Metadata

SEO is another area of high importance with respect to eCommerce localization. You need to identify keywords that are likely to be used by your local demographic. Even if English is the local language, a search term could be phrased differently from how a customer back home might use it.

Customer Experience

Apart from language, the way you communicate has a lot to do with providing the right customer experience. For example, formalities and pleasantries can vary from one country to another. In America, informal would be the way to go – customers prefer to have businesses chat them up in a casual manner. However, will that approach work in more formal societies like Germany or Japan? Do your research and make sure you know the right words and phrases to use when greeting your customers. Here are some other things to consider when you are trying to enhance customer experience: 

  • Payments and Currency – Many new eCommerce businesses overlook the issue of payments and currency. Local online shoppers want to see prices that they understand – they do not want to have to cope with the annoyance of having to make conversions. When pricing your products or services, your prices also need to reflect the region’s taxes and exchange rates. Customer preferences with respect to a payments provider should also be a priority. 
  • FAQs and Policy Pages – You need to make sure that your FAQ page has been translated accurately. Moreover, while many queries are universal, you might want to consider some additional questions that international customers might ask, such as those related to extra shipping costs and delivery times. Don’t leave your customers in the lurch. Ensure that all their policy queries are answered in the local language. Customers should have a very clear idea of the terms you are offering, and there should be no room for uncertainty and vagueness that could cause problems later. What you don’t want is dissatisfied customers.
  • Order and Contact Forms – Contact and order forms need to be translated accurately so that users know exactly what needs to be filled in and where. Your order forms should also be designed to conform to the way dates and addresses are written in different countries. 
  • Checkout Page – The checkout page is where you close the sale (or not), and if you aren’t doing what’s necessary to simplify this final step, you could lose the sale. A lot of businesses redirect the checkout page to their main website. This is a huge mistake as far as eCommerce localization goes – customers don’t want to be directed to an unfamiliar site without warning. So, make sure that your checkout page remains within the local site. 
  • Customer Service – If your customers can ask their questions and receive answers in their own language, their trust level increases, and they are likely to shop with you again. Provide a more personalized experience by incorporating e-mail and innovative service tools such as live chat and live phone. 

Use Localize for Your eCommerce Localization

Increase the international trust in your brand by delivering an eCommerce localization experience in your audience’s native language, with a strategy enhanced by localization. Whether you are just getting started with multilingual eCommerce or setting your sights on a brand new market, Localize’s powerful and scalable translation management platform will help you get there. Contact us for more information and to sign up for a free trial.