E-commerce is a category of websites characterized by a high number of pages, identical in appearance and structure, but which can deal with hundreds or thousands of items and products.
How important is the translation and localization of a website or e-commerce compared to a mere literal translation? The fact that the site has pages with high technical content related to the products does not mean that we can pay less attention to the quality of the translation. Any page, e-commerce or not, when it seems translated by a computer, loses all its appeal.
Localization: Speak the language of your customers
For a foreign buyer to feel comfortable purchasing from your e-commerce site, they must be able to understand what you offer. Whether hosted on a website, an app, or any other medium, your content must be translated and adapted to each consumer’s language. Many studies argue that a good translation is essential. In fact, authoritative industry surveys report that 52% of Internet users say that obtaining information in their native language is more important than the price of a product when they have to decide whether or not to buy something.
However, language localization of a website or app goes far beyond simply providing sensible content in the local language. Online sellers should hire local copywriters and designers from each country, who know the expectations and needs of consumers.
Many large companies have found themselves in a complicated situation due to incorrect translations. For example, when KFC entered the Chinese market in the 1980s, it mistranslated its slogan, and the message it eventually released sounded something like this: “Eat your fingers.” Not many Chinese consumers appreciated this prospect.
Moral of the story? Don’t trust Google Translate, hire a native translator. On average, for every euro invested in translation and localization, the estimated return is 25 euros. Definitely a good deal.
Act like a local brand
When approaching other cultures, a fundamental aspect is not to offend consumers. To give an example: in Europe it is socially accepted for models to wear provocative clothes, which sometimes leave little to the imagination. However, in the Middle East the situation is not the same. For example, if you associate your products with images and photos that could be misunderstood and misjudged by the audience for which they are intended, you risk offending the sensitivity of those people and, consequently, not selling even a single unit of what you offer.
Let’s try another example to make the concept clearer. In the wedding dress market there are many differences from country to country, even within the West itself. While in Germany there is a demand for more conservative dresses, with covered shoulders and sleeves, in countries like Australia brides prefer more open shoulders.
These are some examples of how each market seeks different products and approaches. Likewise, you must ensure that every aspect that influences the consumer experience is adapted: payments, logistics, customer service… i.e. all those factors that influence the sales of your e-commerce.
For example, if you want to use social networks to attract your customers in the United States, Facebook has everything it takes to be the right social network for you. However, if your consumers are Chinese, you will likely have better luck with the WeChat social network.
US shoppers like to shop online with their credit cards, while shoppers in the Netherlands prefer to use an alternative payment method called iDEAL. There are still consumers in markets like Romania, Russia or India who choose to pay cash on delivery.
Customer service factors also vary: according to Accenture, consumers in Brazil find the acceptable wait time to speak to a customer service agent to be less than 3 minutes, while shoppers in the UK are more patient and are willing to wait between 4 and 10 minutes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should prioritize customers from one country over another, just that you should consider all aspects of your offering when promoting a business.
Choose the right sales channel
There are hundreds of sales channels and thousands of tools with which to promote your e-commerce. It is important to choose the right ones for each country. As mentioned above, each region has its predominant social networks, as well as the markets where the consumer is most likely to purchase. Before choosing yours, we recommend doing an in-depth study of market data and your competition, to get a clearer idea of what might work and how you should differentiate yourself.
Our recommendation is that each seller defines some objectives and, based on this, chooses the most appropriate platforms and channels to achieve them and integrates them into their e-commerce strategy. The rise of the digital age makes selling in an international marketplace easier than ever. Having a global presence can bring you many benefits, but you will need to develop a localization strategy if you want to be successful.
Marketing Team LingoYou
Send us an email