Running an e-commerce business is often faced with multiple opportunities. With the internet, you have one significant advantage – you can be situated anywhere in the world.
If you’re looking for ways to expand and extend your business, it’s a great time to do it. You should jump on the wave before any of your competitors do.
However, one thing stops many e-commerce businesses from venturing into the international market – the language.
This is where localization plays a meaningful role.
Below, we look into the benefits of localization for your business, and ways that you can begin to implement it instantly.
What is e-commerce localization?
Localization is the process of making something local. For e-commerce, this not only means making the site available for different countries, but the language adapts for those countries too.
Localization is absolutely necessary if e-commerce businesses desire to be successful in different countries.
Not only does it enable it to be accessible to more people, but it appeals to the target audience in a new way.
Localization is modified in both software and content of an e-commerce site, and often requires specific tools and specialized help.
What is the difference between localization and translation?
Localization shouldn’t be confused with translation. There’s a significant difference between the two concepts.
Make no mistake, translation is a big part of localization. However, localization goes much deeper.
For example, say you’re creating a website for your Spanish audience. Translation will convert the text to Spanish, and make it readable for your target audience. Great.
Localization will then adapt this translation to your target audience. Colors, nuances, times, dates, and cultural differences are now considered.
Ultimately, this results in a website that looks like it was initially made for that target audience, rather than merely translated.
It’s this that creates authenticity and a bond with your target audience. An undeniable connection will be formed, and you’ll realize the benefits of localization quickly.
Now that we know the main differences, how does this genuinely benefit your e-commerce site? Does going the extra mile genuinely change anything for your business?
Below are the various benefits.
1. You’ll reach a wider audience
Obviously, if you’re putting the effort into expanding your business, you’ll reach a much wider audience.
Consumers are much more likely to buy products online if they can do so in their own language. Localization also helps this audience to feel much more targeted.
Once you localize your business, you’ll effortlessly reach new audiences by personalizing the message to their particular culture. Seeing well-written content, that follows a consistent theme, definitely builds a particular trust with new customers.
Many brands choose to simply translate, rather than localized. In this case, they’re missing one of the most significant benefits of localization.
Localization means that you mitigate cultural sensitivity and only create positive associations with your brand. This is highly beneficial to your company.
Something just as simple as formatting numbers the right way goes much further than you may initially believe.
As an e-commerce business, you should always be looking for new ways to reach wider audiences. Localization is definitely a great way to do so.
2. You connect with your current audience better
It’s not just about reaching new audiences, it’s about retaining them.
You want to find ways to keep your audience coming back, which requires a unique type of connection.
Again, localization builds a level of trust with your customers and helps to ensure that they return to your site. If your customers didn’t feel like the site had them in mind, they likely wouldn’t return.
An EU survey revealed that 9 out of 10 internet users would choose to use a website in their own language. This only proves just how much customers want sites in their own language.
If you provide this, they will be likely to return.
Existing customers want to feel like you’re thinking about their requirements. Noticing your localization efforts will absolutely make your shine.
If you show a deeper level of understanding to your international customers, they’ll feel more connected. This allows them to feel like they can ask you for help, and ensures a healthy connection.
A change in language is more important than just basic understanding. It’s a way to build meaningful relationships with your customers.
3. Improve customer service
On that point, this also helps with customer service.
Of course, customer service will always be better if you speak the same language. However, there will also be much less confusion around the site, with the help from localization.
For instance, product descriptions and specifications are easily understood. This way, there’s no errors or misunderstandings, and customer service is optimal.
Another fantastic benefit of localization is the review section. People are much more likely to purchase a product from a website that they see high ratings for.
With help from localization, all aspects of your website are translated and culturally relevant. Even the reviews.
Positive customer service is absolutely essential if you want to retain customers. This way, customers always feel like they are respected and can turn to you with any questions and help.
Also, word of mouth marketing is still one of the best forms. When a customer has a positive experience, they pass their opinion onto others. This links to point number one about reaching new customers.
As an e-commerce business, you’ll already be aware of how important it is to offer excellent customer service. Localization makes this possible in other countries.
Make sure that you’ve opened a hotline, email support, and live chat options – all in the same language.
Customer service is the key to making online shops successful. Never overlook it.
4. You’ll increase revenue
As a business, income is always at the forefront. If you don’t make revenue, your efforts will be wasted.
You can rest assured that localization helps increase revenue for your e-commerce store.
A natural outcome of reaching new audiences worldwide is that you’ll earn much more money.
By offering a solution to language barriers, you’re opening your company up to a potential of millions of new customers. If you localize your store in China, you could be reaching billions.
Though it’s healthy to be extremely optimistic. Localization, along with great digital marketing techniques, and products, makes anything possible.
We’ll never guarantee aspects like this, but it does seem to go hand in hand with localization.
Make no mistake, entering a new country and a unique market requires a lot of hard work and creativity. Localization helps massively, but other aspects play a big part, too.
You’ll have to research the cultural differences and expectations in each country. Marketing also differs internationally, and some products might not be wanted or needed in some locations.
Once all your research is complete. Localize your website, and you’ll have a sure-fire way to increase your revenue.
5. You’ll gain a competitive advantage
You’re already at an advantage if you’re one of the first in your industry to venture internationally.
You should make sure that you remain competitive, or gain even more considerable leverage with the help from localization.
Obviously, with better customer service, and a seemingly better connection, you’ll be sure to be viewed as a significant threat as you venture internationally.
It’s essential, as an eCommerce business, that you remain competitive. This way, you can be sure that you’re never pushed aside or forgotten.
Of course, never get lazy just because you use localization. Remaining competitive requires you to stay on top of trends, and look for new ways to leverage yourself as a firm competitor.
A little unknown benefit of this also means that you benefit from various shopping holidays.
For instance, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are global phenomena. However, other countries have various holidays and shopping days that you can capitalize off.
A significant benefit of localization is that you can reap the benefits of each country and its trends. There are many localization and translation services like eCommerce business that can do to that, in case you’re looking to outsource your project, since that may be the more cost-effective option, rather than having a full-time, in-house localization team.
With help from marketing consultants and research, you’ll be sure to stay relevant, even on busy holidays. Localization complements this wonderfully.
Competitive advantage benefits you in multiple ways.
From the points above, you’ll know the one benefit we’re missing – an increase in market share.
At the moment, your product or service is available in your home country. You’ve crafted your business to fir your market, and the target audience’s needs.
Linguistically, stylistically, and culturally – everything works well.
Pre-localization, this probably isn’t the case globally.
You should never limit yourself. Especially in the age of the internet, your business has the potential to be available anywhere and everywhere.
However, selling your products online isn’t enough to increase your global market share. You have to use localization to ensure that you get there. Why? It all revolves around accessibility.
A customer is much less likely to part with their money if they’re not convinced that you can help them. It’s an unmatched type of personalization.
Sidenote: Market share is the portion of the market that is controlled by a particular company or product. With help from localization, you can help expand your share.
7. It’ll strengthen your global presence
As a natural progression from all the points above, your global presence will obviously be increased.
Every e-commerce business wants their brand to be seen as a worthy global player in the market. You want your brand to be recognized worldwide. Localization helps with that.
Having a brand that started from humble beginnings, and worked its way up – always ignites positive connotations in the head. That’s why, as crucial as localization is, never forget your local market.
KFC is a prime example of this. The chain restaurant is known far and wide for its food. Their brand is arguably one of the most recognizable in the world.
Despite how grand the company now is, we all know where it all began. They never forgot their local start, even with global domination.
The difference is, of course, KFC didn’t have the internet. Actually, this provides you with an advantage. You can localize quickly and effectively.
Yes, when done correctly, your global presence will be strengthened. Partly thanks to localization.
How to put together a localized strategy
Now that we’ve explained all the potential benefits, it’s time to showcase just how to put together a localized plan.
Below, you’ll find all our essential tips.
Make sure it’s locally relevant – Start by diving deep into research of the local culture, language, and people.
Also, don’t forget keyword research in these cases.
Collaborate with the locals – Always ask for help from the locals. This will enhance your localization efforts majorly.
It could also be worth hiring a local to help with the phone hotline or product descriptions.
Make your business easy to find – This can be achieved through the help of SEO, and other marketing efforts.
Also, consider embedding google maps or various directions into your landing pages.
Get involved with the community – This will help gain trust in the community, and can also be beneficial research.
Connecting and discovering your target audience is always beneficial. Every marketer knows that.
You could also consider being a sponsor for a local event. This puts your name in the mind of those globally, and, again, shows that you care.
Don’t forget to optimize their localized landing pages
This will ultimately help with converting your web pages into leads. Ensure they are localized and optimized.
Marketing should also be localized
You also need to ensure that you’re localizing all your marketing efforts. The process of localization spans much further than just your website.
We recommend creating social media accounts and marketing mechanisms throughout on the most popular platforms in the market, along with creating localized chatbots for Facebook Messenger. A localized email marketing campaign is essential as well.
Your everyday marketing efforts should now we incorporated internationally.
Of course, they should all be in the correct language, and follow the same style and theme as your website. Consistency is critical, even in a different language.
Digital marketing has a bunch of benefits, and when used internationally, can help to make the benefits all the more substantial.
Don’t forget about mobile
Mobile shopping is fast becoming one of the most significant trends. As an e-commerce site, you shouldn’t shy away from a mobile app, in order to ensure an omnichannel approach to your marketing.
If you decide to create a mobile app (or you already have one), make sure that you make it accessible globally.
What this will do, if executed properly, is increase your revenue, and provide a much better customer experience. Mobile apps are quick and easy ways for customers to shop. Consider localizing all the minute details of your app, especially the high-impact ones like push notifications.
Mobile apps, for e-commerce businesses, often have log in preferences. With this, you should offer language preferences.
Again, this just helps with making your site more accessible and desirable to people all over the world.
Did you know that on Black Friday, mobile commerce purchases made up for 40% of all sales? That’s an impressive statistic that you don’t want to miss out on.
The benefits that we listed above? A mobile app will only further those benefits and provide you with more frequent, quicker sales.
We will say, don’t make the app available in countries where you can’t ship, etc.
This prevents nay disappoint, and the chance of a negative review being left on your app store.
You may not be thinking about creating a mobile app right now, but it’s definitely something to consider.
In the future, make sure you localize anything and everything you venture into.
How many languages should you have?
Global businesses require many languages to stay competitive on the web. Experts have suggested that a minimum of 14 should help companies to remain relevant.
However, if you want to appeal to a vast number of economies, 20 is recommended.
We know, this may not seem entirely feasible right now, but it’s one step at a time.
As you expand, one country at a time, you’ll begin to reach this recommended number. Localization obviously helps massively too.
Tools for eCommerce localization
As well as genuine help from the locals, you can find tools online that help with your efforts.
Here are our favorites.
Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools
This efficiently helps you to translate files and also remembers what you translated before.
These are popular tools, as they help to keep particular vocabulary and phrases relevant throughout your site.
Translation Management Systems (TMS)
These are used for the project management side of localization. One of the most critical features of TMS is that it lets you apply localization to different vendors and workflows.
This is a particular tool for localization. It ensures that appropriate words are used for every specific term.
This helps with accuracy and relevance when translating.
It’s also a useful tool to have to ensure consistency.
Overall, localization is the first step that you can take to expand your reach in other countries.
The benefits speak for themselves, and when used efficiently and effectively, localization can prove to be magic for your company.
You can be sure that your target audience is happy, and that you’re communicating in an effective and unrivaled way.
Have you localized your eCommerce business before? Have you noticed any improvements in revenue after you’ve done this? What’s stopping you from localizing now? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.