Nowadays, even small online shops have the opportunity to go global, or at least international. The growth is not likely to slow down as consumers are now also using smartphones and tablets, besides their PCs and laptops, for shopping around. But how not to only go global, but to make your e-commerce globally successful? In this blog, we will discuss five steps that will help you do that.
#1. Choose your audience
It will come as no surprise that people like to shop in their native language. This means that companies need to remember that English is just one of the languages spoken around the world (although it is the unofficial language of the internet). You need to define which languages and markets you want to start with.
There are three main indicators which will help you choose where to start:
- Current customers – this group shows you where you are already successful, even without localization. For example, if your site/app is English only, but you have customers from Portugal, add Portuguese to the list of priority languages for localization.
- Current visits – this group shows you where all potential customers are located, even if you did not convert any of them so far. For example, you might see a lot of traffic to your site from Russia but have no customers from Russia yet. This means that people in Russia are interested in what you are offering, but they don’t complete the purchase, probably because of linguistic barriers. Fix this.
- Desired markets – determining this will define markets in which you are likely to succeed. For example, you might be selling bicycles. However, you are not represented in the Netherlands, which is a huge market for anything bicycle related. In that case, it would be wise to localize your site/app into Dutch.
#2. Prioritize the most important content
Making your e-commerce globally successful includes proper prioritizing! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to localize everything to offer customers a pleasant experience, especially when it comes to big e-commerce stores, where the amount of content is extensive in general. This means good news because you can skip some of the content in your first localization phase.
Based on visits to your website, you can define which pages have the most visits, and which should be localized to other languages. This step will also save you a lot of money, as you can focus on content which is important, not blindly localize everything.
#3. Pick the right tools
If you really want to make your e-commerce globally successful, this is a very important step, as you will be defining which translation management tools (if any) you want to use, and how your content will be translated. Some tools might be too complicated or expensive for what you are trying to achieve, while some might be too simplistic, lacking some of the features which will make your everyday life easier.
Look at the tool you want to use and check what it can do. For example, if you are translating your website, can the tool help you translate the content in context, which will improve the translation quality and shorten review cycles?
#4. Choose the best approach for your content
It’s also important to choose the way the content is translated. For example, certain parts of your content can surely be translated using machine translation. Although many people fear that e.g. Google Translate will create an unreadable mess, the truth is that the majority of machine translation engines have improved greatly after switching from statistical to neural machine-translation engines.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that you can also use native speakers to review the machine-translation and improve it where necessary. This means that you have a lot of options at hand:
- Machine-translation + human review – for the majority of online content (e.g. marketing slogans, buttons, etc.)
- Machine-translation – for the content which does not have to be 100% accurate (e.g. live support)
#5. Localize, localize, localize
Localizing, not only translating your e-commerce, means that you will provide your audience with the option to make purchases in their own currency, or that you will support popular payment methods. You can check out our articles on e.g. the Chinese market, or the Brazilian market, to see the differences and get a feeling of what is waiting for you down the road.
It’s easier than you think!
Do you want to go global with your e-commerce and you still have a lot of doubts and questions? Feel free to reach out to us, and we will gladly help you with any doubts!