World Executives Digest|How to Localize Your Ecommerce Website|A lot of ecommerce businesses expand to different markets eventually. This expansion is a sign of a healthy business growth or capitalization on a good business opportunity. Of course, where better to expand than somewhere abroad?
However, targeting a different or foreign market has its own set of obstacles and challenges. Whatever worked for your local market won’t necessarily work in a foreign market. That said, ecommerce businesses that want to establish a solid foothold in the foreign market should make an effort to localize their ecommerce website first.
So what does that mean, exactly? Simply put, it means making your website available to consumers in their mother tongue or native language, if you will.
The purpose of localization is to ensure a seamless customer experience for local customers the same way they would get in their local stores or local websites. The goal of localization is to become more competitive in the foreign market. With that in mind, here are a few ways to localize your ecommerce website.
Why should you localize your website?
Aside from competitiveness, localization helps you meet customer needs, demands, expectations and, of course, preferences. You can’t assume that everyone knows the English language well or that they don’t mind browsing a website in English. As a matter of fact, 55% of consumers prefer to browse a store in the native tongue.
Moreover, 53% of consumers find shopping in their native language to be more convenient. As you may already know, the superior quality of products or services is no longer a sole requirement for success. Today, it all comes down to customer experience, service and support. That’s why website localization is of vital importance when expanding to a foreign market.
Conduct market research
Market research is vital for website localization and your business, in general. The purpose of the research is to help you determine and understand your target audience, their expectations, preferred channels and so on.
In addition, research can help you identify competitors, which will help you understand how they operate so that you can find a way to outrun them.
Moreover, it’s a good idea to research local websites as well. You want your website to be indistinguishable from the local ones so that customers can enjoy a seamless browsing experience at your online store.
Translate your website well
As mentioned before, localization is about ensuring your website can be browsed in the local language so that local consumers can conveniently check your offers. The quality of translation, however, is of the utmost importance. You want everything to be translated perfectly so that customers don’t get confused.
For example, let’s assume you are targeting Hong Kong as your new market. As you may already know, translating to Chinese is very difficult, especially since you have to pay special attention to the Cantonese dialect that’s common in Hong Kong.
Therefore, if you can’t handle this task on your own, it would be a good idea to find local experts that can provide you with proper English to Chinese translation services. That way you’ll ensure that your website is properly translated and that every factor, such as vocabulary, syntax, pronunciation and grammar, is well-accounted for.
Invest in SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is ideal for boosting visibility and awareness for your ecommerce website in a foreign market. It’s vital that you start spreading the word about your business as soon as possible.
Therefore, engage in local SEO and provide local business listings, as well as Google My Business listing with relevant information about your company.
This is especially true if you have a brick-and-mortar store aside from the online store. In that case, the information you should provide to business listings include the address, phone number, directions, open hours and so on.
Furthermore, work on posting relevant content and customer reviews. If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, then regular SEO activities, such as technical, on-page and off-page SEO will greatly help your website stand out.
Provide great customer service and support
Last but not least, it’s very important to work on optimizing your customer experience for the local consumers. That said, customer service and support play a vital role in a seamless and exceptional customer experience.
Moreover, try to provide both customer service and support in the local language. Therefore, here are a few things you should do:
- Provide service and support on customer-preferred channels, such as social media, email, phone etc.
- Enable a live chat feature on your website.
- Optimize the shopping cart and the checkout process according to the local preferences.
- Include local payment options and currencies.
- Add a knowledge board or a FAQ page for self-service.
- Include product categories and detailed descriptions in your website navigation.
- Make sure your ecommerce website performance and functionality are up to the local standards.
Ecommerce website localization is essential for expanding to the foreign and international markets. If you can’t serve customers better than the local competitors, you won’t be able to win them over or succeed in the foreign market, for that matter. That’s why it’s very important to create a solid strategy that will allow you to localize your website the best way possible.