Using Localization to Improve Your eCommerce Success


Using Localization to Improve Your eCommerce Success

We are releasing a new series of articles, “Content With Purpose” – twelve dedicated localization-focused articles on helping you connect and grow worldwide. Last month’s article focused on how user experience (UX) and localization go hand in hand.  This month, we’re looking at how localization improves your eCommerce success.

In theory, expanding your eCommerce business to new markets sounds like a great idea. After all, you don’t need to open new physical stores just to grow your business. But what happens if new markets come with different audiences with different expectations, cultural references, and environments?

The good news is that audience differences don’t need to derail your expansion plans. You just have to understand how to accommodate these new markets to establish a foothold among other, more established eCommerce brands in those areas. 

In other words, you need a localization strategy

Fortunately, localization assistance is available for eCommerce. Join us for an in-depth exploration of the concept, how it differs from globalization, and how you can take your first steps toward an effective localization strategy.

Table of Contents

What Does Localization Mean?

At its simplest, localization means adapting your brand, products, or services for another country or culture. You might also see it referred to by its l10 abbreviation. As its name suggests, localization aims to give the brand, product, or service a more “local” look that builds credibility and trust among a new audience in a different culture.

Achieving localization means taking a close look at anything from your product design to the formatting of your website, the online payment methods you offer, and the style and tone of your communication. That also brings us to a second related concept: transcreation.

“The processing of creatively translating a message to evoke the same emotions in the target market as the original. It requires a blend of creative translation and copywriting to maintain the style, tone, intent, and overall brand value.”

In other words, transcreation takes a step beyond translation. Instead of trying to stick as closely as possible to the original meaning of a text, it takes a more audience-centric approach that could, in some cases, change the actual message. When expanding to new markets, your eCommerce brand could benefit from the transcreation of its website, ad creative, digital apps, and even product names to build a more relevant strategy.

How Localization Strategies (L10N) Fit Into Globalization (G11N) Efforts

Globalization, often abbreviated as g11n, is the process of taking your brand beyond the country in which you started doing business. At its broadest, it’s precisely what it sounds like: expanding your store’s availability to other countries that might have a similar demand for its products and creating ad campaigns to build brand awareness and conversions in those countries.

Of course, a quick evaluation of this strategy explains why l10n is essential to any g11n efforts. Start with online payment systems, which could be very different from your home country. For example, Some consumers tend to avoid credit cards and like a more traditional invoicing process, while many Asian countries use AliPay as their most popular digital wallet option.

Cultural differences also start to play an essential role in any globalization efforts. The internet is full of famous brands who’ve tried simply translating their creative campaign and failed spectacularly. We’re pretty sure that Schweppes did not intend to advertise its tonic water as “toilet water” in Italy. 

Let’s put it this way: your brand awareness might be low when considering a globalization strategy for eCommerce. Raising brand awareness with a strategy that considers local cultures and influences will always be more effective than simply assuming that what works at home will also work abroad (it rarely does).

Core Benefits of Localization for eCommerce Brands

A close reading of the above already uncovers some broad benefits of localization, especially compared to more straightforward translation efforts. More specifically, consider these four benefits specifically as they apply to eCommerce brands looking to expand internationally:

1. Localization Matches Audience Preferences

In both new and existing markets, eCommerce stores succeed and fail based on how well they connect with their audience. And here’s the thing: according to one survey, 9 out of 10 customers prefer websites in their native language, while another found that 50% of customers only ever shop in online stores in their native language.

That makes intuitive sense, and it expands to the more nuanced pieces of communication. If you can reach your target audience on their level rather than assuming they will meet you on yours, you have a significantly higher chance of converting them to long-term, happy customers.

2. Localization Can Enhance Marketing Efforts

Entering new markets with near-zero brand awareness can be difficult. Building digital ads and messages that intuitively draw in your audience makes your content more accessible.  Research has found localized ads to get 86% more clicks than simple translations.

As an added benefit, localizing your online store also improves your search engine optimization by focusing your website on search terms and phrases the local audience would use.

3. Localization Precedes Personalization Goals

Most eCommerce stores are familiar with the industry’s strong consumer need for personalization. After all, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when presented with a personalized experience. 

Of course, meeting that personalization need is impossible without first considering a broader localization strategy. Only after considering the culture and environment of your target audience can you create personalization efforts specific to individual customers and products.

4. Localization Impacts eCommerce Profits

Due to all of the above reasons, localization can significantly impact your revenue. In addition to the natural profit growth unlocked by successfully entering new markets, research has found that companies leveraging l10n strategies reported 50% more profit than those using less nuanced expansion strategies.

Components of eCommerce Content Localization

Thanks to their digital nature, eCommerce brands prefer digital marketing and communications strategies to reach their audience. In this industry, three of the five multimedia content localization pillars are especially relevant: 

  1. Image localization ensures that brand imagery considers local pop culture references, religious connotations, visual metaphors, and more.
  2. Audio localization must be precise, include the correct pronunciations, and be natural enough to feel like it’s part of the culture in which it will play.
  3. Video localization may include different narration, editing, or on-screen text to adjust to the new audience.

Together these three content components can build more relevant, unique experiences that range from your digital ads to your website. Of course, a fourth component, desktop publishing localization, also matters when building printed materials and brochures for your new audience.

How Start Creating a Localization Strategy for Your eCommerce Store

Building a localization strategy has to begin with an understanding of the culture and audience to which you’re looking to expand. Identify and prioritize your target market, and then dig into the research to ensure you know all the nuances needed for effective localization and transcreation.

From there, it’s about ensuring all of your communications, from your online store to your outreach ads, align with audience expectations and needs in the new market.

That sounds complex. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be. All you might need is the proper framework along with a partner to help you kickstart your localization strategy. That’s where Vistatec comes in.

Since 1997, Vistatec has helped some of the world’s most iconic brands optimize their globalization efforts through localization. Today, we’re one of the world’s leading global content solution providers, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and with offices in Mountain View, California, USA. 

Contact us to learn the steps you need to take for international expansion in your eCommerce store.