Why Is eCommerce Localization Important During Any Global Crisis?
In the world today, there is both a global coronavirus epidemic and an ominously looming global economic recession. Every effort needs to be taken to ensure that your eCommerce business that you have worked so hard to build, is not only in a position to survive the global crisis, but to come out ahead of the game. A translation company that specializes in localization services can be everything you need to get started. Successful localization strategies can get you on the road to recovery or help you to successfully build and expand your ecommerce website nationally and internationally!
Despite some popular misconceptions, localization services are just as important for domestic eCommerce sales as they are for the international expansion of your business online. One of the keys to any successful online marketing campaign is the ability to reach out to people and speaking to them on their own terms. The localization specialist gives you the ability to focus on larger, domestic and international markets with equal precision and success.
What Are Translation and Localization Services and Why are They Important?
What is translation? That sounds like an easy question to answer, but it can be misleading at the same time. The oversimplified response is that translation is nothing more than exchanging one word for its counterpart in a foreign language, but such is not the case. Translation is as much about context and understanding as it is about lexical specificity.
There are many words that have numerous meanings. There are local expressions and phrases, many of which are limited by both the geographical location and the age of the speaker. Think for a moment about the different expressions that your grandparents use, the figures of speech you grew up with and if you are old enough, those used by your children or grandchildren.
An expert translator must not only be able to determine when a literal translation is necessary, but when speech is figurative rather than literal. Translation is not just about exchanging one word for another, but conveying exact meaning and sentiment at the same time, in some cases, even within the same language.
Localization is the process of being able to speak to your target demographic in a language and manner which they are familiar with, and which will put them at ease. The localization process should never be restricted to matters of language however. Google Ads and other online advertising agencies allow for the savvy ecommerce website owner to focus directly on a more focused advertising campaign and localization in this case, equates to online ecommerce success stories.
What is a Good Localization Strategy For my eCommerce Website?
Any translation agency that has localization experts would probably tell you that the focus of the localization process should be dependent upon the product or service, the market and the marketing platform.
For larger, more general platforms such as the website, focusing on the parent language should be sufficient to draw in the target audience. In this case, one need not worry about the more localized vernacular within the same parent language. Website localization services in this case, focus more on drawing in the larger audience.
Individual web pages however, may focus on more distinct and nuanced aspects of language. This localization strategy is quite common when advertising to a more global or international ecommerce market. Thus, the landing pages used for someone from Spain may actually be different than the landing page used for someone from Mexico, though both speak local variations of Spanish. The more specific the audience will be, the more localized the content must be in order to establish a relationship on the same level as that of the target market.
Software localization services can be introduced at a larger scale, focusing on a single domestic location. Even then, localized variations need to be taken into consideration. The software requirements for the User Interface will probably need to be localized for domestic markets.
The user from Great Britain will have a different spelling for many of their queries than their counterparts in the United States will have for the same question. This is most notably true for anyone focusing on SaaS type applications, mobile apps and other similar internationalization of software solutions.
Perhaps the most crucial area of concern for any successful ecommerce localization strategy comes in the form of online marketing and advertising campaigns. This is where your localization strategy will prove to be most relevant and directly related to an increase in online sales, most especially during times such as the current Covid-19 global pandemic or in the event that the upcoming global recession does happen as predicted.
According to the Statista, even before the global coronavirus outbreak, ecommerce business to consumer sales were expected to surpass four trillion US dollars in 2020. These numbers still pale in comparison to the estimates of more than seven trillion US dollars in b2b or business to business ecommerce transactions projected for 2020 online. Still, both of these figures remain very promising for ecommerce websites and online marketing.
What was not taken into consideration regarding these figures, was the direct impact of a global medical crisis that would virtually force people to use more ecommerce solutions while shopping. As more people across the world practice social distancing, self-isolation or even imposed quarantines, more and more people are shopping online using ecommerce solutions for what they can no longer just go out and purchase.
What are Successful Localization Strategies for eCommerce Marketing and Advertising
Localization strategies are not just important, but imperative for online ecommerce success. If there is any place where localization really makes the difference between success and failure, it is in the form of learning how to create a successful, localized advertising campaign for your ecommerce website.
You have worked hard to build your ecommerce website online. You have translated your website and used localization services to ensure it is capable of meeting the needs of people from anywhere in the world. Still, sales are not increasing as rapidly as they should be and even the placement on the SERP (or Search Engine Results Page) is not all that it should be.
Learn how to use localization for your advertising and marketing campaigns and these numbers should turn around for you at the same time. According to Nielsen Surveys, some fifty-seven percent of people who have shopped online have made purchases from overseas (or foreign) retailers.
Be this as it may, most people still seemingly prefer to purchase items locally. Another poll by the online ecommerce giant Groupon found that two out of every three people in the United States prefer to purchase from local companies. This is backed up by additional research conducted by Nielsen Surveys. Regardless of which surveys are put out, one thing remains the same, ecommerce sales are constantly growing more prevalent throughout the global markets.
Localization strategies are all about reaching people at the local level in the local language and ideally, using local landmarks and other references. This is every bit as important for successful domestic marketing as it is for international ecommerce advertising campaigns. Thus, mastering localization at the domestic level will also help to ensure success for globalization campaigns using localization strategies.
One of the advantages of using a professional translation agency that offers localization services, is their ability to utilize people at the local level who are already intimately familiar with the local habits. This will include not only regionally specific linguistics, but also popular local venues, local landmarks, and even cultural sources of pride and local taboos that must be avoided.
When this familiarity of local knowledge is integrated into a very localized and specific advertising campaign, the local people will be more likely to respond favorably. Being able to generate more localized emotional triggers should also increase the likelihood that the target audience will perform the desired response, be it clicking on the advertisement to go to the website, generating leads or even clicking the all important “buy now” button.
How To Use Translation and Localization For International eCommerce Expansion
Despite the propensity of people to prefer local ecommerce solutions, many people shopping online are purchasing products or services that know no borders. Some examples of this can be seen in the art world where local selections may be more limited, or more notably perhaps, in the form of ecommerce sites that sell digital products or services.
It may be more ideal to implement the localization strategies across the potential domestic markets, but once this has been done, there is nothing preventing the ecommerce entrepreneur from extending their success into the area of international marketing campaigns online.
Translation will of course play a key part in international expansion of ecommerce marketing. First things first though, would include determining which of the international markets are more viable, and then planning accordingly. Rather than working on website localization services for virtually every nation in the world, it must first be determined where the most viable markets are located.
Among the most often overlooked countries for ecommerce websites, are China and India. China, with an estimated number of 800 million plus internet users, leads the way, followed not too distantly by India, with an estimated five hundred and 50 million internet users online. China also leads the way with business to consumer (b2c) transactions online according to the Statista website.
Both translation and localization services will be essential for anyone seeking to build an ecommerce website for India or China.
There seems to be a common belief that Mandarin Chinese is virtually the only language spoken in China, though many of the more provincial locations, Southern China and even Hong Kong all tend to speak more Cantonese than Mandarin or more accurately, Putonghua. This however, is very small in comparison to the need for translation services when building an ecommerce site for business in India.
At the national level, the two official languages of India are limited to just Hindi and English. However, each of the individual States within the nation of India are allowed to determine their own official language. Thus, there are twenty-two constitutionally recognized and official languages in India. Adding to the confusion are what most experts agree to be more than nineteen thousand actual languages including many local dialects, and, it can get confusing fast.
It would be both unsound and financially foolish to attempt to interpret any website into nearly twenty thousand languages. A little bit of research however, and a properly planned and implemented marketing localization campaign can alleviate this need and ensure that only the most profitable markets are targeted. It may be that there are other locations more ideally suited for your international ecommerce sites, but again, that is why researching before moving internationally is so important.
Why You Should Only Use Professional Translation and Localization Services
Professional localization services are important in both China and India in order to avoid any of the potentially sensitive areas that may result in your ecommerce site being banned altogether. There are many cultural and political areas where even the most simple of missteps can result in the site being black listed, and losing an entire market. There are going to be similar occurrences no matter where any product is being marketed, thus it is imperative to know the local customs as it were.
No matter where the ecommerce expansion is taking place, the translation agency that offers localization services should already be familiar with these potentially dangerous areas and can help you to avoid any costly mistakes. Professional translation companies can also help to ensure that there are no mistakes in everything from the website copy to the sales and marketing materials. This is absolutely necessary in order to retain a professional standing across all online marketplaces.
It is probably a good idea to work initially on domestic localization before moving into more international ecommerce marketing efforts, though there are always exceptions for every rule. However, learning successful localization techniques for the domestic ecommerce markets should give you a better idea of what localization is, and why it is imperative that it be done correctly. Furthermore, the domestic localization strategies for your ecommerce website should help in funding your efforts at successful international ecommerce expansion online.