Originally published on April 5, 2018, updated September 10, 2020
This guest post from InWhatLanguage highlights the importance of language localization for international sellers.
We live in a digital age, where online shopping is a major part of our lives. The convenience of buying something without even having to leave your home or office has led to the steady rise of the eCommerce industry. eCommerce sales have grown to an all-time high, and are expected to increase from $2.8 trillion to $4.5 trillion by 2021. Western countries are not the only ones following this trend; Asia has a $672 billion eCommerce market, the highest in the world.
With the rise of eCommerce businesses all over the world, it is critical for companies to expand and take advantage of the many benefits from doing so. If you are only targeting your home country or your specific language, you’re missing out on a major percentage of the world, and therefore missing the opportunity to increase revenue and bring more exposure to your company.
It is estimated that there are currently 6,909 different languages spoken in the world today. Of those 6,909 languages, the top spoken are Chinese, Spanish, and English. It’s nearly impossible to expand to new markets and countries without breaking the biggest barrier of all...language.
The best way to break down that wall is by using language translation services. Using these services, you can target audiences from all over the world. That will allow them to understand the description of your product, buy your product or service and even recommend it to others.
For example, while a product may be really profitable and in high demand, if the description and name of the product are not written in the native language of the marketplace, the likelihood of consumers buying that specific product is very low. The customer will move to a website where they can understand what exactly the product entails. Localization builds trust with potential customers, because they feel as though they can connect and be understood by the business.
Localization is an effective strategy to accomplish your business objectives when linguists from those specific regions are assigned the translation projects. They can easily identify cultural discrepancies, unrelatable idioms, and ineffective content.
As residents of these countries and speakers of these languages, they will make sure your eCommerce brand resonates with native speakers. Here are three major benefits of localizing your content:
People will not purchase something that they don’t understand. One study has shown that nearly three-quarters of eCommerce customers will not buy a product if it is not in their language. When you are looking to expand into new markets, expecting all markets to be the same is not just unrealistic, it won’t lead to success. Every country and culture that you market to is different; people are interested in different things, speak different languages, etc. So, in order to appeal to your potential customers, you need localization of your content and products.
It can be hard to stand out from the competition. Localization is becoming more common as eCommerce sellers have noticed the incredible advantages of going global. By not expanding and localizing your content, you may easily fall behind. Doing so will give you a leg up on your competitors that haven’t yet gone global.
Not only will you reach new potential customers and have a competitive advantage, you will also improve your customer experience. Customers are more inclined to continue to purchase from you when your content is localized to have high-quality content. This includes translating to their language, having the correct currency, localizing to products that are successful in their markets, etc.
Many people try to perform translation themselves or hire a small internal team to tackle the difficult task of translation. In some cases, these employees are not local to the markets they are translating for, which causes inconsistency and a poor customer experience.
For instance, one of our clients focuses on cyber-security, and they provide a lot of online training. Part of their course describes the backstory about bot networks, which hackers use to perform malicious activity. Prior to working with inWhatLanguage, they had this story translated into Dutch for a major beverage corporation. Unfortunately, there was a mix up and instead of saying hackers created this malicious cyber activity, it was translated to say that God created it.
As you can see, one small error could lead to extremely damaging results. inWhatLanguage uses a network of professional linguists from around the world and innovative technology to make sure inaccurate translations never happen for your business.
Whenever a company tries to reach a global audience, regardless of the industry, it is critical to build trust and positive relationships. Inaccurate translations will lead to a loss of credibility, which is an absolutely essential component of the eCommerce business.
Translation is vital in today’s businesses for many reasons. About 70% of the world does not speak English, but a majority of websites are only available in English. Many online users have claimed they will not purchase items or services if websites don’t provide content in their first language. Which begs the question: Why have most companies ignored the trend of creating their content in other languages?
InWhatLanguage translated FeedbackFive’s default templates for Amazon seller feedback and review requests into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish. These professionally translated templates are a good starting point for sellers who are interested in expanding to international marketplaces.
Now that we have talked about the benefits associated with localizing your content, you might be wondering what kind of content you need to localize for maximum benefits. Here are a couple things that are crucial to localize in order to be successful in global markets.
Web content is all content that a company has available online. Text, graphics and videos are included in this category. For web content, translation is a necessity. Translation is an important part of localization, and when you are expanding to international countries, it should be at the top of your priority list.
eCommerce companies who only have their content in English are missing out on reaching a large majority of the earth’s population. Imagine how big your company will grow when you have multiple languages available and are able to reach all these people you couldn’t have before.
Marketing is another area that must be localized. You want to be able to attract new consumers and show them why they should purchase from you. However, a marketing tactic that works in one market will not necessarily work in another.
In some countries, for example, social media is used frequently, and so using it as a marketing tool produces great results. Yet not all countries use social media as frequently (or at all), so you won’t get the same outcome as you would in those other countries. When you are entering into new markets, it is important to research what platforms are used and how successful companies advertise. That way, you can see what works and localize your strategies to ensure positive results.
When communicating with buyers in other marketplaces, be sure to take some time to understand the consumer mindset. For example, in some cultures a direct ask for a product review may come across as rude, while it could yield higher results in others. You can request seller feedback and product reviews using inWhatLanguage's professionally translated templates that are available to all FeedbackFive customers.
Not only is it important to localize your content and marketing, you also need to localize the product itself. For every individual market, there are different things that sell better than others. A great example of this is Nike.
Nike has been extremely successful in markets all over the world. Not only do they translate their content, they know what their audiences in that given country are looking for, and they make sure to present products that consumers want to see when visiting their site.
Here is an example of their homepage looks like for those in the United States:
Here’s what it looks like in Brazil:
Here’s what it looks like in Japan:
As you can see, they have localized their content on each page to show the products that will be most successful in that market. By doing so, they attract those customers by showing them the things that they are more likely to want to buy. This is a great example of how a company researched a market, found what was successful and appropriately localized their content to be attractive to a customer in that area.
Content localization is important. Without it, going global will be a struggle, and success difficult to achieve. But remember, it's more than just translating your website and accepting different currencies. With some solid research and a well thought-out localization strategy, you will be more likely to expand globally the right way and profit as a result.
Originally published on April 5, 2018, updated September 10, 2020
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.