Localization means adapting your website or checkout process to different markets worldwide so that it appears native to a user in every way. This post on language localization is the second of a four part series on the importance of localization when growing your business globally online.
This is part twi of our four-part series on how to globalize your ecommerce business. If you missed the others, don't worry! They're included below for your reference:
For online merchants hoping to reach customers globally, the over 6500 languages spoken by the world’s 7 billion people can seem like a daunting barrier. People understandably prefer to read about and purchase products and services in their preferred language with 55% of consumers saying they prefer to buy from websites in their native language. Fortunately, merchants can still have a great deal of success localizing their cart and reaching customers without having to translate their website and checkout pages into thousands of different languages.
Selecting which languages to implement should reflect your product’s market opportunities and long-term goals. Using backend technologies like geolocation or tracking billing addresses will help to identify the origin of your consumer database and determine their language preferences.
For those looking to penetrate new international online markets more generally, there are 13 languages that can unlock up to 90% of online business opportunities. They include English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Arabic and Swedish.
Supporting these languages not only removes barriers that prevent customers from completing their purchase, it provides a necessary segue for other localization strategies.
Localizing your checkout with an assortment of key languages is proven to increase a company’s competitive advantage according to a recent study by Common Sense Advisory. The market research firm surveyed over 3,000 international online consumers from 10 non-anglophone countries with strong ecommerce markets. The firm found that 56% of participants spend more time on sites that catered to their native language rather than English, or they boycott English-language URLs altogether. Additionally, 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites.
This data shows the importance of localizing your checkout with multiple languages to increase online market share. Doanld A. DePalma, Chief Strategist and Founder of Common Sense Advisory, states:
“Localization improves customer experience and increases engagement in the brand dialogue. It should be a rigorously planned and executed business strategy for any company looking to grow internationally.”
Fifty-six percent of consumers say the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. This has been confirmed by ecommerce companies who have made the localization leap and sought to include multiple languages in their ecommerce platform. ASOS reported a 19% rise in interim profits and a 33% jump in sales by expanding their localization initiatives to include Russia and China and creating a seamless streamlined checkout in each country’s native language. Their customer base also grew significantly, increasing by 1.7 million over the course of a year.
For online merchants who are not ready to take on ecommerce markets on that scale overseas, localization opportunities closer to home have shown similar success. Best Buy recently localized their online strategy to service the Hispanic population in the U.S. After including Spanish as a language option for their American online shoppers, the company reported seeing Hispanic users spend twice as much as their English-speaking counterparts.
In order for online retailers to stay relevant in the hyper-competitive ecommerce market, making your website a place where users feel confortable will be increasingly important. Online shoppers prefer convenient information for their purchasing decisions and have exhibited an increasing willingness to opt for businesses that cater to their preferences, especially when it comes to language. If you haven’t already, give your customers the confidence they need to finalize their purchasing decision by talking to them in their native language.