December 17, 2013

4 Ways to Localize Your E-Commerce Experience

Posted by Sean Golden Category IconConversions & UX Category IconInternational Category IconMarketing

One unmistakable advantage brick-and-mortar businesses have over e-commerce merchants is the ability to grow into communities and accommodate the unique flavors and local colors of a geographic niche. After all, addressing consumers on the most personal, comfortable level adds a degree of insight and accommodation that can build life-long brand loyalty. While online shops may not be able to shake hands and post fliers at the local deli, there are more than a few ways that e-commerce merchants can provide a familiar experience for customers the world over. Here are four tips to help localize your e-commerce site for any audience.

Cart Convenience

Investing in payment processing software that allows the customer to pay in his or her native language and p currency makes the process of checking out feel convenient and familiar from the start. Otherwise, you risk scaring buyers off who aren’t up to date on conversion rate stats. Taking the steps to protect the customer’s personal information and clearly stating your site’s purchase security policies is important as well.

Browse with Confidence

A recent study conducted by JPMorgan Chase found that only 27% of global shoppers speak English. Making sure that the website itself, not just the checkout process, is readable based on the shopper’s preferred language is an important touch. This strategy will also ensure that the terminology used in product descriptions and reviews doesn’t contain phrases or sayings that would make no sense in certain parts of the world. This kind of localization can be achieved with translators or translation services.

Shared Values

Observing cultural norms and traditions is important, and each country, and even region, has it own unique value system. Advertising and promotional content may need to be tailored to adhere to the laws or regulations of a particular country or region, as certain messages could be considered offensive or illegal in particular parts of the world. For example, pharmaceutical companies can’t advertise directly to consumers in Europe and many other countries. This is called cultural competency, and being incompetent can put your company’s reputation in peril – there are myriad examples of just how costly a public relations gaffe can be for a global company—as well as legal or financial risk.

Do Your Homework

As the previous steps make clear, knowing as much about every region you want to do business in will make localization markedly easier. For example, it’s important to develop effective distribution strategies based on shipping conditions for particular regions, as ensuring the quick and easy delivery of your product is just as important to consumer confidence as the other steps outlined here. Conducting market research on these factors as well as buying habits and other societal and economic factors is the only way to make sure customers feel at home when browsing, shopping or buying on your site, no matter where home might be.

While the goal of your business is to be successful on a global scale, localizing the buying experience – making the customer’s visit feel as familiar as you can make it – is one of the surest ways to achieve that kind of success. When your customers know your business values an understanding of their community, that effort is likely to be met with sustainable loyalty.