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E-Commerce Localization: Why, What, Where, How?

Blog E-Commerce Localization: Why, What, Where, How?
4th October, 2021

What is E-Commerce localization?

Localization is an adaptation of an online store to a new language and culture. 
It is a method for conveying the same message in various languages. Meanwhile, ensuring perfect cross-cultural translation and multilingual features in eCommerce.
Ecommerce localization is the process of replicating

  • Website Language
  • Cultural Value
  • Design

Do you want to give an outstanding shopping experience to international buyers? Then localization is for you. 

Localization and Translation

It is crucial to differentiate between pure translation and complete localization. 
In exclusively translated texts, grammar and spelling are technically correct. The translation contains all core information that readers will understand the texts. But the cultural adaptation of the content falls by the wayside. 
Why is localization important? You should master the specific use of the language in the target country.

  •  Jokes
  • Idioms
  • Special Preferences 
  • Taboo Subjects 
  • Special Cultural Features 

You should also

  • Replace image 
  • Opt design
  • Change colors

We recommend localization for high-quality products and main pages such as category pages.

When Should You Internationalize Your E-Shop?

You may want to get a taste of the international market and gain some experience. You can do this via eBay, Amazon, or other popular sales platforms like Alibaba in China. 

Offering products here first can test the demand and buying behavior in the respective country. For this first step, you only need optimized texts for the platforms. 

Greatcontent creates specific content for Amazon or Google, for example. Does business go well there? Then you can go one step further and upgrade your e-shop to another country. 

What Are The Benefits and Costs of E-commerce Localization?

Conquer as Many Markets as Possible

You can increase your business by creating a new market. 

This way you, can reach out to people who might not otherwise be able to afford your products. It also provides a more convenient and effective way to find the products that your customers want. 

Increase the Worldwide Engagement

Online shoppers are likely to buy from a store when the website is translated into their native language. 

Engagement with your foreign users will increase with your localized e-shop page.

Drive Conversions

Try to fall in the head of the customer. Inspire visitors and turn them into buyers.

Make customers feel right at home with your localized e-shop. Settling their needs first will develop trust, and your customers will always get back to you. You will complete all the pre-purchase phases and raise the chance of converting. 

How to Localize Your E-shop?

Market Analyzes

First of all, you need to determine which countries you want to open up for your e-commerce. A market analysis is helpful for this. Outline your possible countries and define their market potential and saturation. Market analyzes include more than looking at the target group and competitors.

It is also essential to know what role e-commerce plays in the country. If at all, and how high the purchasing power of the customers is.

In most European countries, the share of online shopping is higher than that of Germans. So, if you want to expand from Germany to other European countries, you can usually expect success.

Identify Customers

You have to think of the customer first.

  • What are their needs?
  • What are their characteristics?
  • Who are they?
  • How do they behave on your website?
  • What is the demographic of your target group?
  • What are they looking for on your website?

Localization Services

There is no need to do additional research on localization service providers. We at greatcontent have been working in the field of internationalization of e-commerce for ten years. Well-known online shops such as eBazaaris or momox are among our customers. Together with 30,000 linguists and the support of artificial intelligence, we create texts in over 30 languages.

SEO

You have to consider the cultural attitudes of this new location. When you are targeting a foreign country, you need to 

  • Understand how customers are searching for a product
  • Research the search terms they are using

You should work not only with a translation company. But, with the one that cracks the SEO in the native language of your new target audience.

Payment

Different payment methods are familiar in several countries. Credit card payments are accepted worldwide. There are, yet, significant differences. In Germany, for example, customers usually pay by instant transfer or PayPal.

  • In the Netherlands, Ideal is a popular payment method.
  • Karna has established itself in Sweden.
  • In France, users prefer the debit card payment system Carte Bleue.

Shipping Costs

The respective shipping costs should be understood when rolling out the e-shop on the international market. The sign of the shipping costs is crucial for the user when it comes to the total cost of their order. 
Besides, you should find out how long it will take to ship to the destination country. Nothing is more annoying for customers than waiting longer than expected for the much-awaited new product. Make a realistic estimate of the shipping costs and delivery times and keep them as low as possible. 

Address Validation

Incorrect addresses or formatting of the post office can become a costly concern. 
There are many different formats and accents in the address display on parcels and letters. Wrong details can create a lot of mess.
For example, the house number is in front of the street. If you understand the specifics, you can adapt the address entry forms placed online right away.

VAT

The VAT calculation is one of the central topics of the legal aspects when internationalizing the shop. Different VAT rates apply from country to country. In addition, the calculation of tax is based on 

  • Where the company is subject to VAT 
  • Whether the sale aims at private or commercial customers. 

It is vital that you correctly calculate the tax for your customers and show it clearly and transparently.

Logistics

Once purchased, the product has to get from A to be B somehow. It’s essential to work this out in advance. 

  • Are larger storage areas necessary 
  • Do you need interim storage facilities? 

The appropriate shipping material must also be in stock. 

You should also take into consideration the extra cost of packing. Be sure to compare different shipping companies to get the best price. Additional charges may be due in the destination countries for 

  • Customs
  • Cash on delivery
  • Fragile goods

Is every range suitable for any country?

Not all products are of interest to the target group in different countries. Analyze the market beforehand to find out which of your product range will be the most worthwhile. It might not be necessary to localize the entire web store. A targeted selection can bring more profit than the broad mass of all the goods or services available. 

Cultural Elements to Pay attention

Keywords

Keyword research is central to search engine optimization. Keywords have to be determined new for each target market. Otherwise, you might be backing the wrong horse. Let's assume you sell mobile phones. 
While you advertise "mobiles" in the English-speaking world, you have to go for "Handy" in German. Search engines also consider the use of synonyms as a plus.

Idioms and jokes

Jokes and sayings loosen up the text, but they can also be significant pitfalls. Even for very qualified second speakers, it remains hard to translate jokes. Just one example - where “it rains dogs and cats” in England and Castilian Spain, in Catalan Spain “it rains barrels and tons” and in France “it rains ropes”. If you want to include humor, it’s vital to spend some time exploring the local context. 

Brands

Nike or Samsung is a household name almost everywhere in the world. Other brands, on the other hand, are only local. What is Aldi in German is Hofer in neighboring Austria. In other countries, there are different supermarket chains with a similar image and brand value. But the name Aldi is entirely unknown.

Locations

You also have to translate cities and place names in the texts. The reader may understand what the local name sounds similar to, but they do not feel recognized.

Currency

Take care when converting the amounts into the local currency. This can result in expensive mistakes, for example, when the dot or a comma is in the wrong place in large sums.

Dimensions

Information on shoe and clothing sizes varies from country to country. What is a clothing size 38 in Germany?

It is equal to 44 in Italy.

Be careful here to avoid annoying the customer when they have to return it.

Dates

The format of the date also differs between countries. For example, in American English, the date starts with the month. 
So, the 5.7.2021 in the US by 7-5-2021. It can be catastrophic to misspell the start date of a campaign or limited offers.

Time

The difference between the 24-hour model and the system used in English with am (morning) and pm (afternoon) is well known. 
But it can be even more complicated.

Is it expensive to create content in multiple languages?

No, because greatcontent creates multilingual content as human hybrid teams. For example, linguists supported by artificial intelligence help lower the costs. 

Here are the steps undergoing

  • An author writes the text with a detailed brief. 
  • Machine tools then translate the text into any language. 
  • Native speaking posts editors check the piece
  • Post-editors optimize content
  • The error-free content is here

Our post-editors adapt the text to the specific locality of the respective cultural context. The translated texts should then be optimized for search engines. 
The search behavior of customers differs from country to country. Keywords like correct translation are essential for search engine ranking. 

Examples of Localized E-Commerce Websites

Many eCommerce sites have been localized for different countries. For example, Amazon has been translated into ten languages, and Alibaba has been translated into 16 languages.

Want to roll out your e-shop internationally?

Together we will find the best and most cost-effective solution.

Start now

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