Tips For Ecommerce Merchants: Going Global With Translation & Localization

Attention all ecommerce merchants! With 2020 now at our
doorstep, it’s time to consider new horizons for growth across your borders.
We’re talking about going global! Thanks to fast and easy online ecommerce
platforms, doing so couldn’t get any easier. But if you want to succeed in the
global stage, you inevitably need to take more factors into account,
specifically translation and localization.

With our article, get to know how important it is to work
with a
translation company
for a successful global ecommerce campaign. Understand the various forms of
translation and localization you’ll need to consider incorporating in your
global ecommerce strategy. Fortune favors the bold!

Global Market Opportunities for
Ecommerce Merchants

There’s no denying that e-commerce has taken over. And we
are all obsessed with it. With the
top ecommerce companies such as Amazon and Alibaba taking over our shopping experience, it’s
hard to ignore and indulge in ecommerce in this day and age. But apart from
these ecommerce giants, small businesses too are getting in on the action.
However, most of them merely cater to their domestic markets. This means there
are plenty of opportunities for further growth for those who want to go
global.

A. Gain More Market Share in The World’s Largest
Markets

China is the world’s largest ecommerce market that easily
dwarfs the US’ own ecommerce market. But if you’re looking to expand in
English-speaking markets, your obvious choices are the UK, Australia,
and Canada. All 3 have well-established ecommerce markets so you won’t have
too much trouble establishing a presence there.

Apart from English-speaking markets, there are more markets
with strong ecommerce figures that are worth considering. In the Asia-Pacific
region, authority markets are Japan and Korea. In mainland Europe,
there’s Germany and France.

B. Unlock More Growth in Emerging Ecommerce
Markets

Other than the world’s largest markets, you can definitely
try your luck in the world’s emerging ecommerce markets. You can take a look at
eMarketer’s
latest findings on
the world’s top growing ecommerce markets. One of the top growing ecommerce
markets is Mexico and India.

India still has a lot of room to grow in terms of
ecommerce penetration and sophistication. But considering that hundreds of
millions of Indians still don’t own smartphones but are expected to within the
next few years, the Indian market is ripe for the taking.

You can also find success with India’s regional neighbors,
specifically in Southeast Asia such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and
Indonesia. In Latin America, Brazil is the largest ecommerce market in that
region but still has a lot of potential to grow if global ecommerce merchants
decide to set up shop in the Brazilian market.

C. Earn Global Brand Recognition

If your products and online store is giving you the results
you were looking for, then you’ve earned global brand recognition. As a foreign
ecommerce merchant, you have the chance to offer products not available in
their local marketplace. However, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket with
that notion. You still have to consider the local purchasing power as not
everyone is willing to pay premium prices for foreign products.

All of these points sound all and good so why don’t all
ecommerce merchants go global? Well, a lot of people do and plenty more have
plans to, but a global ecommerce strategy is more sophisticated than simply
listing your products on global marketplaces.

Fundamentals in Global
Ecommerce

You might be familiar with these already but for those who
are just starting out, it really pays to know what are the fundamentals in
global ecommerce. But we don’t need to tell you how to start an ecommerce
business since you’re already at this stage of expanding your reach.
Nevertheless, you’ll be introduced to a new way of doing business as you enter
new markets that have their own way of conducting ecommerce.

But there are some things that don’t have to change such as
your ecommerce platforms you’re using now be it Woocommerce, Magento, Shopify,
and etc. They have features that’ll enable you to conduct global sales. But
here are a few additions to your global ecommerce operations that you’ll have
to start from scratch.

A. Target Market Research

As a newcomer, you’ll be diving into a new territory with
little or no knowledge about it. So what do you do? Research of course! There’s
a lot of resources you can use to check the prevailing product trends in your
target market such as Google Trends. Part of your research process also
includes looking at your local competition and seeing whether or not your
products are up to par in terms of quality and price. 

B. International payment methods

If you’re used to credit card payments, then unfortunately
the world prefers cash and alternative online payment systems. Cash-on-delivery
payments are popular in India and Southeast Asia. Chinese online consumers
prefer their homegrown online payment platforms such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.
You should be able to provide multiple payment channels to accommodate the
world’s diverse online payment habits. 

C. International Shipping

It’s a no brainer that  you can’t conduct global
ecommerce without offering international shipping options. But instead of
sticking to the usual shipping companies such as FedEx, DHL, etc., you need to
take into account regional and local courier services that offer lower rates in
exchange for longer shipping times. The discerning online shoppers in other
markets are not too keen on spending top-dollar prices for expedited shopping
and would rather wait for weeks or a month. 

D. Import Laws

You never know whether or not your product list is actually
banned or heavily regulated in your target market. If not, also check whether
or not your products are heavily taxed. With that in mind, do invest the time
to thoroughly go over your target market’s import laws and customs. 

E.
Local marketplace presence

As with local payment options, you should also keep in mind
of your target market’s preferred online shopping platforms. Amazon may have a
global presence but their dominance in the global stage is challenged by
regional online shopping platforms.

F. Mobile App Support

Many global ecommerce markets, notably China,
do most of their online shopping on their phones. That trend doesn’t show any
signs of slowing down, especially when more and more people in foreign markets
are owning smartphones. Also make sure that you have a presence in their
preferred local mobile ecommerce apps. In China for instance, Taobao is the
country’s dominant mobile ecommerce platform.

But as a new player in today’s global ecommerce landscape,
you are expected to have mobile app support. With mobile app support, your
website expected to implement a responsive mobile UX and UI design. Still not
convinced? Then take a look at
recent
data
on how many online shoppers around
the world use their mobile phones. By 2017, 2 billion people worldwide have
shopped online using their mobile devices.

However, just going by the book and sticking to the
fundamentals isn’t going to guarantee any success. Think of it like building a
car. A car cannot run nor can it be one without essential components such as
engine, wheels, seats, safety features, etc. But just because all cars are
built that way, not all of them will be successful in the market.

The more you dive into the details of what makes a
successful global ecommerce strategy, the more you understand why there aren’t
plenty of domestic ecommerce merchants taking the plunge. But to be successful
means getting out of your comfort zone and taking necessary risks. With that in
mind, there are two main issues every ecommerce merchant must learn to overcome
if they decide to go global; communication and local relevance.

You Can’t Go Global Without
Translation

Foreign audiences have no use for online stores that do not
support their native language. This is a major reason that makes ecommerce
merchants think twice before expanding their operations abroad. Without sugar
coating it, there is a lot of material to translate—essentially everything that
is on your digital platform that your target audience will see.

But even if you just translated to one language, Chinese
translations for example, then you have the chance to reach out to hundreds of
millions of new customers! Through English to Chinese translations, you have
the chance to tap into the mainland Chinese market and also the global Chinese expat
population! But naturally, you’ll need to be working with an exc
ellent Chinese
translator or a number of them that can provide you the following translation
services.

A. Website Translation

If you own an ecommerce website, then naturally you’ll have
to create another multilingual website that is translated in your target
market’s native language. Everything that you think your audience might need to
take a look at, you will need to translate it. On your homepage, give foreign
audiences options to switch to their language of choice with its content
translated accordingly. 

B. Marketing Translation

This applies to your product descriptions and all of your
marketing content from website content, app content, and also your social media
content if you’re conducting a social media marketing campaign. 

C. App Translation

If you plan to provide app support for your ecommerce
store, then naturally you would have to ask for app translation services. As
with app development and website development, app translation is a
fundamentally different process from website translation. Considering that a
huge percentage of online shoppers do their transactions with their phones, app
translation is something you can’t ignore.

Ensure that your chosen app translator has the right
specialization and if possible, also has insider knowledge in constructing the
best app for your intended target market and audience.

Choosing Translation Services
Over Google Translate

When facing the global audience, there’s just too much at
stake to rely on Google Translate or any free online translator. Google
Translate spews out raw translations powered by a neural machine translation.
This system is sufficient for single words or short phrases.

But as for the long paragraph, best look elsewhere. In the
competitive world of ecommerce, first impressions matter. In this case, quality
and accurate translations matter. So what can you rely on for your
translations? Translation services done by professional translators! Here’s a
couple of reasons why you would want to hire a professional translator.

A. They Employ Professional Translators That
Provide Accurate Translations

Translation services are commonly rendered by translation
companies. A translation company has a global network of translators with
native-speaker language skills. Some of them specialize in niche translations
such as the ones we mentioned earlier i.e. website translation, marketing
translation, mobile app translation, legal translation, and financial
translation.

B. They Routinely Handle Big Projects

Another reason why you’d want to be coordinating with a
translation company is that they have the resources to finish big projects in
tight deadlines. This matters to ecommerce merchants since as you know, there
is a lot of ecommerce materials to translate.

C. Professional Translators Can Handle Nuanced
Source Texts

Translation apps, although are indeed brilliant, they
cannot handle linguistically nuanced source texts. These range from humor,
slang, idioms, to metaphors and other creative expressions.

Don’t Forget About Localization

This is where global ecommerce gets really tricky.
Translation alone is comprehensive enough but localization takes it to another
level. But first of all, what is localization? Localization is the process of
tailoring content for it to resonate well with target audiences. This is a
flexible applied concept that utilizes all global industries and not just the
ecommerce industry.

With this in mind, you should aim to integrate localization
as part of your translation process. Your chosen translator usually takes
localization into account, but it doesn’t hurt to double check with your
translator. Translation companies usually offer localization services as
well.

They’re also known as localization companies considering
that they’ve also built their reputation providing localization services.
Translation companies or localization companies, which term you prefer, know
first and foremost that translation and localization is the ideal foundation
for global success.

Another bonus that goes with localization is that it alters
your thought process. Localization naturally entails thorough market research.
So you just can’t translate your content willy-nilly and expect it to work in
whichever foreign market you choose. A localization expert can be a great
addition to your team.

They’ll be able to provide you information that goes deeper
than the surface level. They’ll be able to inundate you with vital information
such as your target audiences’ market culture, preferred marketing channels,
and even aesthetic preferences. With this in mind, localization has plenty of
applications in your global ecommerce strategy.

Localization Applications For
Ecommerce Merchants

With localization, you can provide an elevated shopping
experience for your foreign audiences. In tandem with translation, you have a
better chance of establishing trust and relevance between you and them as a
foreign ecommerce merchant.

A. Website localization

First and foremost is website localization. If you have an
online store, then you have to prepare it for the world stage. Translating a
website is just part of the process if you’re aiming for maximum local
relevance. Website localization takes these factors into account; UI and UX
layout preferences, linguistic nuances, typography, currency conversions, time
zones, etc. In fact, translation companies most often will naturally integrate
website translation and localization one-stop solutions for ecommerce clients.
Here’s a interesting piece on the eff.

B. Marketing localization

If you’re aiming to localize your digital platform, then
should you naturally localize your content from your product descriptions to
even your blog posts if your website features such. But if you’re starting out
with marketplaces, then the formula of translation + localization naturally
still applies here.

C. App localization

You can consider this as part of your mobile app responsive
design process. Incorporate everything you’ve learned about your target
audience’s aesthetic preferences and incorporate it into your multilingual
mobile app design. App translation and localization is a process you’d ought to
not look over since as mentioned earlier, a huge sum of the global online
shopper performs their transactions on their phone.

The World Is Your Oyster: Final
Words

There you have it! With translation and localization, you
are all set to go global! But make sure that you’re not carrying everything on
your shoulders. You’re not supposed to be embarking on this new journey alone
as you will need to form the right team composed of professional translators
and localization experts to help you along the way. In the end, going global as
you already know is going to entail more costs, but these are investments
considering what you will gain in the end if you strive to do everything
properly from the get-go.

As to when you should go global is up for you to decide in
the end. The global ecommerce industry, as vibrant it may seem already, there’s
still a lot more room for growth, particularly in emerging markets. Now that
you’re armed with the know-how on how to go global, seize the chance when the
time is right for you.

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