The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the business sector tremendously. Due to social distancing measures and home quarantine, people started working from home. They have also started shopping from home — that is, online.
In order to keep operations going, businesses have moved to digital.
But this move can also be seen as an opportunity to expand to international markets. Thus, website localization has become an essential part of the international expansion plan of businesses.
What is website localization?
If you are not yet familiar with website localization, it means adapting your content in regard to the social, cultural, and political aspects of your target market. Let’s make it clear: localizing websites does not only mean translating your content. If you want to know more about how website localization works, here is an article that gives you a step-by-step guide.
Okay, so why do you need website localization in the first place? What is the importance of localization in the business sector?
Well, the pandemic has not only changed the way businesses operate but it has also triggered new ideas and innovations in businesses to pop up. And they keep on popping up indeed. In a sea saturated with business rivals, website localization is the business advice that can help you stand out, especially because it can help you reach a global audience easier.
When CSA Research conducted a survey, asking buyers to decide between purchasing the same product but with product information in two different languages, 76% of customers will choose the product with information in their own language. Thus, in order to fulfill your goal of internationalization, you have to take localized measures.
In addition to localizing your informational content, you are also going to be localizing your marketing campaigns. This is to ensure that your marketing will resonate with your target audience.
For example, when thinking about what images to add to your website when targeting the Chinese market, red is a good color to use when marketing to a Chinese audience because it represents success and good fortune.
You should also feature models who are of your target market’s nationality because as much as you see your target audience as foreigners, they see you in the same way. Another tip is that when doing commercials, try and partner with local celebrities. These celebrities already have a fan base in their country, and if fans see them using your products, they will trust your business brand more and that trust can encourage their fans to buy from you.
6 reasons why website localization is a necessity for businesses?
Without further ado, here are 6 reasons why website localization is beneficial for your business:
1. Enter new markets quicker
Website localization can help you enter new markets quicker because when you adapt your content in accordance with the local language as well as the societal, cultural, and political context, you will be able to relate better with your target audience; thus giving your brand a positive image. When localizing your website, take into account the purchasing habits of your target market. The 2018 BIS Quarterly Review reported that buyers in Russia still primarily use cash instead of cards. In this case, adding a cash-on-delivery option in the checkout process will help you get more sales.
2. Expands your client base
When creating your expansion plan, you have to make sure that your product has global appeal. However, marketing your product should be a localized effort. Consider how your product can be accepted by your target market.
According to a survey from Common Sense Advisory, 69% of international customers prefer buying from business brands that provide every single information in their native language.
3. Improves marketing effectiveness
It’s common sense to market in a language that consumers understand — because that’s what makes them respond. But translation is not enough. You should adapt your marketing strategies based on the local perspective of your target audience. For example, $99.9 is a common pricing strategy in the United States. However, the number 9 is considered bad luck in Japan because when spoken out loud, it sounds like the Japanese word for “suffering” or “torture”. So you should never use this pricing strategy when expanding to the Japanese market. In fact, Mobile Marketing Watch published an article that states how 86% of localized marketing campaigns surpassed English marketing campaigns in both conversions and click-through rates.
4. Increases your sales revenue
A survey from CSA Research about consumer buying preferences revealed that 60% of international users never, or if they do, rarely buy from English-only websites. Additionally, 56.2% of consumers even say that being able to read informational materials in their own language is more important to them than the price. These numbers show that you can significantly boost your sales by simply localizing websites.
5. Enhances customer experience
Localizing your websites also entails that you add a local approach to your customer service. A complete user experience starts from the first time that they open your website to browsing your content to eventually checking out a product they bought. Take note that 44% of shoppers share their bad shopping experiences with their friends, according to a research brief published in MediaPost. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool, but it can also be the best way to discourage people from your business.
One change you can do is to hire local customer service agents or even just customize your site chatbots to send automated replies that use local greetings. It takes two to embrace. So when you embrace the culture of your target customers, they embrace your brand in return.
6. Strengthens brand loyalty
When you give your customers a stellar customer experience — both in site navigation and post-purchase care — you show them that they are important. Website localization is a way to get buyer trust. When buyers trust your brand, they are more likely to buy from you again. Customer satisfaction is key to retaining customers, and retaining clients is as valuable as attracting new ones. You have to make sure that your brand incorporates the cultural nuances and buyer preferences of your target audience.
Since we are already in the ber-months, a good example to use cultural nuances and buyer preferences would be your market ideas for Christmas.
In countries that don’t celebrate Christmas such as Algeria, Afghanistan, and Bhutan; it would be counterproductive to launch a Christmas-themed event or marketing campaign. Selling Christmas merchandise to a market that does not celebrate it will make them view your brand as an outsider and your reputation will take a hit — so will your sales.
Planning to enter new markets is already confusing, but actually taking the steps to enter the global market can be downright overwhelming. You have to analyze your target market, plan out your marketing strategy, study the local laws, network with suppliers, partner with delivery services, collaborate with other local businesses, etc.
To effectively enter a foreign market, you have to overcome the language, societal, cultural, and political roadblocks.
In other words, the first step in making your business successful in the international arena is to localize your website. This includes descriptions of your product, details of the services you offer, and promotional media.
You should also tailor the customer shopping experience in accordance with the buying behavior of your target audience. The post-purchasing service you offer also makes a difference. Remember that whenever a buyer has a bad experience when purchasing from you, they will tell their friends and family and this can discourage them from making purchases.
So, do you now see how website localization will give you that competitive edge you need to make your digital-first business stand out? Yeah?
Awesome. Go forth and localize.