The advent of eCommerce platforms has transformed the world into an open marketplace. Now, there are more than 26 million eCommerce websites operating and bringing goods to customers regardless of their geographical location.
The main reason for that is that entrepreneurs with the right idea can sell their products anywhere in the world effectively and earn much more profit.
Still, a pivotal decision awaits these business owners: Should they merely establish online stores and bank on the inherent value of their products? Or should they go the extra mile to provide a localized experience for customers worldwide?
The latter is undoubtedly the more strategic choice. A localized shopping experience can significantly boost sales and enhance customer satisfaction. However, localization is not just about translating website content. It involves tailoring it to resonate with the linguistic, cultural, societal, and legal aspects of the target region. It’s about recognizing and honoring local traditions, values, and norms to ensure that the brand message is both authentic and impactful.
In essence, localization is a comprehensive strategy that aims to make a brand feel familiar and relatable, irrespective of the customer’s geographical location. This article delves into effective strategies businesses can employ to navigate and overcome potential challenges in the eCommerce localization journey.
Why Does Localization Matter?
Localization is more than a translation process. It’s about building genuine connections with global audiences. By offering a shopping experience that feels native, businesses can foster trust, drive engagement, and enhance brand loyalty.
Moreover, a well-localized eCommerce website can cater to the specific preferences and expectations of different cultures, leading to higher conversion rates.
Which Tools Can Businesses Use for Successful Localization?
Modern localization platforms bridge the gap between customers and businesses. They offer a range of effective translation solutions that ensure content is not only linguistically accurate but also culturally resonant. Having a comprehensive localization suite allows businesses to streamline the entire localization process and ensure quality.
Localization suites come with a variety of tools that all help the process.
Translation Management System (TMS)
A TMS automates and efficiently manages translations from start to finish. It streamlines the localization process, ensuring content is accurately translated and resonates with the intended audience.
With real-time collaboration capabilities, businesses can work with translators and editors simultaneously, reducing time-to-market. Furthermore, advanced analytics also allows for tracking the progress and quality of translations. For businesses aiming to refine their localization strategy and achieve a competitive edge in global markets, a TMS is indispensable.
A central component of translation management systems is computer-assisted translation tools, such as translation memories and term bases.
Translation memory enables linguists to repurpose translation segments from past translation projects, trimming down the time needed to translate from one language into another. Translators can also create and manage glossaries to ensure that terminology is used consistently and correctly.
Moreover, CAT tools support a shared space where several translators can concurrently tackle a single project. This enables smooth coordination, streamlines project management, and simplifies the process of managing extensive translation tasks.
Beyond that, CAT tools perform quality assurance evaluations, pinpointing potential mistakes, discrepancies, or formatting problems, which ultimately elevates the translation’s quality.
Machine Translation Tools
Machine translation tools are great for producing lightning-fast translation output. However, they still come short when it comes to linguistic nuance, context, and accuracy. This is why the best translation management systems offer add-ons that make the process of creating, managing, and post-editing machine-translated content simpler.
The Challenges Businesses Face When Localizing Their eCommerce Store
There are many challenges businesses can encounter while localizing their eCommerce store, but they each have a solution as well.
Continuous Translation and Promotion
- Challenge: eCommerce businesses constantly evolve with new products, promotions, and updates. This dynamic nature necessitates frequent translations and updates for different markets in an effective manner.
- Solution: Businesses can implement a real-time translation system that integrates with the platform’s backend. In addition to that, collaborating with experienced linguists who understand the nuances of eCommerce language can provide more timely translations.
Choice of Content Management System (CMS)
- Challenge: Not all CMSs support localization features. The wrong choice can hinder your localization efforts and make the entire process much more cumbersome.
- Solution: Businesses should opt for a TMS that is able to integrate with a CMS out of the box, enabling easy export and import of translatable content between both platforms.
- Challenge: Design elements, layouts, and graphics might not resonate with or even be offensive to certain cultures. Additionally, some languages require more space or are read in different directions.
- Solution: Businesses need to adopt a flexible design approach, for example, by initiating ranslations during the design phase to visualize how content fits and resonates in different languages. You might also need to make adjustments to buttons, layouts, and other design elements.
Periodic Updates With TMS
- Challenge: Regular updates to product listings, prices, and promotions mean continuous translation needs.
- Solution: Integrating a TMS that automates parts of the translation process. This reduces manual intervention and ensures consistency across updates.
Preserving Brand Identity
- Challenge: Adapting to new markets might dilute or alter the brand’s core identity.
- Solution: Engaging with cultural consultants who can guide businesses on how to adapt the brand’s messaging, visuals, and values to new markets without losing their essence is a must for every localization process. This ensures brand consistency across regions.
SEO and Keyword Localization
- Challenge: Direct translations of keywords might not yield the desired search results in different regions due to varying search behaviors.
- Solution: Businesses can conduct thorough keyword research for each target market. Collaborate with local SEO experts to understand regional search trends and optimize content accordingly.
Maintaining Multiple Versions of Content
- Challenge: Managing localization projects often means dealing with multiple versions of a single file.
- Solution: Utilizing a comprehensive localization suite offers flexibility and scalability and enables businesses to adapt to various translation or localization workflows, ensuring that content remains consistent and up-to-date across all versions.
Beyond Translation: The True Essence of Global eCommerce
Expanding your eCommerce globally presents a vast ocean of opportunities, but it’s the localized touch that turns these opportunities into tangible success. When it comes to localizing your eCommerce website, you’ll face various challenges, and navigating them may often sound easier said than done.
With the right tools and strategy, eCommerce businesses can conquer the global market and boost their sales exponentially. This article outlines a few solutions to the various challenges that might occur during a localization process.
Taking the right steps in the right direction seriously expedites the process and allows your eCommerce business to launch globally in no time. Remember, by embracing the power of localization, businesses are not just reaching global audiences; they’re connecting with them, one culture at a time.