Translation vs Localization
Localization, whilst being quite different to translation, is often used interchangeably with the latter. Translation covers converting the language into that of the buyer, whereas localization for ecommerce adapts every aspect of the purchase into the buyers local formats, such as: prices & payment options, product sizes, product descriptions, taxes & duties, even shopping options, ensuring all items sold are culturally appropriate for that market.
Download our ebook covering “Translation in ecommerce - the guide to cross border sales growth” to learn how translation & localization can scale your cross-border business.
Localization is extremely important for cross-border trade. Not only does it ensure your international listings get traffic but that your store can start to convert international buyers at the checkout. They expect a shopping experience similar to if they were to shop domestically, and providing buyers that localized experience leads to a much higher conversion rate at the checkout and an even lower cart abandonment rate.
It is necessary to adapt your listings and your store to a whole new localized culture and shopping experience, reflective of the market you’re selling into. This includes product descriptions in your buyers language, sizes in their metric system, prices in their currency and their methods of payment accepted.
A localized experience involves:
- Translation: increase the comfort and convenience for your foreign buyers and save them the hassle of third-party translation tools.
- Size conversion: apply conversion tables to enable your buyers to see the measurements they recognize, e.g. if you sell clothes, remember that size 8 in the UK may be 4 in the USA and 36 in Germany.
- Currency conversion: present prices in different currencies (even if you can’t accept payment in all of them) to give your customers an idea of the price without having to make an extra effort and resort to a currency converter.
- Local marketing & SEO: customize your SEO strategies to drive maximum traffic to your website. Be careful when markets share the same language. For example, Brits and Americans may both speak English, but each nationality may use different keywords in search engines, browsing for the same product, e.g. trousers vs. pants. If you consider the keywords used by British customers only, US buyers may not be able to find your item should they use different search words.
- Keywords: use keywords that will help buyers find your product. The best translation may not be the keyword that buyers enter when browsing for products. For instance, das Handy is the translation of a mobile from English into German. However, Germans may not enter das Handy to purchase a mobile, but rather Android, iPhone, smartphone and so forth.
Localizing the checkout
Localizing the checkout can be one of the bigger impacts of adapting localization to a merchants online store to scaling cross-border sales.
Whilst being able to see products in their local language is going to drive conversion rates for your store, offering localized prices as well as payment options and even international shipping creates a seamless experience that provides your customers with trust and confidence when buying your items.
Not every customer will be comfortable with Paypal, or other domestic payment options. Many will prefer to pay with their own debit or credit card. Additionally, customers do not want to have to convert prices themselves. Being able to show your prices in Euros in the EU, Zloty in Poland, Yen in China etc, will create reassurance with your buyers and increase the likelihood of a purchase.
Integrating tax and duties is also a must
Providing a desired local buyer experience also involves eliminating any unnecessary charges the customer may face when they receive their parcel. One aspect of international shopping many buyers may overlook is the prospect of cross-border taxes and international duties - it is sometimes a cost they aren’t always aware of.
Ensuring all customs tax and duties are correctly displayed is incredibly important for your customers' experience. Integrating tax and duties into the checkout process will give an up front cost of purchase to customers and prevent customs delays for global shipping.
Being able to display the VAT at checkout rather than have them face surprise VAT stings is going to improve their buyer experience and the likelihood of them returning for repeat purchases.
Don’t run the risk of upsetting customers - implement the correct tax and duties at your checkout.
Scaling cross-border sales efficiently with lean localization
Offering international buyers a localized experience can not only dramatically increase the overall number of international transactions, but also increase the average transaction value. When a buyer is provided an experience where they feel comfortable when shopping, they’ll be more likely to convert their shopping cart.
However implementing localization into the sales process can be a daunting task to many merchants - not knowing where to start or what to prioritise.
This is where ‘Lean Localization’ comes into play. It is one of the quickest and most effective methods to improve conversion rates, but at a more efficient pace for the merchant.
Lean localization is an agile and iterative approach that helps identify the quickest and most effective ways to start converting international buyers. It’s about prioritizing the things that will have the biggest impact, in the shortest implementation time.
By providing the buyer the localized experience as close to their normal native experience as possible, you can significantly improve the chances of your checkout converting. This localized experience needs to be evident throughout the buyer funnel, to ensure consistent conversion at each stage.
What is the buyer funnel?
The buyer funnel is the mapped user journey for your store, from when someone lands at your homepage, to converting at your checkout. This helps you to determine which stages your buyers go through, and identify where optimizations can be made.
This is an example of a standard merchant international buying funnel.
This is split into the different stages a typical international buyer will go through:
- Home Page
- Product Page
In most cases, your user will land at the home page through simple search engine marketing and optimization. However, certain shopping platforms, such as Google Shopping, can land your buyers one step further down the funnel into the product pages.
The challenge is optimising the funnel and guiding the visitor through all stages to finally land on checkout, and convert.
How can you use localization to optimize conversion?
Let’s look at an example.
At the top of the funnel, you have 100 international visitors. As these visitors progress through the funnel they will slowly drop off at each stage, until finally at the end, we have just one order. A conversion rate of 1% can be pretty standard for an unoptimized funnel.
One of the biggest reasons why international visitors fall off is due to a lack of localization across the entire funnel.
However, there are many aspects to international ecommerce, and so localizing the entire funnel at once could be complicated and/or time consuming for many merchants.
Do you start with SEO & SEM to bring in more traffic? Returns, conversions etc to improve the middle of the funnel? Or Payment methods and currencies for a better checkout conversion?
This is why lean localization is an effective approach and can be used to optimize the buyer funnel for better conversion.
For example, common reasons why merchants lose international sales in the checkout is because they don’t support multiple currencies. If, by supporting an additional currency, you can generate 2 orders, rather than 1, you’ve doubled the conversion rate, which has the same impact as if you had doubled your entire marketing budget. Changes made to the bottom of the funnel, i.e. the final stages of the buying process (cart & checkout) can have a huge impact on the overall performance of the funnel.
Mapping localization components to the buying funnel will help you identify which components are likely to have the greatest impact on your conversion rate. Working up from the bottom is the most impactful way to improve the performance of your funnel. Changes made at the bottom of the funnel have a compound impact on the layers of the funnel above, what that means, for example, is if you improve your checkout conversion by supporting additional payment methods and currencies you will also consequently improve your ROAS on your marketing campaigns.
Scaling international sales with Glopal
Glopal enables merchants across Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce and Visualsoft platforms to scale their international sales. Glopal’s pricing model is simple and easy-to-understand. We do have a “Free forever” plan that enables full access to our Facebook ads solution as well as a “Pro” plan with custom features for advanced merchants.
We can help you to launch globally through localization:
- Identify top international markets for your products
- Fully localize & launch Shopping Ads & Facebook Ads into your chosen markets
- The solution localises the product feeds into over 25 currencies, providing buyers with the same local experience they’d expect.
- Glopal’s guaranteed total landed cost reduces international delivery times and includes all customs duty and tax. Glopal's ‘Delivery Duty Paid’ solution integrates seamlessly with your existing checkout.
- Glopal’s international shipping creates a seamless and simple process, enabling merchants to ship their products overseas at a cost effective & competitive rate, whilst also providing a streamlined, hassle-free returns option.
Download our ebook covering “Translation in ecommerce - the guide to cross border sales growth” to learn how translation can scale your cross-border business.
To understand how you can take full advantage of this change and grow your international sales, get in touch with one of our ecommerce experts.