How not to localise your online shop
So, your online shop is ready to go worldwide. Well done. That’s the first step of a very long and exciting journey. To reach higher sales figures and ship your products to customers abroad, your store will have to meet the expectations of your customers on each and every market. Not only the language is relevant here, but also all the little aspects related to culture, payment methods, purchase process or online shopping behaviours existing in your target markets.
So, before you start translating and localising your online store to other cultures and languages, have a look at these traps to avoid the most common mistakes in online shop localisation.
1. Not including the payment methods popular in your target market
Not everyone uses PayPal, Payoneer and credit cards. And it’s not necessarily a personal choice. In some countries certain methods are simply not as popular as in others. So, if your online sales on the home market come mainly from credit cards and PayPal, you can’t automatically assume that your foreign customers will be able to pay in this way too. Before adding an extra language and adapting your website to another culture, carry out a proper market research. Your online store will have more chances to take off if your customers can choose the most convenient payment method. Consider offering local payment gateways too, for example in Poland it could be PayU, in Germany – Sofort, in the Netherlands – Ideal. If you fail to adapt your payment options to the foreign market, your customers may easily abandon their basket without completing the purchase process.
2. Not adapting the measurement units and currency
One size doesn’t fit all. Your target markets will use different units, clothing size standards and currency. Don’t ignore these differences and adapt the product descriptions to your potential consumers. They will be more likely to continue shopping if they can quickly understand how big or how expensive your product is. No one has time to calculate and convert foreign currencies or size formats into the local units. So, do it for your consumers to gain their trust and convince them to keep shopping.
3. Ignoring the cultural context
To fully use the potential of localisation don’t limit your efforts to the language layer only. Apart from adapting payment methods, delivery options, currency and measurement units, include the cultural context as well. For example, by creating special offers or discounts for local holidays you’ll be able to increase the engagement of your consumers in the target market and create an impression that this market is really important for your brand. Using the cultural context to attract and retain your buyers also means displaying culturally relevant images and product descriptions. Depending on your target audience and preferences of your potential consumers, it might be wise to show your product in the culturally relevant settings. For example, if you sell kitchenware don’t show the pictures of the single product only, but place the products in the relevant situations – during Christmas, Thanksgiving, Sacrifice Feast or Hanukkah celebrations. Using cultural items on your online shop website contributes to a better shopping experience and helps to attract and retain more consumers.
Online shop localisation might be a lengthy and challenging process. If you research your target market, find out how to meet the expectations of your potential consumers and avoid the most common pitfalls, you’ll be more likely to fully benefit from your localisation adventure and take your online shop to the next level.
What about your online store? Have you localised it already?
About the author: Dorota Pawlak
Dorota helps businesses, organisations and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is an entrepreneur and a qualified translator specialising in IT and localisation of websites, games and software.