How Localization Improves the E-commerce Customer Journey

Last Updated September 8, 2020

Global growth is built on a multitude of local customers’ purchasing journeys. Are you ready for multi-localism?

Like a river, customers follow the path of least resistance. Make each customer’s journey path to purchase as effortless as possible, and your e-commerce store will flood with happy shoppers.

Modern technology, however, has placed a ton of potential interruptions along this once free-flowing route.

Shoppers face a greater number of purchasing opportunities than ever before. They can jump between stores with the tap of a finger, fill virtual shopping carts, and then abandon them at the first glimpse of a better offer.

In this article, we’ll explore how localization can increase your e-commerce conversions.

The E-commerce Customer’s Journey to Purchase

There are five key touch points along the online customers’ typical purchase journey:

  1. Awareness: They find an online store, either after viewing the search engine results or by navigating directly to the website.
  2. Interest: They search the site and navigate their way through product information, specifications, reviews, and guides as they assess the items for sale.
  3. Decision: They add an item to their shopping cart and continue to browse the site.
  4. Action: They enter the checkout process and complete their purchase.
  5. Loyalty: They come back to make further purchases and engage more fully with the brand via newsletters, social media, and blogs.

In an online environment where switching sites is absolutely effortless, it doesn’t take much for a shopper to look elsewhere. Every step of the journey is an opportunity to stop, consider, and potentially leave the site.

Consider a minor roadblock like a hard-to-navigate product page. This could spoil the customer’s shopping experience and tarnish their impression of the entire brand. Based on this, the shopper will make a judgement about whether they would rather be browsing at a store that better understands their needs.

How to Provide a Seamless Online Customer Journey

A well-structured, customer-centric website is just the starting point for many e-commerce operations.

In today’s multi-device, multi-channel, cross-border world, it is necessary to ensure personalized customer service that extends across technology, apps, and borders.

This requires:

A seamless multi-device experience: Different devices must deliver an uninterrupted shopping experience that maintains a continuous conversation with the customer, whether they are using a desktop computer, mobile phone, or tablet.

Connected communication channels: There’s more to an e-commerce operation than a store. There is social media, email messaging, live chats, and countless other channels that combine to create a complex ecosystem of customer touch points. Each channel should convey a compelling, coherent message that guides the customer on their way.

Addressing customers’ regional requirements: E-commerce customers do not recognize borders. From Australia to Zanzibar, the customer experience should be tailored to be the best it possibly can be for each region and each individual. This does not mean it should be the same blanket experience rolled out for everyone. Rather, it should be the same quality of experience, regardless of language, cultural, and regulatory differences.

Using Localization to Personalize an E-commerce Site

A Deloitte report found that: “Businesses that embrace personalization have an opportunity to create a differentiated proposition that may command a price premium, and improve consumer traffic and conversion.” This demonstrates how much consumers value personalization.

So how does a global e-commerce operation build such a personal rapport with its target audience? The irony is, the more global a retailer becomes, the more they must localize their offering.

A localization strategy ensures a global e-commerce offering matches the requirements of each local culture. This involves tailoring a number of stops along the typical customer journey for people in each region—such as planning customer support around the preferred methods and times for that location.

Thanks to recent advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, you can analyze, interpret, and automatically implement regional and individual preferences.

Translation forms a major element of any localization strategy, as Lea Backhurst, Nordics Region Managing Director at Summa Linguae Technologies, explains:

“Localizing an online retail website is like relocating it to a different country. From the images on the page to the FAQs, everything should feel made for them. Translation is only one component of the localization process, but it is a massive component.”

Translation cuts across all five stages of the customer journey:

1. Awareness

E-commerce sites rely on search engines to find, prioritize, and promote their brand and products. That means that the site’s SEO (search engine optimization) keywords and metadata (the written information about each web page that is hidden within the page’s HTML, but visible to search engines) must be optimized for local shoppers and done so in their native language.

2. Interest

As highlighted in the earlier quote from the Deloitte report, customers attach a high value to being able to acquire information about the products they are interested in in their own language. Even content such as text burned into images needs to be modified to display the correctly translated message.

3. Decision

To convert product interest into a buying decision, it’s necessary to tackle any potential resistance head on, so it cannot divert the customer journey away from a purchase. This happens by helping in the swiftest, most effortless way possible. These days that means chatbots (artificial intelligence software that can simulate a conversation). Translating the scripts used by multilingual chatbots into only the ten most spoken languages would enable native-language conversations with more than three billion people.

4. Action

The checkout process incorporates a number of translation and localization issues: instructions, currencies, units of measurement, dates, addresses, and telephone numbers—all of which must suit each local market.

5. Loyalty

The purchase is not the end of the journey; it’s the beginning of a long-term relationship built on a constant flow of written content. Customers become part of a brand’s community—viewing, responding to, and sharing blog articles, videos, emails, newsletters, and social media posts. These all need to be localized to convey a message that resonates with local customers, wherever they may be in the world.

Localize the customer e-commerce journey

Whether you’re an established brand or a hot, new, e-commerce start-up eager to break into into the global market, you have to succeed in the many local markets first.

E-commerce localization is something Summa Linguæ Technologies can help with. We can transform a site that is successful in one region into a site that is equally high performing in another part of the world.

Contact us now and discover how your e-commerce business can build customer trust and reproduce globally the kind of success generated in your home market.

Learn how to make your e-commerce website local everywhere.

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