Language in the times of e-commerce

The newest forecasts say that the whole world will be able to surf the Internet before 2030. Already now, about 1 million people access the web every day for the first time. Technology has changed literally every aspect of our private and professional lives, including our consumer shopping behaviors.

If you still need to be convinced a little more, here are some statistics. See how important e-commerce is now and what opportunities it gives you.

  1.  42% of Europeans strongly prefer to shop online in their native language. Most of the global e-consuments don’t speak English or prefer to buy products or services available in their own language.
  2. Latin America will be the fastest growing e-commerce market by 2020. It’s predicted to grow more than 40% in the next 2 years.
  3. USA is the current leader in the cross-border online shopping. It’s followed by China, United Kingdom and Germany.
  4. 34% of online shoppers in Canada admit, that a website available in French is very important for them while shopping online.
  5. Translating your website just into English, you’ll reach only 36,5% of your potential customers.
  6. Cross-border e-commerce will grow 15% until 2018. Right now the whole market value reaches $1915 tryllion.

As you can see, cross-border online shopping will grow, so will the importance of languages other than English. We can also observe new trends that go beyond the geographical and linguistics data. Those are: a bigger influence of mobile technology, contextual personalization and the growth of the importance of video marketing and real-time analysis.

So how to be really trendy in the international e-commerce world?

1. The mobile experience

Not only has the Internet opened the borders, but it has also made shopping more convenient. Your customers don’t have to leave their houses anymore. But when they go outside, they use mobile devices and they expect their mobile shopping experience to be impeccable. That’s why both your website and app should be properly adapted to users worldwide.

If you’re looking to expand your business in the next few years, you should also have in mind the expectations of the generations to come. People born after 1996 are now starting making and spending money. They’re called Generation Z.

This generation is by 20 million bigger in size than Millenials, have greater expectations and don’t give second chances. They also use every day more than one mobile device, but unlike their predecessors, Generation Z is not that fond of shopping online.

Pro tip:

If you want to win Generation Z over and keep the attention of the older generations around the world – localize your website and app. Adapt it to mobile devices but also pay attention to the linguistic and cultural quality of the content, graphics and SEO.

Make sure the pictures are appropriate for a given culture, the textual content speaks the language of your customers and the SEO keywords are not translated literally but properly localized.

2. Multilingual personalization

Building a base of loyal customers is not an easy task. It takes time, a skilled account manager and a creative marketer. Happily, technology works in our favor.

Personalization is a must in the today’s e-commerce world. Marketers around the world have been using it as a bait for customers for quite some time now. Knowing your customers’ preferences enables you to prepare more and more suitable offers for them, which is a straight path to success.

Pro tip:

You can leave the process of gathering extensive data to be done by machines. But analyzing the information requires a human factor. Presenting the content at the right time to the right people is the first part of personalization. But remember – the content has also to be fit to the user’s geographical and cultural reality and that’s your job.

Make sure that personalization goes beyond the context – you’re showing female clothing items to women or a children’s offer to young mothers? Great, but remember about setting the right language version, changing the currency, measurements and making the shopping path easy and convenient for customers from each of your target markets.

3. Video marketing for everyone

Even when your customers (or potential customers) are not shopping, you can be still in touch with them. Tracking tools are marketers’ best friends now, and as we mentioned above, personalization techniques help you get closer to potential customers. Newest trends show that video marketing is something worth investing in. It has higher engagement rates and is more effective in terms of acquiring new leads for e-commerce business.

Pro tip:

Use videos in your international marketing strategy to get in touch with everyone. The tricky part is to decide what you want to do with your video content. You can translate it  into the target language and give subtitles, create a voice-over, add dubbing or fully localize it.

Localization would affect both the video and audio. It implies translating the narration and the on-screen text, changing the graphics (if needed) and synchronizing the video with the new soundtrack.

A video that’s not fully localized can still make it outside the home market. The decision to either take a holistic approach or focus on chosen elements should be based on market research, your expectations and your target customer base needs.


4. Real-time analysis for real results

Monitoring users on your website and opinions about your business in real time can be a game changer. You’d be able to provide detailed information to your marketing team and sales people. What is more, it gives you an opportunity to quickly respond to online comments.

70% of Internet users provide an opinion online when they’re asked to. Even more, as much as 92%, read opinions before using services of an online business. Ordering something online is almost always a risk, and that’s why opinions matter so much in e-commerce.

Pro tip:

If your business serves customers internationally (as most of e-commerce companies do), find someone who can provide you with a multilingual data analysis service. You can usually find it in translation agencies’ offer, as you need many skilled linguists to decode opinions formed in many languages and dialects.

Multilingual data analysis gives you an opportunity to see what your customers from around the world think about you. You can work either on historic data or, which is better, on real time information. Data analysis service usually involves browsing, studying and translating data gathered in forums, social media, internet chat rooms and other platforms indicated by a customer. You can then easily assess the reactions to your products, services or customer service and react accordingly.

Customer’s experience is a key factor to a brand’s success in the e-commerce industry. Find out what your customers expect, also in the cultural and linguistic sense, and create an online shop fit for everyone.

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