Essential International Ecommerce Tips: Culture, Content, and Commerce
A multilingual Content Management System empowers you to have multiple sites with a variety of languages on the same solution. This CMS functionality makes transferring information as well as copying pages and templates much easier. Your different templates should also accommodate foreign languages, especially because some foreign words and characters take up more page space than their English counterparts.
How you communicate with your customers, particularly for a textual medium such as a website, you want to go beyond mere translation. Google and automated translations are wonderful tools, but they’re inadequate for the content on your international ecommerce site. A mistranslated word immediately stands out to consumers who want assurances of legitimacy and security from their online merchants.
A crucial beginning to the online sales cycle happens the moment your visitors arrive at your website to do their own research. This step is when they read about your solution, discover your company, and consume your content. Embracing content marketing is a smart tactic to increase conversion rates, but not any content will do. Localize your content to fit the customers you are targeting.
Yes, you do repurpose much of your content when entering a new market, but don’t simply translate your content and throw in a few cultural clichés. Perform the necessary market research to identify the specific pain points for residents of a given region as well as how your solutions help resolve these issues. Then alter your content to reflect these needs. Engaging and relevant content is still the goal, but your targets may shift.
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With international ecommerce, you also want to avoid coming across as an arrogant or ignorant brand. Some designs and images are offensive to different cultures and using them is a fast way to lose customers. For example, look at the “Victory” or “Peace” hand symbol. Holding your hand out with your pointer and middle fingers extended to create a “V” may seem like a very nice gesture of peace.
If you simply turn your hand around with the palm facing inward, however, that’s considered an offensive gesture in the United Kingdom and other countries. Famously, President George H.W. Bush inadvertently offended residents of Australia by reversing his gesture for peace during a trip. Leave the international incidents to the politicians.
To ensure that your potential customers find your website in the first place, optimize each version of your site for search engines. Additional SEO is important for international ecommerce because keywords do not automatically translate over perfectly. A top keyword for your product may not be a direct, literal equivalent of the keyword for your English-language site. Also keep in mind that not every market uses the same search engine. For example, China’s primary search engine is Baidu.
Your website visitors don’t use all the same words, but they do speak the same language. Your international ecommerce customers want a great web experience with engaging, relevant, educational content that conveys the knowledge, experience, and vision of your brand. They don’t want broken sentences, culturally offensive material, and pages that are impossible to search for.
It all sounds so simple, except too many international pages neglect their content and fail in their communication. Get ahead of your competitors by taking the extra care necessary when introducing yourself to a new market. And further improve the customer experience by checking out our additional blog post on Essential International Ecommerce Tips.