In this day and age, it’s apparent that the future of shopping is online. It is projected that eCommerce will account for more than $6.5 trillion in sales by 2023, and that number will just keep rising. So if you’re interested in starting a business, eCommerce is certainly the way to go.
One of the reasons why eCommerce is such a popular business model is because it allows merchants to sell their products and services all around the world. However, if you think that all it takes to sell worldwide is a website, you are missing one important thing – a localization strategy.
What is localization?
Before we get into different ways you can boost your localization strategy, we need to address the elephant in the room – what is localization? Localization is the modification of a business that allows it to cater to markets outside its own country. Through a localization strategy, you will cater to different markets’ cultures, social norms, and native languages.
While a lot of people are under the assumption that localization doesn’t require anything more than translation, it’s a much deeper concept. You need to gain an understanding of the buyers in the market you’re trying to break into. And with the right strategy, you will be able to overcome language barriers, increase brand loyalty, and build customer trust.
1. Start with market research.
It’s easy to say you want to break into a specific market, but before you put in the effort to do so, do some research.
It’s important to distinguish whether or not your business has a fighting chance to succeed in that market if you want to create a successful localization strategy. A good way to perform research on the market you’re interested in is to work with local experts.
They will help you determine the following:
- Whether there’s a demand for the products you’re selling.
- The cultural differences you need to pay attention to.
- What brands will be your competitors if you choose to sell in that market.
- What the preferred method of purchase is in that market.
If you don’t want to work with a local expert or simply don’t have the means to do that, you can perform thorough Google research on the market you want to sell to.
2. Look beyond buyer personas.
For such a long time, all a business needed to know was the buyer persona of their ideal customers. However, the Covid-19 pandemic changed how people view businesses and shopping in general, and today’s consumers have different priorities.
Nowadays, it’s not enough for a customer to see how a product might benefit their life. If you want to break into different markets, you need to understand what the consumers in those markets are after.
Looking beyond buyer personas means understanding your customers on a deeper level.
- Are they affordability-first customers who are focused on the price more than the brand?
- Or are they society-first customers who want to buy from brands that share their personal values?
When you understand exactly what your customers want and what segments you’re targeting, it is easier to create an appropriate localized message.
3. Think about international SEO.
When focusing on building your business locally, you need to implement local SEO tips, but it’s a different story when you’re looking to create a localization strategy. When you want to target customers from foreign countries, your SEO strategy needs to be different from what you’re used to.
Here are a few ways you can ensure you’re reaching the right people on your website:
- Include “hreflang” meta tags. This tag allows Google to recognize which language you’re using on the page where you add the tag. When writing this tag, remember to first place the language code and then the country code.
- Do thorough keyword research. Keywords that perform extremely well in one market may be completely ineffective in another, so perform keyword research on the markets you’re after.
- Write all of your content in your customers’ native language. Don’t just assume everyone who visits your website will speak English. More than 50% of all queries on Google are in languages other than English because people mostly perform Google searches in their native language.
- Display the prices in your customers’ local currencies. Nobody wants to look up currency exchanges while shopping online, so show all the prices in the currency your customers are familiar with.
Ecommerce has achieved something merchants could only dream of just a few decades ago. Selling to people from all over the world can be a challenge, but it gives better chances to find success and profitability. With a good localization strategy, you will conquer foreign markets without bigger issues.