August 2016

3 ways you can streamline website localization

 by anthony on  |
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As we’ve discussed in previous posts, website localization is a process that requires much more than just a simple translation of text from one language to another. The problem is that it’s also a topic with little research available, and this can lead to a comedy of errors when a company is localizing for the first time. Most of the problems come from this inherent lack of understanding and could be avoided if more time was taken to assess what’s needed from the outset. Issues that are commonly encountered include a lack of context in translations, incorrect keywords being used on localized landing pages or a shopping cart that has been forgotten during localization. The key to avoiding these difficulties is to stop them before they happen, streamlining the process in the long run. Retain your brand identity Yes, website localization involves quite a bit of chopping and changing for your site to fit natively into other markets, but this doesn’t mean that you should totally overhaul your brand. The foundation of any good organization lies in the strength of its brand identity. Take companies like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s – their strongest currency is their brand and it’s instantly recognizable both online and offline. They retain their brand identity while being successful on a global scale. Straying too far from the beaten path will create a confusing message for your visitors and take away the type of consistent familiarity that is required to build a strong, trustworthy brand. You can still tweak your brand slightly across regions, but the core identity should remain the same for customers to trust and believe in your product. To keep it consistent online, you should adhere to an effective website template and design for each of your country domains. So navigation bars, page locations, links etc. should be kept in the same format. The color, images and content can still be edited and localized to accommodate any glaring regional differences. Translate the important stuff first When using internal resources, translating your site is a time-consuming, costly and laborious task. If you’ve got a content-heavy website, then the process becomes even more complicated and difficult to get right. Many companies make the mistake of trying to translate everything at once when they simply don’t have the resources to do it. Prioritize your content and translate the most important parts first to avoid drops in traffic and conversions. The problem here is ascertaining which content is the most important, as everything you put onto your site should carry a purpose. If you’re struggling with finding a starting point, then think of it from the customer’s perspective. What content will have the most telling effect on your customer’s journey? Is there anything that will directly impact your ability to drive sales? Find content that lines up with these questions and focus on translating that first. Once this is translated, you can also use its performance as a testing ground for the rest of your website. Identify what worked and what didn’t work, then figure out how to translate it better going forward. Examples of important pages could include shopping carts, checkouts, pricing and product description pages. All of these directly influence the customer journey and will have a negative impact on sales if not translated correctly. On a side note: Localizer can alleviate any translation issues as it can translate your entire website almost instantly in just a few clicks. You can also set up automated tasks to translate any new content that’s added to your website in the future. Know your audiences Much like any other online sales or marketing endeavors, effectively localizing your website means that you need to research your new audiences. Not every audience will be the same across languages and different strategies will need to be applied for localization to be successful. This starts with identifying potential target markets or countries, where you’d be well advised to look at those that you’re currently receiving traffic from. Existing traffic suggests an underlying interest in your product and you can take full advantage of this if you arm yourself with the correct knowledge. We previously posted about selling in China and some of the things you need to address here, and the same principles apply globally. Find the right payment gateways, most frequently used search engines, popular social networks and overall customer expectations (delivery times etc.). Knowing where your customers are online, how they make their purchases and what their expectations are will give you the best chance of winning and reduce the need for on the fly strategic changes. That said, constantly evaluating and optimizing your approach is a good way to stay successful online, but tweaks should only be incremental ones to an already solid strategy. You shouldn’t have to pull out the foundations mid-campaign and start over.

Want more sales for your online business? Localize your shopping cart!

 by anthony on  |
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During the website localization and translation process, companies generally concentrate on things like homepages, blogs or product pages. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as these are the pages that will most frequently be visited when people land on a website. However, something that’s often forgotten is the shopping cart and it’s only after some potential sales drop off that it’s remembered. Localizing your site to drive sales will be a futile effort if you don’t continue it into your shopping cart, and below are 6 ways you can build a more localized shopping cart. 1. Use correct currency Selling to other countries means you need to be able to cater for a range of different currencies. Your localized product pages will already display the prices of your products in the currency of your visitors, but your shopping cart should match this currency when they place items into their basket. This not only depends on a user’s location, but also their browser settings. For example, they may have their browser set to French, but be based in the US and want dollars instead of Euros. The wrong currency will confuse potential customers as to the true price of an item and result in lost sales. The correct exchange rates must also be used to ensure the customer is not over or undercharged. 2. Implement country-specific shipping and returns policies Make sure you have the capability to ship to every country you target. There’s no point localizing your site and bringing customers to the point of purchase if you have no way of getting your product to them. Once shipping is in place, provide a range of shipping options that cater for the needs and expectations of each country. For example, customers in China expect extremely fast shipping times and if these aren’t met you’ll find that you won’t have many returning customers. The same goes for your return policies, which need to be adjusted in line with country-specific laws and cultural tendencies. Bolster this by setting up a local returns address to make it quicker and easier for customers to send items back. 3. Provide the right payment methods Payment methods are also country-specific and the right ones need to be provided to make sure the customer is given the most convenient method possible to make the purchase. PayPal is the best-known payment gateway in the world, but services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay are catching up fast. Do your research and figure out what gateway is the most popular in each country you target and then add the relevant payment option for that country. Referring back to China, AliPay is by far the most popular payment gateway and should be used when selling here. 4. Place recognized trust seals Trust seals like “PayPal Verified” can add an extra element of authority to your checkout page and assure customers that your site is legitimate. Localized trust seals work even better as customers will easily recognize them and feel comfortable enough to make the purchase. A survey of US adults by Baymard found that over 35% of people felt “Norton Secured” seal gave them the greatest sense of security when paying for goods and services online. 5. Set the right price Simply converting your price to another currency isn’t enough; you must be competitive on price relative to the rest of the market. The perceived value of goods will change across countries and the painful truth is that someone will always be willing to do it cheaper than you. Where the product is cheaper, there’s usually a tradeoff in quality for the customer. The key is finding a price strategy that best suits the quality of your product, your target customer base and keeps you competitive in the market. 6. Adapt localized forms Word length varies across languages, as do phone numbers, where country codes and regions change. This can cause discrepancies in shopping cart fields that have character limitations, or text boxes that are fixed in width. Online forms (e.g. billing details) will need to be localized individually or given a universal template that is flexible enough to cater for any the needs of every language. This will maintain a solid user experience and ensure customer details are all correct.