This week news is out that a properly localized eCommerce site can increase sales by up to 10 times. In a booming global market retailers are seeking ever more sophisticated ways to engage, convert and retain customers. Particularly buoyant markets in Europe, Brazil, China and India present all kinds of issues to consider in localization – not least overcoming language barriers and adapting to locally favoured payment methods.

So how does achieving a truly localized website fit within your overall eCommerce strategy? The answer lies in the right tool kit. Here’s a run down of the 3 most important techniques to ensure that your ecommerce business stays ahead of the game no matter what country and market you’re targeting.

Don’t sacrifice functionality: the Superdry experience

 

When you’re working in different markets it’s pretty obvious that translating your site to the local language makes absolute sense. After all, if your visitors are having to negotiate your site in a second language you’ve immediately put a barrier in their way which makes no business sense.

Translating your site’s content is a relatively simple affair – but making sure that the functionality doesn’t suffer is also vital. For example, is your spell correction and search functionality up to the job of handling multiple languages? What about your product recommendations – are they responding to multi-lingual searches as they should?

For our client SuperdryLocayta Freestyle Merchandising® has been instrumental tool in achieving (to quote their Head of Ecommerce Chris Griffin) “the same high grade performance regardless of which country the site is operating in. Maintaining superior search and category performance on a totally multi-lingual basis has generated phenomenal, if not unprecedented success for us.”

Search functions including intelligent navigation, spell correction and auto-complete will all help your customers to get to the product they want quickly and conveniently. Plus, because we’ve ensured that our tools are totally adaptable to different languages you can be sure you’ll never miss the opportunity to retain a new consumer.

Online shopping behaviour: adapt to cultural differences

Ecommerce giant Amazon are currently focusing on the Chinese market, but they’re taking their strategy beyond issues of language and payment. Amazon have discovered that Chinese shoppers prefer to browse products side by side via multiple windows, rather than navigating back and forth. That’s just one example of how your site needs to be able to respond to cultural behaviour.

Not only should you be on the button with how users are interacting with your site, you should also be adapting your shop window to local cultural preferences too. Take the fast paced world of fashion ecommerce as an example. When a new localized trend hits the market you need to be able to respond quickly. Locayta visual merchandising is the tool for the job – enabling manual opt-in whenever you choose to manipulate displays and messages to match your market.

Although the software is incredibly simple to use, the level of merchandising sophistication means that you can create a shop window that speaks immediately to your audience wherever you are in the world.

That’s something our client boohoo.com has found invaluable according to their Ecommerce Manager Catherine Turner, who explains: “When a new buzz hits the catwalk it’s vital for us to be able to adapt our visual displays and search criteria at a moment’s notice. We can tie our categories and sequencing into a wide variety of trends, colour stories, collections, and special promotions in line with the latest media coverage. Compared with other systems Locayta’s dashboard is simple to use and enables us to do that at the touch of a button.”

Gear payment methods up to suit your customer

A barrier to eCommerce in the past has been cultural attitudes towards payment and fulfilment methods. In Italy, according to Retail Week, 50% of online orders are made via cash on delivery rather than credit card. In Sweden 80% of online orders are collected, not delivered. Your site strategy needs to take account of these differences and deliver accordingly.

Our client Tesco Clothing has fulfilment all sewn up, with clear online details of international payments, shipments and exactly what to expect, whilst the British Museum Company have introduced e-tickets and shipment prices by weight and area to make sure international customers get no nasty surprises. This combined with their use of Locayta tools including personalised product recommendations and search results makes sure they’re maximising every opportunity to build customer loyalty through transparent customer service.

 There are many ways in which Freestyle Merchandising can boost your eCommerce site’s performance, increase your conversion rates and up your average order values. Prezzybox saw this happen “overnight” with our system according to Founder Zak Edwards. Superdry saw revenue “increase by four figures” (Chris Griffin). Paperchase‘s Head of Ecommerce Adrian Spence reports that their use of our product recommendation software is “generating beneficial results”.

Want to join them? Integrating Freestyle Merchandising isn’t as difficult as you might think. The software can plug straight into your platform and is totally configurable to your retailing strategy – not to mention easy to use. Just contact us – we’ll walk you through what you could achieve in any market in the world that you choose.

Read more:

Ecommerce Survey by One Hour Translation shows a 10 Times Increase in International Sales from Localized Websites, The Sacramento Bee, Sept 2012

Ecommerce is Booming in Brazil, Business to Community, Sept 2012

Ecommerce is not borderless, Retail Week July 2012

How Amazon localised for China, TechinAsia, Sept 2012