There is no doubt that e-commerce is gaining in popularity: the Internet is teaming with trade-focused businesses, and according to all indications, it’s far from stopping. People make online transactions all the time, and if you’re thinking about starting your own business, or if you run one already, you may want to take a few steps that will allow your business bloom with ease in future. Namely, remember to put “localization” and “automation” or your “Going Global” checklist. But let’s go through this step by step.
Having its roots back in the late 1970s, when Michael Aldrich presented his Teleputer, e-commerce bloomed into a wide range of branches. Everyone who has Internet access is able to name at least a few services from this business model, be that social commerce, financial exchanges, B2C sales, or simply food ordering. To put this in perspective: almost every one of us clicked an ad on Facebook, paid their bills online, bought an item online, or ordered a takeaway meal. The Internet is plausibly the easiest and most efficient way to (1) reach a broad audience (2) provide it with many types of service. So what now?
There’re plenty of e-commerce sites where you can showcase your goods and services, and it’s perfectly fine to use such websites, especially when you’re just starting off. But one day you may want to cut the strings and create your own brand image. That’s when, among others, you’ll want to set up your own website, where your rules will apply as to what’s presented, and how it’s presented, for example:
- the company goals
- marketing content
- you name it…
They say that “Rome wasn’t built in one day” and so wasn’t any prolific business, meaning you need to have patience, determination and money to succeed. Not everybody has the necessary means to start at full steam, but there’re some tools that you can use without breaking the bank while building your empire. With a solid ground you can be sure of your steady business growth.
Some time ago I wrote an article about the dos and don’ts of localization, from a strictly technical perspective. It’s time to have a look at it more from a potential clients’ point of view and how it affects you as a business owner.
In order to build lasting relations, one needs to earn trust, right? Let’s say that you’ve visited a number of different websites that offer the product you need, and the prices were very similar. What do you need to do? You need to make a choice.
People usually do search for the lowest price, however, there’s one more thing that helps them to make the choice, often subconsciously. What?
Familiarity – that’s the answer to the previously asked question. If you make your website look familiar to them, they’ll be more likely to pick you over your competitors. And what does familiarity exactly mean in this context? You’ll say language – of course! But behind that there’s a number of things to take into consideration, such as:
right-to-left writing (Arabic or Hebrew) or various alphabets and fonts (Japanese and Korean) as well as the look and feel of the website itself.
Sometimes, especially when visiting a foreign company’s website, I find myself baffled over the website layout: I just sit in front of my computer and look for the “Logout” button, or wander aimlessly to find “Help” section when something is not clear to me; or the special characters don’t display correctly. The latter bothers me a bit. These might seem like petty things, but they do add up and will have an adverse effect on user experience.
Plus, mobile view: I tend to, as many people do, browse the Internet from my mobile device more and more often, and it seems that some entrepreneurs don’t take this fact into consideration seriously, which is why their websites aren’t mobile-friendly.
The same goes for those companies that didn’t think through their order forms, and I wasn’t sure how to fill them in, since they didn’t seem to realize that the format of postal address may be quite different in different countries. These’re the cases when a website visitors’ mindset has been completely forgotten during the website development process. The site was translated, alright, but it hasn’t been culturally prepared in terms of interface. Customer experience is extremely important.
If you don’t take care of the basics from the very beginning, they may prove problematic in the future, because your website’s code will need some costly and time-consuming rearrangements. That’s why it’s important to think ahead and plan the structure of your website with you IT crew carefully before going global.
So what to do when you’ve prepared to target your chosen markets and you’re ready to take the next step forward? You may have collected some customer data already, and surely you want to gather some more to expand your business globally. Needless to mention, collecting data is one thing but managing it is another. That’s why you may want to consider using marketing automation.
Here’s a few facts about marketing automation, in terms of localization:
- It’s been localized into over 20 languages. Should you feel more comfortable employing automation to your marketing plan in your own language.
- Automated campaign messages and webpages are available in over 80 languages, so you don’t have to worry about creating those while preparing to promote your goods and services on several markets!
- Automation’s blocks contain dynamic values, which allow you to create and study workflows with less effort:
Because the values are in bold, each of the blocks, and thus the whole workflow, are clearer and easier for you to follow. Thanks to that, creation, analysis, and adjustments to a given workflow can go smoothly.
Considering the fact that your future goal is to go to multiple markets, automation is probably the best tool to deploy. You can set up your workflow based on language and culture, just choose the right campaign and off you go!
Going global calls for careful planning by the entrepreneur. In order to prepare comprehensively, you have to think ahead and find some time to work on language and cultural-related issues, as well as having the right tools to manage your projects.
It usually takes time for a business to grow in size and develop across different markets, but it’s crucial not to undermine certain issues that may seem petty at the first glance; as they may prove problematic at the end.
Back to you
Now that you’ve learned about some of them, are there any other issues you’d like to discuss before you go global? Or perhaps you already did and want to share your experience? Or from a user’s perspective: have you experienced any language and cultural-related that you like to share with us?
Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and views.