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If your ecommerce business is thriving in your local market, expanding internationally may be a goal you’ve set your sights on. But before you open your doors to a flood of international traffic, have you taken the time to consider how you will properly localize your presence in a diverse set of geographic regions?

In order to make the most of the time and resources required to take your ecommerce business from local to global it’s essential to first understand the importance of developing localized strategies unique to each of your target markets.

The importance of localization for ecommerce brands

If you’ve ever tried to shop an ecommerce site that is based in a geography outside of your home region, you know firsthand that the experience can be disjointed and confusing if it isn’t localized.

Proper localization is key to making the experience of shopping your ecommerce site seamless for consumers in markets outside your home region. Localization equals relevance and relevance, in turn, builds trust and brand affinity.

Ecommerce experiences that haven’t been sufficiently tailored to the local market can cause a lot of tension and friction for users, sparking questions like:

  • Are the prices shown in my local currency?
  • Do the shipping costs listed apply to me?
  • Are all of the products on the site available in my region?
  • Will I be charged additional fees or duties when my order arrives?

As any ecommerce business knows, questions and uncertainties like these can have disastrous effects on site conversion rates. The most basic truth of ecommerce marketing is that if users don’t feel confident using your site, they won’t complete a purchase. Localization is key to instilling that sense of confidence and trust users need to feel before they hand over their payment details.

Beyond basic details like language and currency, there are a whole host of other issues to consider when expanding your ecommerce business globally.

For example, what appeals to consumers in your home market may actually be alienating to consumers in other locations. Some cultures are more formal than others, so while casual, colloquial language works in certain geographies, it may strike the wrong note elsewhere.

Furthermore, people in different countries value product attributes and differentiators differently. To be successful, product copy should highlight attributes that are valued most highly in the consumer culture of each distinct geography.

Consider also how images and visual materials play a role in localization. Will a consumer from the market you’re expanding into see themselves reflected in your marketing materials?

Depending on the region and on the products your brand sells, you may even choose to develop and promote new products specific to the needs of consumers in key international markets.

How to develop localized ecommerce experiences

As is clear from the questions raised above, there are plenty of things to consider when looking to take your ecommerce brand in a more global direction, but without the right information at your fingertips there are also lots of ways to go wrong.

To design an effective localization strategy you have to start with market research. Local competitive analysis, social media audits, and user surveys combine to paint a clear picture of the unique cultural expectations, norms, and desires of each region.

In depth research will uncover hidden insights and answers to questions you may not have even known to ask. For example, are there digital payment methods that consumers in the region prefer to credit cards? Which elements of cart and checkout funnel design inspire the most trust in international consumers? And which shopping holidays drive the most traffic and sales in the local market?

Building lovable local experiences requires more than slapdash translation and a currency converter. Understanding cultural nuances so you can reflect them in your marketing assets and brand properties requires time and research.

Introducing Global Experience Assessment

As an agency serving many global businesses, we understand both the importance of localization and the challenges inherent to doing it well. Scalability quickly becomes an issue when you’re talking about generating deep cultural insights across a dozen different regions.

This is why we developed our Global Experience Assessment, designed as a flexible solution that can generate in-depth global research in a format you can scale at a pace to match your expansion into international territory.

Learn more about our Global Experience Assessment and how it can help elevate your brand presence across a range of diverse markets.