Guest post by Pulkit Rastogi
If you’re looking to increase your e-commerce sales globally, you need to localise the shopping experience of your store for visitors in their native language. Especially during these unprecedented times due to COVID-19, localisation is more important than ever to ensure a high conversion rate as well as return on investment.
Thanks to the modern e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, it’s easy to implement localisation at the store level. You can show customers the product price in their currency and descriptions in their local language. However, there are few blind spots that retailers tend to overlook, and fail to leverage localisation at full scale. The cost these retailers pay is not only missed sales opportunity. These mistakes also cause costly international returns because customers set wrong product expectations or order wrong sizes.
In this post we want to share four important tips that you might be overlooking in your localisation strategy.
#1. Improve your returns page
Yes, it's ideal that your customers place an order and do not return it. But it doesn’t mean that you neglect your return page by writing in gibberish or making your return policy unfavourable for returns. As a brand, you have to show confidence in your products by giving customers all the necessary information in the format they can best understand and offer them an easy way to return the product.
A good example is the return page of Away. Notice how their navigation link says: “Start a Return” and they offer an easy form that customers can fill-out to initiate a return.
Imagine what a positive impact this will have on a new customer who is placing an order for the first time knowing that it’s so easy to return it. By making its return process so accessible and seamless, Away has lowered the perceived risk for customers shopping for luggage on their website.
One more tip - please avoid using copy-paste templates. Take your sweet time to design the return experience for your customers and articulate it in your unique brand voice and in a way customers can understand quickly.
#2. Offer relevant sizing information and help
It’s generally hard for retailers to provide a standardised size selection to its customers. To begin with – brands tend to have their own unique sizing. For example - Reebook’s size 6 is 15 cm, 7 = 17 cm, 8 = 21 cm, whereas Nike’s size 6 is 16 cm, 7=18 cm, and 8 = 22 cm.
It’s not about sizing scale alone, there are more factors which make it even more difficult for customers to pick their size:
- Your customers keep putting on and losing weight.
- Most people don’t own a measuring tape and have no easy way to take their body measurements.
- Your customers have different body shapes.
- They have unique fitting preferences, depending on their current style.
This becomes even greater challenge for retailers selling internationally. Most of them allow their customers to change the country and accordingly show the website in the local language and currency. However, very few actually change the language inside their size guides or adjust their sizing information to local sizing standard. To give a truly native experience to your customers, you must localise every single touchpoint possible and sizing help is no exception.
One way to address this is to implement size charts or size guides and translate the information to different languages. A more scalable way is to use technology such as Easysize that delivers a personalised shopping experience with the world's leading AI-powered size and fit recommendation for apparel and shoes. Easysize takes care of localisation not only by interacting with your shoppers in their native language, but also by providing the sizing recommendation in a format, that your shoppers are familiar with.
#3. Product descriptions in the local language
A bad way to translate your product descriptions into customer’s native language is to use Google translate. The automatically translated language can break the design. Furthermore, the text translated by Google often sounds very robotic and can completely lose its human touch.
What’s the worst way to handle translations? Hire a cheap translation agency and upload translations without someone doing the quality check.
If you’re serious about localising your online shopping experience for your international shoppers, make sure to hire qualified professionals to do the translation and add a local context.
#4. Work with local influencers
Let's talk about localised marketing efforts and generate more qualified traffic by working with local influencers and making them brand ambassadors. Why? Having a local blogger or Youtube influencer talk about your brand and products in their native language to their local audience can be a powerful customer acquisition channel. It's a great entry point for your international shoppers. All you need is to start collaborating strategically with more influencers in your target markets. You can also swap paid influencer marketing to finding the true fans in your target region who like your brand and can become its ambassadors.
Lululemon is a great case study of how brands can collaborate with local influencers and fans to localise their marketing. In the above Instagram post, you can see how Lululemon invites social media influencers to work with them.
There is a caveat though
Amid this pandemic, the world has become even more digitally focused and in times of uncertainty, consumers expect reliable, timely and mindful communication. Localised marketing includes digital strategies that focus on leveraging locally driven communication, which can help brands to acquire more customers while ensuring a high conversion rate.
Localising your e-commerce store can help you build a deeper connection with your online customers and drive international sales. However, localisation often comes at the cost of diluting the branding experience and undermines some of the traditional efficiencies of standardisation. Before applying any localisation strategy, make sure you weigh the pros and cons, and consider the impact your decision can have on your organisational efficiency.
About the author
Pulkit Rastogi is the Founder & CEO at I Love Fashion Retail - a specialist Ecommerce agency for Fashion Retailers. Pulkit’s area of expertise is to help fashion brands grow their online sales and brand presence using proven technology and marketing solutions.