With the global market at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever before to reach an international audience — but that doesn’t mean they’ll convert. You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. And the same applies to your foreign visitors if you don’t localize your website. Let’s take a closer look.
Speak to a Global Audience – Locally
Seventy-two percent of internet users prefer to use websites in their own language. And the majority of those won’t even consider making a purchase if they don’t understand the instructions. You may have a steady stream of customers for your business now, but imagine tapping into the majority of non-English speakers abroad!
Only one quarter of all internet users speak English and, as connectivity increases and internet connections grow, that number will increase. New markets with purchasing power are emerging in Latin America, Eastern Europe and parts of Africa. But they’ll buy from the competition if they can’t understand your message.
Website localization isn’t just about translating your content into different languages, either. It’s about creating a version of your site that speaks to a native in the target country.
Your content needs to include local vocabulary, nuances, images, date and time formats, and local payment methods. According to a study by WorldPay, alternative payment methods are on the rise. So, if you’re offering credit card or PayPal in a market that exclusively prefers WeChat Pay or Alipay, you won’t make a sale.
Grow Your Business Internationally
When you localize your website to speak to customers in different countries, your business grows internationally.
As global tastes are merging, your products have every chance of being as much of a hit in Peru as they are in Pennsylvania — but you have to understand local customs and customers.
Sending out offers about your latest winter clothing line will not generate sales in the Southern hemisphere, where they’re experiencing summer. Using cultural taboos in the Middle East (like images of women in beachwear) will be frowned upon, at best.
You need to understand and address cultural sensitivities to be accepted and grow your market share. And if you don’t speak the local language you won’t get a foot in the door.
Keep Up With the Competition
Unless you’ve had your head in the sand lately, you probably already noticed how many companies are localizing their websites. From KFC to Coca Cola, all the biggest players reach their audiences in their preferred language and format.
That means users in China will see wording, imagery, and local promotions relevant to them, while site visitors in Spain get content tailored to their language and preferences, as well.
Website localization is more accessible than ever before and no longer just the domain of the big players. If you aren’t localizing your site, you can bet your competition is.
Website Localization Enhances User Experience
You’ve heard about the importance of user experience (UX) by now. If your website is slow, your shopping cart crashes or your forms have errors, you’ll lose customers.
The same applies in website localization. One error that companies make to save money is only partially localizing their website, but not their shopping cart.
But imagine you landed on a page, found a product you wanted, clicked “BUY NOW,” and then transferred to a store page where you didn’t understand the language and couldn’t pay in your own currency. Would you buy?
In a similar vein, bad translation is worse than no translation at all. So, beware of using free plugins, as they could hurt the UX and your reputation, as well.
Nowadays, website localization for each international market is increasing in importance, as more of the world gains access to the internet. Take advantage of a previously untapped customer base, embrace local cultures, speak to them in their own language and watch the sales roll in.