Best practices for ecommerce localization and translation

By Acclaro
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Best practices for eCommerce localization and translation

Are you thinking about launching your eCommerce site in new language markets? You’ll want to consider using eCommerce translation services to give your domestic and international customers the same type of personal shopping experience.

Today, your global customers have endless options when it comes to shopping online. If your site doesn’t cater to their local shopping habits and isn’t available in their language, chances are they’ll go elsewhere to make their purchase.

To capitalize on the global users visiting your site, you need an eCommerce localization strategy

But translating hundreds or even thousands of product descriptions and webpages can seem daunting. This is where professional eCommerce translation services and localization come into play.

By making sure your online retail site communicates to customers in their native language and accurately displays elements like dates and currency, you’ll be able to provide an engaging local user experience that drives revenue.

The ecommerce localization guide below is designed to help you determine what you need to do, and what to prioritize, in order to create localized shopping experiences that resonate with international customers. But first…

What is eCommerce localization?

eCommerce localization is the adaptation of eCommerce content (e.g., product descriptions, pricing, reviews, etc.) to a specific locale, market or culture. More than simply speaking in a target audience’s language, eCommerce localization involves the implementation of audience-specific graphics, terminology and formats.

The value of localization for ecommerce stores: why you should consider a localization strategy

Take a look at the statistics on global online retail and you’ll realize it’s never too soon to make your eCommerce website multilingual.

Overall, global eCommerce has grown 276.9% since 2014, and according to eMarketer, it’s expected to be a $4.9 trillion industry by 2021, and to grow $6.4 trillion by 2024.

China is expected to grow 70% by 2023, with a predicted market size of nearly $1.1 billion. The United States is predicted to grow 45% in the same time period, with the market expected to expand to $735 million. Also on pace are the United Kingdom and Japan, which should increase market size to more than $100 million by 2023.

With this growth potential, it’s important for you to consider offering a multilingual version of your eCommerce site to better reach the new markets you’re targeting. It should be easy for customers to understand product descriptions, pricing, reviews, and testimonials.

Being able to provide localized shopping experiences can make a big difference in whether customers in a particular locale choose to buy from you.

Customer support should be accessible and readily available. The more comfortable customers are using the site, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Not sure if you’re ready for international, online retail? Several factors could trigger an expansion, including:

  • Receiving international visitors but not purchases
  • Launching a brick-and-mortar store in a new country
  • Outgrowing your domestic market

If these or similar situations apply to your business, the following are some eCommerce localization best practices to consider before you launch.

Best practices for eCommerce localization: what you’ll need to do

To execute on your eCommerce localization strategy, you’ll need to choose the right eCommerce platform, adhere to international laws, pay attention to pricing and payment options, and more.

Choose the right ecommerce platform

First, if you’re already using an eCommerce platform, see if it fits your localization requirements. Is it built for scaling with your international eCommerce strategy? Does it offer multi-currency options, international shipping and order management integrations?

While there are other considerations, above all, your existing or newly selected eCommerce platform should be translation ready and tailored for different languages, currencies and seasonal trends. It should fit your needs and integrate well with your CMS (Content Management System) and other platforms, such as your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), POS (Point of Sale), PIM (Product Information Management) and supplier databases.

Finally, a major part of your evaluation should be security. Your platform must be compliant with the global Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI), so be sure to ask your provider about their policies.

To learn more, check out our guide about how to choose the right eCommerce platform for your business.

Human translation, machine translation or both?

Once you’ve decided on the best eCommerce platform for your needs, you’ll have to translate your site’s content like product descriptions, SKUs, FAQs and customer support.

For highly creative marketing content like slogans, taglines and other persuasive marketing copy, human translation is the best choice.

Machine translation with human post-editing may be a good option when simply understanding the content is key.

Depending on volume and language combinations, machine translation can work well for FAQs, product descriptions, customer support content and technical documentation.

Here, the first translation pass is provided by a trained machine translation engine with a post-editing step provided by an experienced translator to ensure accuracy. This option is typically more cost effective with faster turnaround times.

International SEO

Now that you’ve translated your eCommerce site, customers need to find you, and one of the best ways to do so is to rank high in international SEO.

As part of a global SEM campaign, it’s worth taking the time to find keywords in your target countries (don’t just translate what works for you already), and use the search engines local customers prefer.

Adhere to international laws

There’s more to localization than creating multilingual content. You must be aware of local laws and regulations, including liability, privacy and return policies, which vary significantly from country to country.

One example is the European Union’s GDPR, which is a set of guidelines that allows citizens to have greater control over their personal data. Failure to comply with GDPR can result in a hefty fine. It’s wise to get help from in-country legal experts to ensure your content and processes are compliant.

Pay attention to pricing and payment options

Accurate pricing is essential to a revenue driving eCommerce site. Start by simplifying your pricing structure, including rounding all numbers, which helps build trust with buyers.

Numbers that are not rounded look like they’ve been subjected to exchange rates. Also be sure you’re pricing competitively with the market and not just converting prices based on currency exchanges.

You should also localize currency so customers know you serve their region and select a payment processor that is trusted in your new market. Give users the choice to view prices in a format they’re used to, from euros to yen to pounds and beyond.

Optimize the customer experience

Cultural differences will play a large part in how your multilingual eCommerce site is accepted in your new market—and it goes beyond translation.

You must create personalized experiences for your shoppers. Think about adding dynamic locale-specific content, media or product recommendations.

Make customer support effective

You’ll need to provide great customer support in your customers’ native language whether you provide it via live chat, a chatbot, phone, help articles, emails or all of the above.

A trusted translation partner with experience in your target market can help ensure that your customers feel taken care of. Ideally, your translation provider will offer a translation connector that integrates directly with customer support platforms to reduce errors and speed up the availability of multilingual help and support content.

Customer reviews & feedback

Customer support doesn’t stop at the transaction. Remember that eCommerce shoppers rely heavily on reviews from other customers to help them make purchasing decisions.

It’s worth considering making translations available for your product reviews to gain the trust of your new target market.

Partner with experts for ecommerce localization

While it may seem overwhelming to launch and manage a multilingual, online Commerce store, it doesn’t have to be. Acclaro’s eCommerce localization services can help you sell into local regions with confidence.

Contact us We will be there to help you engage with local markets and thrive globally.

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