3 Keys to Taking Your E-Commerce Site Global
by Calvin Scharffs
Cloud-based platforms and services have made going global more of a plug-and-play proposition than ever before. You can plug specialized modules into your workflow that let you translate content, run analytics, edit across websites and more, without leaving your CMS.
The remaining challenges are more strategic in nature. Here are three things that you should know before diving in:
1. The world doesn’t revolve around the English language
To maximize your website or online business, you need to offer at least two language options to visitors to your site. The global population is not made up of English-speaking people, so think carefully about which language will net you the most returns. Websites with English-only content prevent millions—even billions—of potential customers from accessing your product. Though there are over 300 million people living in the United States, the U.S. is a small market compared to the rest of the globe: There are over 1.2 billion individuals living in India, and over 1.3 billion individuals living in China. Therefore, your biggest markets are probably in a non-English-speaking country.
2. Everything must happen quickly these days, even globalization
Businesses all over the world are now operating on an agile basis. You, too, must execute quickly. Going global quickly requires fast translation, a single system for translation, editing, reviewing, and communicating with translators. Look for tools that will help you get the job done efficiently. Such tools may feature translation workbenches, the ability to handle several translation workflows at once, built-in translation memory and terminology management, all of which will facilitate faster translation and, thus, faster globalization. Moreover, when content is translated in a translation management tool, you can capture, reuse and recycle the content—providing real efficiency and agility.
3. Localize. Translation isn’t enough
Localizing content prevents unfortunate—and costly—cultural misunderstandings. It lets you side-step cultural disasters like the one Nike experienced in Ireland, when it marketed its “Black and Tan” shoe, attempting to play on the famous Irish drink. “Black and Tan” misfired with Irish consumers, though, because it’s also the moniker of a paramilitary group created by the English to forcibly suppress Irish independence.
Localization means that you interpret your online content using the phrases, colors, layouts and appearance that your customers are comfortable with. And when they’re comfortable with you, they buy from you.
Keeping these three tenets of globalization in mind—multilingual interfaces, efficiency and localization—will guide you to make the right choices for your cloud-based operating solutions, and save you time and money down the road.