Does your company have what it takes to "go global" with its online and cross-channel offerings? Armed with these five key insights, your company's road to global success this year may become much clearer.
#1: Sites Must Be In-Language, Whenever Possible
Translating your company's primary-market website for new markets is the most critical thing it can do, to take it global. In poker parlance, these are "table stakes."
Here's why. While English remains the dominant second language of the world (behind Chinese), MotionPoint has seen time and time again that consumers overwhelmingly prefer sites translated to their native languages. From a business perspective, these localized sites perform much better in-market, too.
This applies even to regions that have a very high level of English proficiency. Take Scandinavia. One MotionPoint e-commerce client saw its revenue jump by over 62% in the first year after translating their already high-performing website to Swedish when entering the Swedish market.
Going to the UK or Australia? Don’t overlook the importance of localization here, too. As we’ve covered previously, users in these markets appreciate companies that use locally-preferred spellings and words. (Trousers versus slacks, for instance.) That “translates” into good business—in some cases, delivering double the conversions, compared to sites without localization.
Consumers overwhelmingly prefer sites translated to their native languages.
This can help your global Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, too. By making these small changes to your content, including translating meta titles and descriptions of web pages, you help search engines differentiate between your global sites. This avoids potential duplicate content penalties.
#2: Help Locals Find Your New Site
As more and more companies continue to expand into international online markets, ensuring that your brand can be easily found there is more critical than ever.
One key to this is ranking high in international search engines. Unfortunately, companies taking their first steps into new markets often have a less-pronounced global online presence. That vastly reduces the likelihood of ranking well in local search engines.
However, solutions now exist to mitigate this longstanding issue. In fact, MotionPoint offers several industry-leading technologies that wildly improves global SEO and page rank.
The task of managing the structure of multiple global sites is hard. It’s particularly challenging when configuring “Hreflang” tags and ensuring sitemaps across all markets are uniform and up-to-date. To make things easier, MotionPoint offers a Global Sitemap solution. This Global Sitemap handles this breed of tedious setup and management of global sites, and allows companies to focus on reaching new customers.
#3: Authenticity Is Key
Companies must make localized experiences to fully engage with users in new markets. As the world's Internet population continues to skyrocket, consumers in different markets are no longer conforming to the "one size fits all" online experiences of yesteryear. These days, they expect unique experiences tailored to them.
Consumers in different markets are no longer conforming to the “one size fits all” online experiences of yesteryear.
Put another way: If your international site can’t connect with these consumers in a meaningful way, those consumers will simply shop somewhere else.
This requires more than linguistic fluency. A kind of social- and data-based cultural fluency is absolutely critical for success. In MotionPoint’s case, we leverage our global team’s backgrounds and cultural knowledge to help savvy companies better connect with global users.
One of the tools we use is called Market Manager. It allows our clients to modify and test different parts of their websites, to better connect to their global audiences.
This is accomplished through a powerful combination of A|B testing messaging, user interface modifications, conversion funnel changes, and much more. With the consultation of MotionPoint's Global Growth department and the Market Manager tool, our clients have seen a 52% average increase in e-commerce conversion rates.
For e-commerce clients, perhaps the most critical way to create a localized experience is to support local payment methods. Unlike the U.S., not all (or even most) global consumers are comfortable using credit cards for their online shopping.
Considering these preferences when entering global markets separates the companies that win big from those that don't. One MotionPoint client in the Netherlands that integrated support for the popular iDeal e-wallet platform quickly saw iDeal's share of revenue rise to 277% that of all credit cards.
It was clear that consumers had been visiting the site and were ready to spend money, but didn’t take the plunge until the site offered their preferred payment method.
For e-commerce clients, perhaps the most critical way to create a localized experience is to support local payment methods.
#4: Understand the “Halo Effect” for Certain Markets
Thinking both linguistically and strategically can pay big dividends for companies launching localized websites. Localizing a website to a market whose language is spoken throughout an entire region (such as Spanish, French, Arabic, and Russian) can yield valuable returns.
In addition to smartly targeting a certain market directly, you also have the potential to generate a profitable "halo effect" by serving users from surrounding countries with a similar language. For example, we have seen clients that localize a site for Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics experience significant traffic from major neighboring markets, such as Mexico and Colombia.
Similarly, companies that launch localized French (targeting consumers in France) see a surge of transactions from French-speaking neighboring countries Belgium and Switzerland.
More strategically, these "halo effect" opportunities are valuable for further expansion decisions. For instance, the increased amount of data and insights from Belgium to the French-language site grants a company the opportunity to evaluate the value of launching a dedicated, localized Belgian site.
Seasonal buying habits, payment type preferences, average order values, conversion rates and item preferences are just a few examples of the kind of information that can be gathered and leveraged to make further expansion decisions.
Localizing a website to a market whose language is spoken throughout an entire region can yield valuable returns.
#5: Leverage Existing Resources to Jump-Start New Sites
Most e-commerce companies have existing mailing lists or membership clubs for their primary markets. These resources can be localized and leveraged for new and existing customers in global markets.
Analyzing the success of these initiatives can help identify key traits and habits of these global customers. Leveraging this data effectively can significantly shorten the "learning period" in these new markets, allowing for quicker results and success.
One of our clients found continued success in the ultra-competitive Russian market by localizing their membership club offering and e-mail campaigns. The result? These channels amounted to 44% of the client's Russian site multimillion-dollar yearly revenue.
Indeed, this channel has proven to be such a source of stable, high-converting and high-spending customers, the client has stood out and succeeded, in contrast to its competitors in the market.
Going global with your company's website will always require careful consideration of costs and benefits. However, by making the correct strategic decisions and leveraging various resources-and following some of the tips found here-it is absolutely possible to minimize the risks while maximizing the rewards.