When in Rome, Sell like a Roman: Thinking Locally to Grow Globally

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Here Shopware partner Trusted Shops shares how you can build trust through localisation and increase sales in the process. Take the first steps toward broadening your distribution circle and download their free whitepaper now.

Expanding your business is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? Focusing on your local market is the first step, but if you’ve established your business on your home turf, the next logical step would be to look across borders. The world wide web has indeed become world-wide. With the internet, the world is getting smaller and smaller. Shoppers around the world love niche products, so why ignore millions of potential customers? A majority of the web is in English, yet people generally prefer purchasing things online in their local language. So what can your business do in order to reach out to all these shoppers?

Now you’re speaking my language

Have you ever purchased a product from an Italian language website? I’d bet you a calzone that you haven’t. That’s probably because it’s not very comfortable navigating a website, reading product descriptions, and entering payment details in a foreign language.

As an English speaker, you have the advantage that the majority of websites are created in English. In fact, according to w3techs, 51.3% of websites are in English. However, those numbers are declining every year. As more content is created in foreign languages, non-English speaking shoppers prefer shopping in their own languages more and more.

So, translating your website is definitely the first step. Getting a professional translator is generally preferred here because there are nuances to every language that a translation tool just can’t grasp. Having a poor translation for your website reflects poorly on your business and you might even risk offending some people if translations are done incorrectly (Google the phrase “translations gone wrong” if you’ve got some spare time!).

Comfort is king

Although it might be the most important thing you can do, there is more to localising your website than translating your website. Speaking the customer’s language is important, but money talks, too. Because it all comes down to comfort and trust, you’ll want to make the pricing on your website available in local currencies. If you use a popular shop software, then you’ll more than likely find a free or inexpensive add-on that will automatically convert your pricing into local currencies based on the shopper’s IP addresses or your website language. However, it’s also important to do your research here. Remember, you have to think like a Roman. For example, it’s very common for Chinese websites to display pricing in both Yen alongside the original currency. Chinese shoppers like to see this on the page as a sign that the products are not counterfeit.

Another thing you should strongly consider when localising is researching the preferred payment methods of your target market. Sure, many international shoppers use PayPal, but there is always another popular alternative in each country. For example, Germans like to pay after receiving their goods and then they use SOFORT, a bank-to-bank transfer platform. It’s not uncommon for Italians to pay on delivery. The Dutch like to use a platform called iDeal, a homegrown payment provider. Whatever the market prefers, you should try to offer those options on your site. Providing familiar payment options is likely to result in better conversion rates. No matter what changes you decide to make, just make sure you research the target market.

When trust is a must

It’s clear that entering a new market is tough. They key to winning over new customers is trust, whether that means speaking their language, selling in their currency, or offering them local payment options. Advertising and marketing have their place when building up brand awareness, but our society has become accustomed to the ad bombardment of our daily lives. So much so that it’s become easier and easier for us to block out a good chunk of the thousands of ads that we’re exposed to every single day. Customers rely on each other for advice and recommendations these days. Honestly, when is the last time you spent more than £100 on a product and didn’t read at least one review?

Getting a review system for your new domain is essential to building your reputation. With the right review system, businesses can remind their customers after a few days of testing the product to leave a review on their site. An integrated review system on your website is definitely the best option. You might have the best prices on the web, but shoppers will search for reviews if they can’t find them on your website. Giving them a reason to your leave your page is the last thing you want them to do. So, if you pride yourself in your products as well as your service, let your happy customers spread the good word. They can be your best advocates, so give them the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Conclusion

Selling domestically is definitely a challenge in and of itself. When you’re ready to take the next steps, growing internationally can be even more challenging. Trusted Shops has put together a free white paper that goes into more details as to how to localise your website. Though it takes some effort and there might be some hiccups along the way, it can be a very rewarding experience. However hard it may be, just remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Download free whitepaper

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