[FREE guide] Expanding your ecommerce brand internationally
International ecommerce is one of the biggest growth opportunities for online retailers today. There are 1.79 bn digital shoppers worldwide and 2.14 bn is the number projected for 2021. Additionally, online buyers who purchase from abroad are on the increase.
Thus, by opening up to the international market, retailers present their products to literally hundreds of millions of new potential buyers.
This article is about the three areas that ecommerce brands must consider to reach global buyers in the simplest and fastest way and watch their conversion rates grow. The three areas are:
- international buyer acquisition
- translation & localization
- store compliance.
The acquisition of international customers for your online store
As 43% of ecommerce traffic comes from organic Google searches, putting international SEO in place is essential for your global websites.
Every day probably thousands of buyers around the world look for your product. Many would be happy to buy it, but they can’t find it. This also happens when buyers speak your language.
For example, Americans and Brits both speak English. However, each nationality may use different keywords in search engines when browsing for the same product, e.g. trousers vs. pants.
For this reason, at Webinterpret we’ve spent years training our machine translation algorithms and we’ve optimized millions of real-life ecommerce translations. We wanted to see which keywords make sales to localize your listings accordingly.
The effect is that by using keywords that buyers actually use when browsing for items, we make your products easy to find on foreign markets.
Why is this important?
A word can make or break your sales deal. For example, according to our research, items with the word “fancy dress” had a 250% bigger chance of being sold in the UK compared with items containing the word “costume”.
The translation of your online store
When it comes to ecommerce translation, the best dictionary equivalent may not sell your product. It’s more about making your products easy to find on foreign markets.
High quality, clearly listed attributes and the right keywords that will sell your product are the key elements of optimal ecommerce translation.
Ecommerce data analysis helps to establish which keywords will maximize the possibility of selling a particular product. Titles are especially important and should include searchable terms on a given platform.
Some ecommerce retailers may organize translations for their ecommerce stores themselves and/or manually insert product descriptions in multiple languages. You may need to determine if this is the most efficient and optimal solution for you.
Machines can help you with ecommerce translation, e.g. they’ll optimize your listings so they bring the best sales results. Further, today machines are capable of producing translations of an equally high quality as humans.
Artificial Intelligence for ecommerce translation
Using machines to optimize ecommerce translations usually brings optimal results. Especially now that the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making machines much more human than they used to be.
Most of product tagging can be carried out on a larger scale. A simple raw description will be enough for AI to:
- accurately localize the whole content
- map the right category
- extract attributes
- convert sizes.
The expected end result is efficiency, accuracy and consistency of ecommerce translation thanks to combining machines’ capabilities and the intelligence of the human brain.
In other words, retailers can expect top (human) quality translations that will help them both sell more abroad and enhance the brand’s positive PR.
According to Patrick Smarzynski, CEO at Webinterpret with over 15 years of experience in ecommerce technology:
The full localization of your online store
Ecommerce translation is just the beginning. It has to do with the fact that the expectations of your international customers are often similar to those of your native ones. They also expect native (and great) customer experience and short delivery times.
Ecommerce localization is a broader term that describes all aspects of developing an online store for growing international sales. The full localization of your store can bring amazing results.
Take ASOS: this British online retail giant has become a global business with around 60% of its business coming from abroad. ASOS’ ecommerce success story is the result of a properly implemented international strategy and a fully localized buying experience provided to its key international markets.
There is no greater growth opportunity for online sellers than selling internationally. According to Mark Ellis, VP of Partnerships at Webinterpret, fully localizing your products and/or website is fundamentally important if you want to get the best results. Localization is about overcoming barriers for the buyer so that purchasing is a straightforward process.
This is what ASOS understood pretty well.
A fully localized experience involves:
- international SEO
- ecommerce-optimized translation
- size & currency conversion
- keywords used by buyers when browsing for an item
- international payments
- taking care of restrictions and the legal side.
- shipping & fulfilment optimization
- hassle-free international returns.
Optimizing your checkout and improving your conversion rate
Many online stores already receive 10%-20% of their traffic from abroad. Their domestic traffic may convert at a pretty respectable 3% conversion rate, but their international traffic at something rather less respectable like 1%.
International conversion rates can be lower even in markets that share the same language. For example, UK retailers tend to receive organic search traffic from the US and Australia. However, despite sharing the same language, the traffic still converts at a much lower rate.
Why are your international conversion rates lower?
The checkout process for your international customers may not be optimized. Retailers often lose international sales in the checkout because they don’t support multiple currencies.
Thus, what can have a huge impact on your conversions are changes and optimizations made at the end stages of the buying process (cart & checkout).
If, by supporting an additional currency, you can generate 2 orders, rather than 1, you’ll make the same impact as if you’d doubled your entire marketing budget and put 200 visitors in at the top of the funnel.
Only one or two tiny details in your checkout can make the difference as to whether the buyer will decide to buy your product.
To improve your conversions & revenue, localize your checkout in terms of:
- Language: international buyers feel more confident when they can finalize payment in their native language.
- International payment / currencies: buyers want to see prices in their currency, without having to use a currency converter.
- Delivery options / shipping: foreign buyers want to see multiple delivery options, including attractive shipping rates.
Ensuring customs compliance
Customs compliance is a major pain point for international ecommerce retailers. This involves the complex world of tariff codes, taxes & duties and international trade regulations. All this takes place in a rapidly changing legislative landscape: a single change can impact a retailer’s ability to clear customs.
Your business or brand perception may not have been impacted yet. However, international waters can get really murky.
Here are possible scenarios. If you’re not compliant, customs may impose penalties or fines. Your goods may even be confiscated and a lawsuit may be filed against you in a local court abroad.
Your customers may not get their parcel and may decide not to order from you anymore. Instead, they may spread the bad gospel about their disappointing experience with your brand.
This can also happen when your international customers see unexpected fees upon product arrival. This can result in returned items and destroyed customer experience.
Thus, providing your buyers with the accurate tax & duty calculation at checkout can improve your conversion rates and customer experience immensely.
Webinterpret’s ecommerce localization
At Webinterpret we offer an ecommerce solution that translates & localizes your online store for international markets, improves your buyer acquisition & conversions and ensures you’re compliant.
The Webinterpret ecommerce solution:
- provides you with the high quality translation & full localization of your ecommerce store
- helps you drive & convert international buyers
- offers a fully localized, secure and hosted international checkout process that enables you to accept payments in 25 currencies
- reduces shipping friction & delays
- helps you stay on top of customs compliance, tax & duty calculation and customs documentation
- improves the efficiency of your workflow & your customers’ experience.
In a nutshell
There may be no greater growth opportunity for online retailers than international ecommerce. Buyers all over the world are looking for both products that aren’t available in their domestic market and products at the right price, regardless of where they’re sourced.
The only way to fully capture the opportunity of an international market is to offer an end-to-end fully localized shopping experience.
It’s about overcoming barriers for the buyer so that purchasing is a straightforward process.
A cross-border trade partner can help you optimize your translation processes and costs, thus helping you get the best return-on-investment.
Download the complete guide to expanding your ecommerce brand internationally