Why You Should Be Localising Your eCommerce Brand to Increase Sales

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Written by Harry Bray

May 26, 2022

As far as customer experience goes, localising your customer journey is vital to engaging new markets. This goes beyond simply translating a couple of white pages or a blog post. But this is a great place to begin, so let’s take a look at a standard customer journey, starting with your first email campaign to audiences in a new country. A high-performing blog about AFL (you might need to go and look that one up if you’re not from Australia) is unlikely to connect with audiences who have never heard of the sport. The same goes for in text examples and vocabulary choice: the idea is to sound like you and the business have been in this local market for years!

Localising Your Website

Step one complete: someone has clicked on your website link! Did you know almost half of consumers will not purchase from websites where information isn’t presented in their language? So it’s essential to ensure that your website can be viewed in the local tongue of your new target audience. More importantly, studies have shown a 70% increase in conversion rates when a website is localised: as mentioned above, this includes things such as cultural references, vocabulary, local contact information and relevant customer service operating hours. 

Step two complete: someone likes your product and wants to buy an item! The customer is just minutes away from completing the transaction (and sending you their money), but they hit a roadblock. Localising your brand includes ensuring that all product information is displayed in relevant terms. I can walk into a store in the UK, pick up a pair of size 9 shoes that I like and walk out within ten minutes. But the second I jump online and there are sizes like 38 and 46 staring back at me, I freeze. In the time that it takes me to go to Google and do the translation of UK to European shoe sizes, I could have easily loaded another site and found a couple of similar options. So don’t let inconvenience trip you up. Make sure all product information is in line with local standards.  

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But “Can I really afford this?”

Step three complete: you made the product selection process as easy as possible, and someone is about to make the payment. Only seconds remain now. But wait, there’s one question that has been itching away in the back of their minds throughout the purchasing process. Things have been easy until this point, so they’d almost forgotten, but as they’re about to give you that 3-digit number on the back of their card, the question pops up one last time: “Can I really afford this?”

Even if shoppers are more or less familiar with current exchange rates (probability suggests they are not), they’ll likely be charged excessive conversion or transaction fees by their bank. This, along with the question of payment method, causes another friction point in the purchasing decision. This results in around 30% of shoppers being likely to abandon their carts at the final hurdle, but websites that localise currencies increase conversion rates by 40%. 

My advice? Remove the pain point altogether: display everything in their local currency from start to finish and do your research on how consumers like to pay in your new market! For example, in the Netherlands, almost 70% of transactions are made using a domestic payment method called iDEAL. If you didn’t know this and were trying to sell into this market, you’d be seeing a lot of abandoned carts and have no idea why. 

Step four: the purchase is complete, so you can sit back and relax because the money is in your account. At the end of the quarter, a report will arrive on your desk, and you’ll be able to see how easy it is to sell into several different countries simultaneously… Or not? That report I just mentioned will give you nightmares if you don’t have the correct systems to handle and report on purchases from different subsidiaries worldwide. Most of this blog has been about streamlining the customer experience, but this one is for you. So welcome to “streamlining the office experience,” a section just for busy business people like yourself.

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Streamlining the Office Experience

This solution is simple: integrate Shopify Plus into your NetSuite ERP. NetSuite minimises the risk of reporting errors by automating the whole currency exchange process. On your website, Shopify Markets will automatically convert storefront prices to more than 130 international currencies based on the current exchange rates.

These transactions (in a foreign currency) are then converted and reported in real-time by NetSuite, meaning that report on your desk is completely standardised and doesn’t have to be segmented into purchases in Yen, USD, Euros and Pounds (although you can see these figures if you would like). The system also records gains and losses from fluctuating exchange rates, helping to ensure the accuracy of your income statements.


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