insights | 16.05.2023

Global eCommerce – 5 ways to prepare for world domination

We’re all used to buying items from a range of countries. A designer handbag from Italy, extra virgin olive oil from Greece, video games from Japan, and even bananas from South America! However, do you consider that people living in different parts of the world might want to buy your products too?

As the world becomes more connected, global eCommerce has become more critical than ever before. And with the international eCommerce market estimated to be worth over £16 trillion by 2028, now is the perfect time to get selling to brand new markets.

Global eCommerce can seem like a challenge if it’s not something you’ve done before – after all, it’s hard enough to create an eCommerce strategy for one country! However, by taking a methodical, tried-and-tested approach, you can become an international eCommerce powerhouse in no time.

Here are some of the things you need to consider:

Article topics
  1. Implement international SEO
  2. Understand the difference between translation and transcreation
  3. Consider cultural differences
  4. Use a PIM to easily manage your data
  5. Think of the overall customer experience

1. Implement international SEO

We all understand SEO and the benefits it can bring your business in the form of increased organic traffic, improved brand awareness, and more revenue.

It’s important to understand that the SEO strategy for your native country will need to be adjusted (or even rewritten entirely) for other countries you want to target.

The first thing you’ll need to decide is what URL you will use for your new international website. While a standalone domain may seem like the easiest option, you won’t be able to take advantage of the search engine presence, and backlink profile your original website has acquired.

Instead, you may use a subdomain or subdirectory of your original website or even implement a URL parameter. Each option has its pros and cons, and your website developer can recommend the right course of action depending on your specific needs as a business.

You’ll also need to add hreflang tags to show the search engines what language your website is in. This ensures the right page shows up in the relevant search engines, and prevents search engines from mistakenly tagging your pages as duplicate content. For example, pages for the UK and US markets will be very similar apart from pricing and some word changes, so it’s essential to mark them differently.

Don’t forget your keyword research! You need to identify the keywords your international audiences use to find the products and services you sell. It’s not necessarily a case of taking your existing keywords, translating them, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best. A good tip is to look at what keywords prospective competitors in your region of choice are targeting.

You must also ensure your pages load quickly to maximise the chances of a high search engine ranking. A content delivery network can reduce the time it takes for people in other countries to view your website.

2. Understand the difference between translation and transcreation

If you want to sell to other countries, you need to make sure they can understand your website content. 76% of people prefer to buy products in their native language, and 40% will outright refuse to purchase from a website that is not in their first language.

All the content on your site will need updating and reviewing – not just the pages themselves but any documents, page titles, meta descriptions… even the checkout process!

When you need to adapt content from one language to another, you have two options – translation and transcreation. Translation focuses on converting words from language A to language B, while transcreation focuses on conveying the same message in a different language.

For example, let’s say you want to translate the idiom ‘to cost an arm and a leg’ into French. If you were to translate it directly, it would be ‘coûter un bras et une jambe.’

However, different languages have different idioms of their own, which a transcreator would be aware of. The French equivalent of the English saying is ‘coûter les yeux de la tête’ or ‘to cost the eyes in the head’, which will mean a lot more to a French-speaking customer.

Which is best for your business? Translation is typically more affordable, as it takes less time and effort, and is perfectly serviceable for basic text on your site. However, transcreation is the best investment for your eCommerce store as you get targeted and creative messaging that evokes emotions in your customers.

We have a range of native speakers available, meaning we can take your existing website content and ensure it resonates with different customs and cultures worldwide.

3. Consider cultural differences

When you sell in other countries, you need to consider that shoppers may see things differently from you. It’s important to understand these differences not just to maximise revenue, but to avoid causing unnecessary offence.

Take, for example, 11 November. In China, this is known as Singles Day, and is the largest online shopping day in the world, with over £112 billion spent in 2022 alone. However, in the UK and other Commonwealth nations, this is Remembrance Day, where the mood is much more sombre.

Even how you price your products can significantly affect how your business is perceived. For example, in the Western world, most prices end in a 9. This is because we’re conditioned to think that something that costs £26.99 is a more significant saving than something that costs £27. However, in non-Western cultures, psychological pricing is not a phenomenon, so you’re more likely to see prices ending with whole numbers.

4. Use a PIM to easily manage your data

If you sell to multiple markets, a Product Information Management system (PIM) makes it easy to manage your products in one place. Think of a PIM as a central repository for all your product information, from your images to your specifications.

Different regions want to know different things about your products, and you need to take currencies, languages, local regulations, and measurements into account. For example, the US market prefers imperial measurements like inches and feet, while Europe prefers metric measurements like centimetres and metres.

A PIM system makes it easy to provide localised and accurate product data, reducing product return rates and associated costs. Speaking of which…

5. Think of the overall customer experience

It’s not just about your website and the keywords you use. You need to make sure you offer a high-quality customer experience to everyone who buys from you.

For example, consider the channels you use to communicate with customers. Some may be reaching out from different time zones, making it trickier to establish a dialogue. Are you willing to offer support outside of standard working hours, or support in an alternative language?

Shipping your products to international countries may be a frustrating process. You might consider using an international warehouse to make the process faster and cheaper. However, if you do this, you must be mindful of national shipping laws and regulations that can potentially hinder your business. For example, non-prescription sunglasses in the United States are classed as medical devices and, as a result, need to be approved by the FDA.

Xigen: your global eCommerce specialists

Not all businesses need to consider a global eCommerce strategy. However, if you look at your website stats and see that a growing international audience is checking out your products and services, it could be a worthwhile investment.

If you need help developing and implementing a global eCommerce strategy, we’re here to help. Our team of eCommerce experts will review your current eCommerce offering and recommend what changes you can make to become a worldwide leader in your industry.

Say hola, salaam, and dzień dobry to a high-quality global eCommerce website today – get in touch to learn more.

Need help with your next big eCommerce project? Find out how we can support.

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