Localization is a key factor in the success of global e-commerce. Stores that support only one language show the lowest conversion median rate and the highest cart abandonment rate. But how do you maintain multiple local stores without investing heavily in each market? Learn how independent brands can incrementally expand into new markets with a single backend and a small content team.

Breaking the language barrier

Serving your e-commerce in local languages is important for several reasons, as it can significantly impact your business’s success and customer engagement. Research shows that a local language and payment/shipping options will increase conversion, enhance the customer experience, increase reach and accessibility, build trust and credibility, boost SEO and visibility and sometimes even be a legal requirement.

The Problem

Traditionally, maintaining multiple websites for different languages and markets has been reserved for larger companies with enough resources to run a website for each market with a local team that can monitor and manage each website. But even then, the sites will most likely branch out in different directions over time, and it will be nearly impossible to synchronize global content strategies or maintain consistency.

One site, endless variations

One of our mission is to give smaller brands the same opportunities as large companies to enter new markets with local variations without having to maintain multiple backends or expensive content teams. The way we do that is by creating a unified, global e-commerce site, but with local content variations for each market or region at a granular, incremental level. This solves many of our problems and opens up even more opportunities, such as:

A single global website allows you to maintain consistent branding, design, and user experience across different markets. This helps strengthen your brand identity and makes it easier for customers to recognize and trust your brand, regardless of their location.

Managing one website is more efficient and less time-consuming than handling multiple sites separately. You can update products, content, and features in one place, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring uniformity.

Operating and maintaining multiple websites can be expensive, requiring additional resources for design, development, hosting, and maintenance. With a single website, you can allocate your budget more effectively and potentially save on operational costs.

A centralized platform provides you with valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns across different markets. This information can help you make informed decisions and tailor your offerings to specific regions.

A single website with localized variations allows for a consistent and intuitive user experience. Customers can switch between languages and regions seamlessly, enhancing convenience and reducing potential confusion.

Launching new products or features becomes more efficient on a single website, as updates can be rolled out simultaneously across all markets. This agility is particularly beneficial in fast-paced industries.

By consolidating your efforts into one website, you can allocate resources towards enhancing the quality of that platform, investing in user experience, and implementing innovative features that benefit all markets.

Adaptability: A single global website can better adapt to changes in technology, design trends, and user preferences. This adaptability allows you to stay current and relevant across all markets.

Navigating the global market involves speaking the language of your customers, quite literally. It’s not just about words — it’s about resonating with their preferences, culture, and shopping habits. Here are our top three localizations that global e-commerce websites should embrace:

1. Let the user choose language

Many e-commerce sites use only one language tied to a specific market. Not only is this difficult to manage, but it can also put off customers who speak other languages in that country. A smarter solution is to use auto- detection based on user preferences to set a default language and allow the user to switch languages or settings at any time without being redirected to another site or losing their shopping cart (yes, this happens!).

2. Local shipping & payment options

The shipping country controls product availability, delivery, currency and local payment options. We can automatically detect the country based on the customer’s IP address, but just as with language, it is important to provide the ability to change countries without losing items in the shopping cart, especially if detection at the border is incorrect or the customer is traveling. It is also important that search engines and web crawlers access all product pages regardless of availability, regardless of where the search engine comes from.

3. Regional variations

Regional variations is a powerful concept that enables our clients to dynamically showcase various content such as start pages, articles, product collections, or even in-page sections based on users’ perceived locations. For instance, we can feature summer clothing on the website for users in northern regions while highlighting winter clothing for those in the southern regions. Additionally, we could tailor links to pages, promotions, and articles that align with the cultural preferences and trends of specific countries. This approach enhances user engagement and tailors the experience to their specific needs.

By combining these three concepts, you can gradually enter new markets with a unified management/content team and perfectly adapt to local preferences and variations.

When it comes to localization, headless e-commerce is proving to be a game changer. Unlike traditional approaches, headless architecture decouples the front-end presentation layer from the back-end. This separation allows brands to effortlessly adapt their online store to different countries and cultures and easily automate publish flows using third-party translation services.

Most e-commerce platforms fall short when it comes to localization due to architectural limitations. While they offer basic translation capabilities, these often fail to capture linguistic and cultural nuances, resulting in content that feels generic and disconnected from local customers. Second, traditional platforms often struggle to manage multiple currencies and pricing structures. Global e-commerce requires the ability to display accurate and relevant prices to customers in their local currency, which is critical to building trust and ensuring transparency.

Another major limitation is the difficulty in handling tax regulations, shipping options, and payment gateways across various regions. Many platforms lack the agility to adapt to these intricate differences seamlessly, leading to friction during the checkout process and potentially lost sales.

We have tried many platforms over the years, and the one that stands out in terms of localization is Centra. In summary, Centra wins over its competitors with its combination of multilingualism, storefront flexibility, efficient order management, decouple market strategy, and analytics.

Centra is actually the only platform we’ve tried that has the open architecture we need to create a customized shopping experience that resonates with customers around the world, yet still handles all the complexity of global commerce in the backend.

Find out more

Centra is our go-to e-commerce platform for brands going global.Visit centra.com

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