eCommerce is set to become increasingly important as we embark into what some call The New Normal. At some point, you may find yourself in a situation where sales or growth have stagnated. You may even see a decline in your customer base and ask yourself – what’s next? Your mind may immediately go to increasing marketing spend or reexamining your pricing strategy. However, has it crossed your mind to make your eCommerce store multilingual?
While English may appear to be a universally accessible language, the reality is that it’s far from being that. In fact, only 25% of the 4.5 billion internet users in the world are native English speakers, meaning that essentially 75% of the world’s population want to browse and buy in other languages. Setting up your own multilingual eCommerce store brings with it a plethora of new opportunities previously out of reach. On top of this, cross border eCommerce is on the rise with over 900 million customers expected to purchase products internationally on the web in 2020. So chances are it’s high time you start thinking about going multilingual.
In this article, we’ll go through some key benefits and reasons why you should invest in a multilingual eCommerce site.
Broaden Your Customer Base
As briefly discussed above, the vast majority of internet users want to browse and buy in languages other than English. If we take a look at the stats below, you’ll see the breakdown of languages used by internet users today.
By going multilingual, you open your offerings to new segments of customers in both domestic and international markets. The broadening of your customer base and subsequent increase in sales is sure to make the initial investment worthwhile. In fact, the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) released a study showing that on average every €1 spent on localizing your website yields €25 in return.
International Search Engine Visibility
SEO or search engine optimization, is one of the main driving forces behind the success of your eCommerce website. This is because your ability to rank highly on search engine result pages (SERPs) will often dictate how many web users visit your site. The higher you rank, the more likely you’ll get visitors, and the greater impact this will have on your sales and profits.
Chances are, you’re already well aware of how crucial SEO is for your online business and are working hard to rank as highly as possible on the domestic level in local markets. However, have you considered the importance of ranking highly on international search engine result pages when consumers are searching in different languages?
This is a key consideration to make and one that will help you attract new customer segments from international markets. In this article, SEO guru Neil Patel points out how key content translation was for increasing traffic on his own site.
The key is not only to translate your site’s content, but also to have it indexed on SERPs which means that it’s optimized for all international SEO. This process includes having ALL of the content on your site, including metadata and tags, translated. This also involves having unique URLs with language specific subdomains or subdirectories. In doing this, you’ll be ensuring your website is structured so that search engine bots can easily scan through it, resulting in higher rankings. This may seem like a complicated process. However, luckily there are innovative multilingual solutions like Weglot that are equipped to automatically index your translated pages following Google’s best practices.
Lower Bounce Rates and Higher Conversion Rates
Do you have higher bounce rates than you’d like? When trying to counteract this problem, having your website available in multiple languages is a great strategy. A multilingual site means that foreign customers or non-English speakers who visit your site are less likely to leave immediately upon realizing that a multitude of language options are available.
The propensity of customers leaving a site not available in their own language is supported by research by the CSA which shows that 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.
Therefore, the reduction in bounce rate you’ll experience will translate into higher conversion rates. This is linked to the fact that customers feel more confident in their purchasing decisions when they can fully understand all the steps in the purchasing process. Again, this is supported by CSA research which found that 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
As the commercial environment we operate in today becomes increasingly globalized and competitive, the extent to which a business can personalize their offerings often means the difference between a sale and a fail. Having your website available in multiple languages is at the core of this personalized approach to business and will show your customer base that you care about and are sensitive to their needs.
In providing high quality content in the web visitors’ language you’ll not only augment their appreciation for your brand but also will differentiate yourself from competitors. This customer-centered approach to business is becoming increasingly important and translates to higher sales and profits.
Boost Brand Awareness and Brand Reputation
As you know, boosting awareness of your brand is important both on national and international scales. However, brand awareness doesn’t go far enough and businesses need to not only be building awareness of their brand, but ensuring this is translated into a positive brand reputation.
For businesses with international ambition, a multilingual site would seem like an obvious requirement. However, a surprising percentage of so-called global businesses are lacking in this regard. Having your site available in many languages really emphasizes the global nature of your brand, it implies a degree of sophistication and complexity that your competitors may lack which in turn will boost your brand reputation.
Follow Market Trends and Behaviors
Another very topical reason why you should consider translating your website is to respond to current market conditions and shifts in consumer behavior. As can be seen below, there has been a trend towards the increase in popularity of eCommerce when it comes to consumer purchasing behaviors. By 2023, eCommerce is estimated to account for 22% of total global retail sales, and this year, in 2020, global eCommerce sales were expected to surpass 4.2 trillion USD.
These statistics were generated before the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen a rapid shift in consumer behavior and an increased propensity to buy online. E-Marketer predicts that these changes in behavior will likely last long into the future meaning the e-commerce market will become even more relevant and lucrative than it already is.
The moral of the story is, if you haven’t already fully adapted your business to cross border eCommerce, now is the time to do so. Don’t sit back and watch while your competitors do.
Translate and Grow
The increasingly globalized nature of the world we operate in today means that we’re not only competing on a domestic level, but also on an international level. In the same way that having a multilingual site equips you to increase your sales and customer base, the lack of one will leave you vulnerable to losing out on customers to competitors who offer more tailored experiences with higher levels of personalization.
As business goes global, it will be those who adapt to the circumstances that will succeed long into the future. Of course, setting up a multilingual website might naturally seem like a daunting prospect, but luckily this can easily be done with the right translation solution.
Sign up for Weglot’s 10 day free trial and see for yourself what impact going multilingual can have on your eCommerce store.