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    UX localization: Expanding your eCommerce experience to new cultures

    Ecommerce websites and applications that don’t provide localized content can lose up to 13% of their customers.

    Ecommerce websites and applications that don’t provide localized content can lose up to 13% of their customers . And 72% of shoppers are more likely to purchase products from online stores presented in their native language.
    To successfully expand your brand’s eCommerce experience internationally, you’ll need a solid UX localization strategy, supported by cutting-edge design tools, automated workflows, and data analytics.
    Many mistake eCommerce localization as simply translating the language of a website, based on the location or preferences of the user. However, while this may be one element of localization, the ultimate goal is to facilitate dynamic, optimized customer experiences for users across different territories and cultures.
    In addition to translating text, UX designers must also localize branding elements, visual images, keyboard shortcuts, checkout flows, product recommendations, promotions, and features, functionality, and content involved in the customer journey. By doing this, your business will experience higher customer engagement and sales, lower bounce rates, and an overall stronger, more inclusive digital presence.
    Let’s explore some of the most important insights around planning and executing a UX localization strategy:

    Localization vs internationalization: What’s the difference?

    Localization and internationalization are often viewed as the same, but there’s a key difference between them. Localization involves adapting products, websites, applications, and documents to meet the requirements of a new target market, or locale.
    Internationalization—sometimes referred to as globalization—is the process of strategically preparing products, websites, applications, and documents for seamless localization later down the road. So when the time comes to expand into foreign markets, your business doesn’t have to overhaul its entire system or re-engineer its source code when adapting new languages, designs, user preferences, and so on.
    In other words, internationalization is an approach to business growth that encapsulates localization. Without a solid internationalization strategy, your localization strategy will require more time, effort, and resources—which means lower scalability, higher costs, and other obstacles that stifle expansion. So if your business is planning on extending its eCommerce experience to new territories and cultures, you should start focusing on internationalization as soon as possible to avoid future roadblocks.

    UX localization tips and considerations

    To successfully connect with new target markets via eCommerce, focus on localizing these three areas: Website translation, sales and marketing, and checkout. Let’s take a closer look at each:

    Translating your eCommerce site

    This is the first step of UX localization. After all, if a user can’t read the content on your site, there’s little to no chance of converting them into a paying customer. To make sure your site is accessible in different languages, you will need to:
    Write inclusive copy: Avoid idioms and slang in product descriptions and other eCommerce content, as these can confuse non-native speakers.
    Adapt content to local measurement, date, and time standards: If a customer is viewing a product page from the UK, the product’s weight, length, and volume measurements should conform to the metrics system. This rule should apply to all of your brand’s locales.
    Avoid fixed text, containers, and positions: When your eCommerce site goes through localization, the amount of space that text takes up will inevitably grow or shrink, depending on the language. Try avoiding templated UI designs with fixed dimensions for containers and positions. Otherwise, the design may look messy and unprofessional for certain audiences.
    Optimize chatbots and VUIs: If your site uses third-party chatbots or VUIs for customer service, make sure they’re programmed to understand and respond to multiple languages.

    Localizing sales and marketing efforts

    Different cultures will have different responses to your brand’s sales and marketing content. It’s important to be aware of each target audience’s perspective, so you can send the clearest, most effective message possible. To do this:
    Be careful with visual imagery: Certain symbols and colors differ in meaning across cultures. For example, in Asian cultures, the color green represents new life—while in South American cultures, it represents death. Being aware of these subtle, yet important differences will help your marketing team make smarter decisions when deploying localized content, whether it be a video, infographic, or homepage design.
    Analyze local market trends and customer expectations: Some products will sell better than others in certain locales, and your eCommerce sales and marketing strategy should take advantage of that. Localized sites should have their own geo-targeted user navigation, upsell opportunities, product recommendations, and so on. Also, don’t forget to localize seasonal discounts and promotions so that they align with each country’s holidays and traditions.
    Update your SEO strategy: By localizing your site’s content and technical structure, you can increase organic traffic by 47%, and conversion rates by 20%, according to a recent study. Your marketing team should deploy content—from blogs, to landing pages, to videos and podcasts—that’s most relevant to the audience of each locale. And by applying hreflang tags to your URLs, search engines like Google will know which language the page is in, so they can direct the right users to it.

    Localizing the checkout experience

    To minimize shopping cart abandonment, your eCommerce store’s checkout experience should:
    Accept multiple currencies: With the right eCommerce platform and payment gateway, you can automate exchange rate calculations and accept all the currencies that your customers use.
    Support multiple payment methods: Like currency, payment preferences vary from country to country. In addition to credit and debit cards, make sure your site’s checkout supports alternative payment methods like digital wallets, electronic bank transfers, cash on delivery, and perhaps even cryptocurrency.
    Comply with local laws and regulations: Once the customer clicks “Purchase,” your order fulfillment strategy must comply with their region’s rules around shipping, taxes, and so on. These varying requirements should be built into your localization strategy, then regularly updated and maintained to ensure long-term compliance.

    Get started with UX localization

    To achieve successful UX localization, your business needs a modern eCommerce infrastructure made up of cutting-edge tools and workflows.
    When seeking to go international, many brands find that their legacy system doesn’t provide the freedom and flexibility necessary to deliver fully localized, optimized content. As a result, they either can’t sell online in certain countries, or they have to settle for cookie-cutter experiences that don’t satisfy all of their customers’ wants and needs. This is why it’s so important to team up with UX design experts who understand eCommerce technology, localization, and of course, your business.
    Here at Codal, we design, develop, test, launch, and maintain eCommerce solutions for brands across all industries. And that includes localized websites and applications. With a data-driven, ROI-focused approach, our team will help build a customer experience that drives engagement, conversions, and sales for your business. On the back end, this experience will be supported by a blend of custom tools and third-party integrations that promote automated processes, low overhead costs, and high business scalability.
    We recently completed a top-to-bottom eCommerce transformation for one of our clients in the outdoor gear space, which involved advanced UX localization for multiple sites. You can learn all about that project here .
    If you’re interested in learning more about UX localization, and how Codal can help optimize your brand’s eCommerce experience, get in touch with a member of our team today!

    Written by Gibson Toombs