Website localisation: 3 things to evaluate in your own digital presence
Website localisation is a key element of any global marketing strategy. From translation into multiple languages to blog posts about local events and sales, a website that caters to local audiences around the world is a great way to market locally even as a large global business.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best ways to localise your website - tips you can follow to ensure your website is usable and relevant for customers around the world.
Speak The Local Language
Translating your website into the various languages that your customers speak is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for website localisation.
A report from Harvard Business Review in 2012 found that 72% of customers are more likely to buy from websites in their native language, and that 42% of us will never buy products or services in other languages than our own. These stats provide clear evidence that offering your website in multiple languages can boost sales and expand your customer base.
But beyond translating landing pages into local languages, many businesses also offer localised customer services. Being able to communicate with your business using their local language makes it much more likely that customers will engage with your business, and provides reassurance that you’ll be able to help with any queries that they have.
While customer service like this often comes in the form of social media and email, it can be useful to offer area-specific contact details too. Local phone lines manned by people speaking your customers’ language provide another way to get in touch with your business, while local postal addresses can reassure customers that your business has a genuine presence in their area.
Adapting To Local Customs
When marketing to customers around the world, it’s important to take local customs into consideration. Local holidays should be considered, religious festivals noted and respected, and local practices followed when it comes to things like store opening hours and store decoration.
It’s important to think about symbolism and imagery too, both online and in regular shops. In some cultures, particular colours and numbers have associations - the colour red signifies good luck in China but can denote danger or a warning in other cultures, for example. Some cultures may have more stringent rules on clothing, modesty, and vulgar language too, which should be taken into account in your advertising.
A simple way to guarantee that your business follows local customs is to enlist the help of locals. Hiring staff from each local area you do business in, and making use of their local knowledge and experience, is a great way to make sure you keep in line with local customs and traditions.
Localised Product Lines
Finally, it’s important to consider customer location when identifying products to sell. Clothes stores, for example, will need to offer different items in different locations to account for climate and season. Restaurant chains may need to take local tastes and traditions into account too, while practically every business from bookstores to banks will need to account for local buying habits and regulations.
On a very local level, individual stores can even run location-specific deals. Sales to celebrate local holidays and events are possible, as an example, and give the business a closer connection to the local area.
As mentioned in this previous post it’s also now possible to display local stock levels both on your own website and through Google searches. Not only does this help local customers to get valuable information about the store but has also been shown to increase footfall and sales.