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Global eCommerce Barriers – Creative Content at a Local Level

Steve Susina • December 17, 2014

Jeff LeskoJeff Lesko, creative director with LYONSCG was recently quoted in Apparel Magazine’s December issue in an article on Twelve Barriers to 2015 Retail Global Expansion, and Hacks for Breaking Them.  Global eCommerce retail sales have been growing at a 17% clip annually since 2007, with emerging markets leading the pace, offering high growth rates and limited competition.

The Apparel article highlights ways online merchants and global eCommerce professionals can take advantage of the globalization trend.  Ideas presented include solving international legal and regulatory issues, shipping, email marketing, payment and checkout, and of course, web design.

Jeff was asked to comment on creative design that supports creative content at a local level:

Merchants developing regional e-commerce sites start with the understanding that currency will be different, language will be different, and inventory and order management might even have to be different. But there’s an assumption that the design can easily be copied from one market to another. This can create issues.

“Think about the basic meaning of color in different parts of the world,” says Jeff Lesko, creative director with Lyons Consulting Group, an e-commerce digital agency based in Chicago. “In western countries, the color red indicates either high energy or love, while in eastern cultures, red is associated with prosperity, and in South Africa, mourning. A design that incorporates a lot of red and works well in Peoria may not be quite as successful in Pretoria.”

A more subtle design challenge involves fitting design elements around the verbal translations. Once you have a product name or product description translated, you may find that the elements of the design are no longer proportional with words that take up significantly more (or less) space. The implementation process of global design needs to be prepared to accommodate such adjustments.

Solution: According to Lesko, “Ultimately, the design hack to overcome the design barrier is to build in a review step for each individual country’s site as a standalone project — even if all basic design elements are carried over from country to country.”

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Read the whole article to learn the 11 other barriers to global expansion along with ideas on breaking them down.


Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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