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Smart Globalization: Localization of the Shopping Experience

Ed Buturla • November 6, 2018

The following is an excerpt taken from Smart Globalization: 5 Considerations for European eCommerce Expansion. To download the Solution Guide in its entirety, click here. 

Localization can mean a lot of different things, but most often, it is in the context of experience language and translations. However, thinking that localization is simply translating English text to a new language is a recipe for disaster. Localization is about creating an authentic and engaging experience that resonates with local customers and clearly articulates your brand in terms and images that the new market can understand.



Translations are a key component of any localization strategy. There is an abundance of translation resources out there, varying in effectiveness and cost. While it may be tempting to minimize costs, translations are extremely important: it’s how your business communicates with new foreign customers. Artificial, vague content opens the door for misinterpretation, driving European consumers to other competitors that provide a better shopping experience. Light, humorous and fun in the US can easily be misconstrued as rude and offensive in another language and culture. Brands looking to expand into Europe cannot afford these types of issues.

To avoid this, you should work with a single, reliable translation service provider and maintain a data bank of all previously translated content. This data bank acts like a brand dictionary containing information about both definition and tone.

Throughout the expansion process, this dictionary needs to be optimized with the messaging and translations that work best in your new market. This ensures your brand stays relevant in the eyes of these new customers and there is a clear record of what works and what does not for future strategies, campaigns, and optimizations.

Operationally, it is important to designate a point person in marketing, such as a content manager or copywriter, to work closely with the translation service provider to ensure this dictionary stays aligned to your company’s brand. Going this route is likely to be more expensive compared to using a freelancer, but aligning internal departments with a professional services provider ensures localized content is on brand and engaging to local customers.


Bringing It All Together

Successful content localization isn’t just about addressing simple considerations. While they are important, every decision needs to be viewed through the lens of your long-term goals and enabled by your existing technology ecosystem.

Oftentimes, it is extremely valuable to partner with a global commerce solutions provider to ensure that expansion into European markets is not just a smart strategy, but a viable one as well. Having a partner that can provide objective feedback rooted in industry expertise will enable you to expand quickly, intelligently, and profitably.

Europe is a lucrative market for North American merchants. Ensuring your strategy accounts for these content and personalization considerations is a smart step towards successfully penetrating new markets abroad.

Ed Buturla

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Ed Buturla

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