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Increase your revenue with translation for e-commerce

By Josian Phillips, 
Online buying is booming. And booming. So much so that by 2040, according to Nasdaq, nearly all (95%) purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce. So how can translation services help your business benefit from this increase in onlinespending? For starters, online shoppers are more likely to purchase from websites in their own language, so make sure your e-commerce strategy reflects that. According to the Flash Eurobarometer survey on user language preferences online, 44% of European Internet users feel they are missing interesting information because web pages are not in a language they understand. Which probably helps explain why fewer than one in five (18%) people would buy products online in a foreign language. And 42% never buy from a website that doesn’t have a language version they can understand.

The business opportunities behind language translation for e-commerce

Every day, one million more users log onto the Internet for the very first time. And English is no longer the de facto language of the Internet. For example, Wikipedia supports 222 active languages. To put it in perspective, if you want to reach 90% of Internet users, your website would need to support 23 languages. To connect with 95% of users, you’d need to translate half as many languages again – a total of 36 languages.
The different language editions on Wikipedia sorted by article count

Which languages should you translate?

Businesses of all sizes often find it a challenge to know which languages to translate to make sure they engage with their target markets. Each business is different, so we advise you to work with a translation services agency such as our teams here at Brightlines. We have access to all the relevant research at our fingertips and have years of experience under our far-flung belts. For example, it may help you to be aware of statistics such as these:
  • China is the fastest growing e-commerce market
  • The US is the largest market, with an online spend of GBP 102.6 billion
  • The US and Western Europe together make up 60% of online purchases
  • Japan commands 10% of global buying power
In terms of global e-commerce opportunity, there are 13 key languages that you should consider. They are:
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
If you aren’t sure which are the right languages for your markets, products and services, we can help. You never know – we may discover, for example, that some of the emerging online languages – such as Farsi or Hebrew – could open your business to wider revenue streams.

What you need to do

  • Evaluate
Analysis and planning is key to any successful translation project. Avoid any surprises by making a full assessment of how translated content will affect every part of your business, including marketing, sales and finance. This should cover all written, visual and sound files. Be sure to develop a future-proof plan so you can keep your content fresh. In addition to content, you’ll also need to consider other factors such as your website design. Did you know that according to Adobe 38% of Internet users leave a website if the layout or design is unattractive? You’ll also need to consider systems integration and multilingual SEO, for example.
  • Localise
Localisation isn’t just about you selling stuff. Your localisation strategy needs to cover areas such as shipping resources, local currency and payment facilities, your customer experience strategy and support. For example, to avoid alienating customers, you may want to think about a local number with a local language speaker on the end of the phone. Apply your localisation strategy to product sites, descriptions, keywords and across your specific categories. You might find this blog useful: The art of localisation
  • Legalise
Make sure your various country web sites or pages reflect local business legislation. In Europe, for example, your website will need to be compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This may require you to – for example – update and translate your terms and conditions and privacy notices. If you’d like bespoke translation advice for your specific business requirements, please get in touch – we’d love to talk!

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