Localization refers to the process of adapting a product, page, app or service to a specific market. A complete strategy must address customer behaviors, buying habits, and recognizable cultural differences in each area it operates. Meeting local needs and expectations is critical since purchasing patterns can vary greatly by region.

Gaining market share in a local economy is difficult enough, yet entering a foreign market presents additional hoops to jump through in order to achieve success.

The barriers to entry of a foreign market are tall, yet the potential for growth is just as high. With high risk comes high reward.

The customer experience is one of the most integral pillars of any high earning business. Understanding the local customer is the first step in providing a service that suits them well. If a merchant can offer a solution that transcends cultural boundaries, the business will place itself in a better position to serve those customers and increase their client base.

 

Importance

Operating in a single country limits a business’ ability to reach international markets. Localization allows for an expansion of the customer base which in turn increases the opportunity for sales growth. Catering to a larger audience gives a business better access to gaining traction and market share.  International shipping is an option but is quite often unrealistically expensive for most growing businesses and customers alike.

 

Merchants have the ability to display multiple currencies on their domestic store, but customers from other countries cannot check out in their local currency. Every customer must make payments with the store’s default currency. Paying in a different currency is messy, especially for business purchases, and often more expensive than your local currency. Offering the local currency can increase your sales as fewer customers are scared away from the extra steps. Simplifying the buying process reduces the rate of abandoned carts, improves customer satisfaction, and leads to repeat purchases creating lifelong customers.

Things to Consider

Local Aid

In any corner of the world, the locals know the area’s geography, population, and cultural climate best. Foreign insight may be achieved through research but will be limited without complete immersion into the area.

With this being said, it is crucial for a business to hire locals and onboard them into the organization prior to launching the localization strategy. Locals are fluent in the language and have local connections in business or government to provide support during the initiatives.

Locals have a better understanding of the marketing techniques and strategies that work in the respective land. The locals you have hired can communicate more freely as they are fluent in the local tongue. This allows for easier adoption of the product or service you have introduced to the area.

Brand Awareness

Entering a foreign market can be viewed as a fresh start. Locals have zero to little brand recognition or pre-conceptions of your company and its offerings.

The key is to clearly define what your brand is all about. The next step is in communicating the brand to the locals in order to create a strong identity that defines your product or service from the crowd.

Each market is different, and it is essential to figure out how to sell your brand in the best way possible.

Competitive Edge

Many established businesses look toward emerging economies or countries as destinations to expand and set up shop. Even though these emerging foreign economies are smaller than the US,  foreign competition still exists.

The next component of a great localization strategy is differentiating yourself from local businesses that already have market share. A business or company must recognize and understand what its competitive advantage is. The advantage itself is not as important as the ability to recognize it and use the edge to reach your goals.

The competitive advantage for each company will vary whether it be a superior product, faster shipping, longer shelf life, or customizable color offerings, etc. Internal reflection and analysis are needed for the company to best understand its situation moving forward.

 

Shopify

 

 

Shopify has released a beta that allows for Shopify stores to be translated into 6 language options: French, German, Japanese, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish.

To use Shopify in one of the six available languages, activate the beta and select your preferred language. If you want to toggle back to English, you can easily change the language settings in your account.

More users worldwide can now browse thousands of websites in their local language. This increases visibility for all Shopify brands and may lead to more conversions.

 

 

 

Join the Beta here

 

Shopify announced in the fall that stores using Shopify Payments will be able to offer local payment options to their customers, and will receive exclusive access to future services.

With “Local Payment Methods” enabled, buyers will see the payment options they trust based on local currency and regional popularity.

Offering familiar payment options improve the customer experience and facilitate the expansion into foreign markets.

 

A well-thought-out localization strategy will pay dividends to your business as you expand your customer base, improve the consumer experience, and maximize conversions. The world is becoming more connected each day. Localization bridges the gap further by connecting people, businesses, and ideas in places never before touched. Opportunities to sell to customers across borders creates a better experience for both merchants and consumers in the long run.

 

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