Global online marketplaces are great way to reach international buyers, but savvy sellers will ensure their own ecommerce sites also accommodate the language and other needs of those customers, Craig Witt of MotionPoint writes.

Craig Witt

Ecommerce aggregators and marketplace platforms—including websites such as India’s Flipkart, Latin America’s Mercado Libre and China’s Tmall and Alibaba—empower brands to serve global markets by providing a centralized “virtual mall” experience for online customers.

Since so much of the on-site customer experience is localized to accommodate locally-preferred payment options and languages, these popular sites are perfect for engaging international customers.

However, brands should understand that their own company websites and omnichannel content still play a vital role in the digital customer experience. The savviest companies extend their localized customer journey beyond those virtual marketplaces and onto their own websites. Here’s why.

Ensuring a Seamless Buyer’s Journey

advertisement

When products are complex or expensive—when a purchase may require more consideration than normal, for instance—it’s common for buyers to conduct research beyond a marketplace or aggregator site.

This legwork often sends them to a brand’s official website. Here’s the problem: If the branded site and its product info isn’t localized in the customer’s language, the buyer’s journey is immediately derailed. The once-seamless shopping experience—which had continuously provided information in the language the customer understood—is now gone.

When this happens, global customers feel shortchanged, and that their needs are being neglected. This frustration often drives customers to other brands that offer a fully localized CX.

Getting Started

Companies often wonder where to start with website localization. Here are some key first steps:

advertisement
  • Measure your website’s inbound traffic and see how much is hailing from virtual marketplaces and international markets; these traffic sources can help determine which languages to translate your website into
  • If budget constraints limit the scope of your website translation project, start by localizing the mission-critical sections of your site
  • Translate your site’s navigation, conversion funnels and contact forms
  • Product manuals and other resources should also be localized to support customers post-conversion

Are you localizing aggregator sites, too?

Some ecommerce aggregators or marketplaces enable you to provide your own localized product descriptions and other content. Take advantage of this.

Use a world-class translation partner that specializes in crafting accurate, relevant and on-brand localizations. If the marketplace permits you to include multimedia, make sure to localize all text within any images. Provide videos that are either dubbed or subtitled, too.

You should also consider using content-detection and translation memory solutions. Here’s why:

  • These solutions can detect and localize all content on your website, including multimedia and JavaScript applications
  • All translated phrases are stored in a translation memory database which can be automatically reused on your site
  • These translations can be repurposed for omnichannel use, including aggregator/marketplace product feeds

Other marketplaces will localize your product information for you—and nearly always use free automated translation software to do it. But beware: The quality of these translations can be substandard or confusing for customers. Their translation software often struggles to understand creative word choice and technical terminology.

advertisement

In these instances, operating a localized corporate website—where you can fully control the customer experience and translation quality—becomes even more vital.

Always anticipate that customers may either be underwhelmed by a marketplace’s machine translations, or will crave more translated content about your product. In either scenario, they’re likely to visit your company’s website for more information.

Be ready for them with great localized content.

Finding the Right Balance

The best way to localize your CX for customers coming from virtual marketplaces is to understand the market and consider finding a translation partner that specializes in localizing website and digital omnichannel content.

advertisement

If your brand serves international customers via ecommerce aggregators and marketplaces, remember that localizing your full customer experience—including your corporate website—plays an integral part in educating customers, and your global growth.

Craig Witt is chief revenue officer of MotionPoint, a provider of technology and services designed to help business sell online to international markets. Follow him and MotionPoint on Twitter @motionpoint.

Favorite