Retail and language translation have a symbiotic relationship and the future of shopping in every form (i.e. brick-and-mortar, e-commerce and m-commerce) will be multilingual.
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It may not be as riveting as Darwin’s findings, but the evolution of e-commerce and language translation in the last decade is certainly fascinating. One of the most popular activities on the web is shopping. Anyone with a connection and a device can do shop anytime, anywhere – in their pajamas, if they so desire (as many of us do).
What is interesting is as time progresses, e-commerce and language translation have had to become increasingly intertwined.
Think about it – as your global brand grows, you must adapt your physical and digital experiences to satisfy the needs of eager customers, no matter where they live or what languages they speak. As the digital world expands, so do customer possibilities. But if your shopping experience is the same across all channels, geographies and cultures, you may be missing out on the chance to engage more international audiences. Language translation, localization and smart global content management can remove barriers and enable you to reach eager customers in brand new markets.
E-Commerce then and now (major milestones)
E-commerce became possible in 1991 when the Internet was opened to commercial use. However, in its first usage, the term “e-commerce” referred to the process of executing basic electronic transactions via technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
When public use of the World Wide Web became popular, “e-commerce” evolved to include the broader act of buying and selling consumer goods and services electronically. And just like that, the online shopping phenomenon was born.
- 1994 granted more public access as online security protocols were developed (e.g., HTTP), and the first widely-used web browser, Netscape Navigator, launched.
- Just one year later, in 1995, eBay was founded, and Amazon made its first sale.
- By 1996, over 40 million people had Internet access, and online sales surpassed $1 billion for the year.
- In 1998, PayPal was founded, changing the way people make payments online – that was two decades ago!
- By the year 2000 – just four short years after surpassing the $1 billion mark – revenue from U.S. online shopping surpassed $25 billion.
- eMarketer estimates in 2017, retail e-commerce sales globally reached over $2.3 trillion, which was a 25 percent increase over the previous year.
- UK mobile commerce (m-commerce) projection shows 56 percent of sales will be purchased through a smartphone in 2021.
These projections show the ongoing importance of digital experiences and how the growth of e-commerce and m-commerce opens up customer possibilities like never before.
As the retail, e-commerce and m-commerce industries continue to grow and evolve, one of the most important trends for retailers looking to stay ahead of the curve is personalization – for physical and digital experiences. And what’s more personal than speaking your customer’s language?
Retail (especially e-commerce) and language translation go hand-in-hand
It’s a small world after all – the Internet has connected more people than ever before. Language, once a barrier, is getting easier to navigate in the retail space – both online and in-store. And, language has become critical to consider for your customers’ experiences. In the last decade alone, global online retail sales have increased 17 percent yearly (since 2007) – and it will only continue to grow as more and more of the global population gain internet access. As more people in more corners of the globe shop online, the more important it becomes to personalize information for those audiences. Customers want to search for, learn about and buy products and services in their native languages. Furthermore, brands and messaging should be localized to adhere to cultural norms.
Image source: Jeff Ogden
The nice thing is technology – specifically, translation technology – has made it easy (and even affordable) to remove barriers to reaching global markets and satisfying international consumers’ needs.
When devising your physical and digital retail growth strategy, remember retail and language translation have a symbiotic relationship and the future of shopping in every form will be multilingual.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to attain global success:
- Seamlessly integrate your physical and digital experiences
From in-store to online, it is crucial your brand remains consistent across markets. Cater to cultural differences, and use a professional translation vendor to ensure accurate, appropriate translations – localize your messaging.
- Localize your product descriptions
What’s worse than missing product descriptions? Poorly translated ones. If consumers see obvious errors in product descriptions appearing in their native language, they could start to question the trustworthiness of the product, service or brand. Professional, in-country linguists are vital.
- Customize your marketing campaigns
Ensuring consistent brand messaging across global markets is crucial –your campaigns should be implemented in the local language, keeping cultural differences in mind. Your professional translation vendors can ensure this with transcreation.
- Perform website and mobile-app localization
Digitalization increasingly expands customer possibilities, so we can’t over-emphasize the importance of website localization to reach your multilingual customer base. And with m-commerce on the rise, mobile app localization is just as important as a localized website.
These tips can help you efficiently and intelligently manage global content and gain a competitive advantage in today’s fast-moving, digital economy. Localized customer experiences and buyer journeys remove barriers to new markets, increase customer engagement and satisfaction, strengthen global presence and ultimately increase revenue from e-commerce channels.
Looking for more tips on how to improve your retail landscape?
Attend the CX Exchange Retail event and network with AMPLEXOR experts to talk about how our intelligent global content solutions can create a modern, truly internationalized buyer journey for your customers. Click here for more information or to register!
- Image source: SmartInsights article by Dave Chaffey: Forecast growth in percentage of online retail / Ecommerce sales based on eMarketer figures
- Image source: Jeff Ogden (W163), Own work, based on figures from the Wikipedia: List of countries by number of Internet users article in the English Wikipedia, which is in turn based on figures from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for 2010 (updated to use figures for 2012 on 28 June 2013).
About the author
Claire Eskwith is the Marketing Director for Global Content & Language Solutions at AMPLEXOR. She joined AMPLEXOR in 2017 and is based in Colorado.