Taking your online business into new international markets presents a huge opportunity. Global e-commerce sales have already passed the trillion dollar mark and growth in overseas markets like Asia-Pacific and South America have already surpassed growth in North America.
But expanding your online borders comes with a fair number of challenges. Translating your site into the local language is no easy feat – and it’s just one part of the puzzle. There are many other factors you need to consider to develop an international e-commerce site that appropriately serves the local market.
When expanding into new global areas, retailers mostly focus on their e-commerce platform and its ability to accommodate visitors from those regions – whether information is offered in the right language and prices reflect the local currency, for example.
But it’s important that retailers don’t ignore site search, which is another critical element for success in a new region. The best search helps visitors find what they want in their language, plus accounts for cultural differences that impact the way shoppers in different countries navigate a site. Shoppers looking for household items on retail sites in Japan and Brazil will likely have different preferences than someone searching for the same items on retail sites in the U.S.
That variation in consumer preferences vary by region is also an important aspect to address with search and navigation. Your international visitors will likely jump to another site if they don’t see what they’re most interested in on yours.
Some of SLI’s international clients like Boden (in the UK) and Surfstitch (out of Australia) look to us to help them not only provide adequate language translation support, but also to deliver the items that are relevant to their visitors in different countries.
We recently announced complete support for seven additional languages, which brings SLI’s language support to cover 14 languages – Arabic, Danish, Dutch, English, French, Indonesian, Italian, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish English. With this extensive language support, plus SLI’s flagship Learning Search technology, it’s fairly simple for retailers to get the site search component of their international site working successfully.
Having SLI Systems part of an e-commerce internationalization project can take a huge burden off of a company’s marketing and IT teams. SLI takes care of making sure the relevancy of search results always reflects the most popular items in different regions of the world, which helps with inventory and fulfillment strategies as well.
If you’re thinking about going global and want to meet local language and cultural requirements, be sure you don’t overlook your search and navigation to ensure you maximize your ROI and establish local brand loyalty.