During the holiday season many retailers, both at the store-level and online, find that communicating with customers in their native language to be a challenge. Selecting which languages communicate in for both employees and website retailers, should reflect your product’s market opportunities and long-term goals. Using backend technologies like geolocation or tracking of billing addresses help identify the origin of your consumer and determine their language preferences.
For merchants seeking to penetrate new international online markets, there are 13 languages that can unlock nearly 90% of online business opportunities. They include English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Arabic and Swedish.
Support of these languages does not only removes barriers which often prevent customers from completing their purchases but it also reinforces a positive customer experience that builds brand loyalty. This is especially true of retailers and businesses who hire multilinguals.
Increasing Market Share Through Multilinguals
According to a recent study by Common Sense Advisory, adding multiple key languages for customers to communicate in on your website and in your workforce, is a proven method to increase a company’s competitive advantage. The market research firm surveyed over 3,000 international online consumers from 10 non-anglophone countries with strong ecommerce markets. The discovered that 56% of participants spend more time on sites that catered to their native language rather than English -only, or they boycott English-language URLs altogether. Additionally, 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites.
Fifty-six percent of consumers say the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. This has been confirmed by ecommerce companies who have made the localization leap and sought to include multiple languages in their ecommerce platform. ASOS reported a 19% rise in interim profits and a 33% jump in sales by expanding their localization initiatives to include Russia and China and creating a seamless streamlined checkout in each country’s native language. Their customer base also grew significantly, increasing by 1.7 million over the course of a year.
For online merchants who are not ready to take on ecommerce markets on that scale overseas, localization opportunities closer to home have shown similar success. Best Buy recently localized their online strategy to service the Hispanic population in the U.S. After including Spanish as a language option for their American online shoppers, the company reported seeing Hispanic users spend twice as much as their English-speaking counterparts.
Speak Your Customer’s Language
In order for online retailers to stay relevant in the hyper-competitive ecommerce market, making your website a place where users feel comfortable will be increasingly important. Online shoppers prefer convenient information for their purchasing decisions and have exhibited an increasing willingness to opt for businesses that cater to their preferences, especially when it comes to language. If you haven’t already, give your customers the confidence they need to finalize their purchasing decision by talking to them in their native language.
Lisa March is a bilingual Marketing and Sales Executive. She works closely with LTI on strategic partnerships, business development and marketing. Her efforts help LTI scale the use and implementation of language assessments in schools, institutions, corporations and government agencies.