Avoidable mistakes in global ecommerce

So you’ve done your research, you’ve tested your market and your ecommerce platform is all ready to go live in a new market. Of course, you’ve also planned the logistics side, including payments, delivery and stock control.

If you’ve been reading this site, then you’ll have a good understanding of how to drive customers to your site. The chances are, you’ll already have some international customers prior to launching your new language or country versions.

So what could possibly go wrong?

The next steps

The bad news is, the hard work is just beginning! Many first-time exporters go through the process of getting their sites translated, but struggle to launch them quickly enough for the content to still be relevant.  New products, new services, and updates to your UK site can soon make your translated content redundant.

Other businesses end up with a translated version that quickly gets left behind as the core site is updated.  This is a particular problem if you use images with embedded text which are changed regularly. If they aren’t reproduced for every language as part of any refresh, then they’ll strike the wrong note.

I can think of an extreme example where a prominent organisation launched their new digital offering, and rushed to translate their site into 17 languages – only to find their content management system only supported nine of those languages! Furthermore, their international staff found the bulk of their centrally-produced content wasn’t relevant to local markets.

The end result was a long delay, followed by a scaled-down launch of four foreign language websites.  In the meantime, much of the text had to be re-translated to keep it up to date.  The organisation’s vision of a brave new digital world arrived not so much with a bang, as a whimper.

How do keep your global ecommerce sites on the right track?

•    If you have a high turnover of products, then make sure you plan to regularly update your foreign language versions. Ideally, you should do this every month or two. You might also want to schedule a check every six months to make sure that your international sites are mirrors of your core version.

•    Build a relationship with a good web agency, who can manage your data if you don’t have the resources to do it yourself. Good data management is one of the keys to a successful ecommerce strategy.

•    Work with a good translation provider, who can help you manage your international content. As your business grows, you might want to streamline the workflow by creating a direct link from your content management system to the translation supplier. This means exports and imports of data for translation happen automatically, avoiding manual file handling and associated complications.

•    Test the “user journey” across the different sites to make sure that they are all coherent – or better still, get native speakers to test them for you. This is especially important if you’ve only translated selected parts of the site.

Finally you can sit back (at least for a little bit) and enjoy watching all these global customers roll in.

Sectors: Creative & Media, Food & Drink, and Wholesale & Retail
Countries: Americas
Topics: E-commerce, Export Planning, Export Process, Getting Started, Promotion, and Sales & Marketing
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