The increasing power of e-commerce has dramatically changed people’s shopping habits. Accenture’s annual study ‘How is COVID-19 changing the retail consumer?’ has highlighted a dramatic rise in the popularity of e-commerce and omnichannel services, and has promised huge growth (169%) in e-commerce purchases by new or low-frequency users.
No matter how long you have been active in e-commerce, expanding your online platform in other countries can give a competitive advantage and build a global base of loyal customers. To achieve this goal, each and every online business should adapt and create a multilingual e-commerce platform.
What is e-commerce localisation?
Multilingual e-commerce means that all content of an online store is localised for the target market: not only product names, descriptions, instructions, but also URLs, buttons, confirmation emails, ads, and even multilingual and SEO-related technical aspects. For an e-commerce business, this promises new market opportunities, allows to reach a larger audience, and increases the chance of online purchases by users who are looking for a product or service in their native language. According to a study of the European Commission 9 Europeans in 10 prefer this approach.
Loyal customers increase online sales
A localised e-commerce platform also builds trust and loyalty and can contribute to higher sales, as consumers prefer product information in their native language. According to the CSA Research, if there is a choice between two similar products, 76% of customers choose the one that offers information in the language they understand. In particular, when the e-commerce businesses operates in a highly competitive area – in this case, a multilingual website can play the decisive role.
Content localisation never ends
Content localisation for an e-commerce platform sounds simple – you just need to compile texts and send them to a translation agency or an in-house translator. However, this is misleading, as online offers, products, and listings tend to frequently change, and almost every day you need to post new information on the website. Reliance just on human translation can be a nightmare – it is time-consuming and requires a lot of in-house effort or huge investment in outsourced translation services. With every new product or update, these costs accumulate and can become too overbearing for a business.
Machine translation for a multilingual e-commerce website
Machine translation offers a fast, easy, and cost-efficient solution to e-commerce businesses that are willing to overcome the language barrier. Though machine translation systems may sound complicated, the localisation challenge can be easily overcome by automatic website translation tools such as Tilde Website Translator. It can offer huge benefits to online stores – all content of an e-commerce platform can be automatically translated in the target language and indexed in search engines without any coding, manual translation, or duplication. This tool automatically translates the content, while the CMS editor can make changes or customize the language use, if needed.
Why not Google?
Though language technologies and machine translation have rapidly evolved and are widely available, general machine translation systems like Google or DeepL often do not satisfy the needs of businesses. Every industry uses specific language and terminology that needs to be taken into account, for example, translations of legal documents differ from localization of hand-made crafts. This challenge can be tackled by customized machine translation systems. These technologies are adapted to a specific industry, and provide for a more advanced solution for businesses to easily manage their e-commerce platforms in other languages without any misunderstandings or funny translations.
Most consumers love online shopping. Nowadays, no one asks if the online business should make its e-commerce platform a multilingual one. It is just a question of how fast it can be done to keep your profits growing.