Going global – reach, engage and convert an international audience
The Internet opened a whole world of global opportunities for the small business owner. For the first time, SME’s were able to compete on a level playing field to reach markets once only accessible to big multi-national corporations. Suddenly a small cottage business could sell its products to customers from all over the globe.
With annual global e-commerce sales now over the $1 trillion mark, growth looks set to continue. Research statistics estimate that by 2016 there will be 1321 million digital buyers worldwide with an average digital spend of $1,439 per annum by 2016.
If you can successfully tap into this lucrative global market, a whole international audience awaits. The key issue however is, now that you’ve reached this new global audience how do you then engage them and convert them into paying customers?
Offering a multilingual online shop can increase international sales
We know that the more welcoming and straightforward your website is, the more chance you have of engaging your customer and converting them to a sale. Well, the same applies to an international customer. The more welcoming you make your website, the more likely it is that they will convert to a purchase. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by enabling your website to speak their language.
Why should you adapt your perfectly functional English language website to include a multi-lingual online store? In an J.P. Morgan report for the Department of Commerce, it is estimated that only 27% of global online shoppers are English-speaking – that leaves a whopping 73% you are not able to communicate with through your website. Offering a multi-language online store will help you:
- Attract more overseas customers
- Grow your global sales with increased conversions from international customers
- Reduce shopping cart abandonment rate from overseas customers
- Encourage more repeat visits from international customers
Offer a multilingual storefront
If your website offers international shipping you are probably already receiving interest from international customers. As an SME you can better cater for an international audience by providing an online shopping experience in their own language. You may have a single English-speaking website or wish to create several multi-language versions of your site. Either scenario will benefit from introducing shopping cart software with multi-language capabilities.
1. Single English language website: The checkout process is often the most complicated element for an international customer. Terminology can be technical and trying to negotiate the payment element can make a customer unfamiliar with the language nervous - often resulting in shopping cart abandonment midway through the purchasing process. Offering customers a choice of languages in which to progress through your online store can make all the difference in whether your engaged customer converts to an actual sale.
2. Separate multi-lingual websites: Alternatively, you wish to build several separate language versions of your website for audiences from different countries. Choose a shopping cart where you can use the same shopping cart account for all your multi-language versions. Having a shopping cart account that can be set to display the matching language of each specific website will eliminate the need for the shopper to make a language selection and for you to operate a different online store account for each language.
ShopIntegrator offers a multi-lingual storefront in 7 languages which compliments its multi-currency capabilities. And impressively, if you totted up the combined total of these seven key languages, you’d have a total audience of 1.7 billion people.
ShopIntegrator’s seven key language options:
- French / Français
- German / Deutsch
- Italian / Italiano
- Portuguese (Brasil) / Português (Brasil)
- Spanish / Español
- Swedish / Svenska
Keep the shopping experience seamless for international customers
Keeping the language consistent across all a customer facing aspects of your online store is important, from basket right through the third-party payment processing. Using the customers preferred language from start to finish provides a welcoming environment and seamless process for international customers. From:
Online store text
Shopping cart checkout
Customer order email receipts
Customer order invoices
Order completed web page
Essentially, the success of converting an interested international audience into actual purchasers lies in removing as many obstacles as possible. And, language has to be one of the biggest – remove it and you are on the way to growing your international customer base.
We’d love to hear your own thoughts and experiences on this subject, so please do leave a comment.