Convert Around the World with 6 Simple Localization Tips

1 minute

Digital commerce is becoming increasingly global. Nearly half (44 percent) of digital commerce sales on the Avangate platform are coming from outside of the United States. But, selling globally means acting locally.  And as companies quickly discover, a one-size-fits-all-approach won’t cut it once you cross the border.

Local preferences will always prevail, wherever you plan on doing business.

And the most successful global commerce programs are the ones that provide the most local buying experience. To gain the trust of a local audience, you need to take on their culture, customs and preferences and apply them to every aspect of your program, from the language and idioms you use to describe your products to the payments you accept on down to the colors you use in your cart.

If there’s one rule for global digital commerce, it’s that “localization pays.”

To help localize your digital commerce program and convert more international traffic, Avangate is sharing some best practices for cultural conversion. We cover these tips in more detail in our webinar but here’s a quick overview.

#1. Don’t just translate – localize.

Optimizing for international web traffic involves more than using Google Translate. Instead of translating text word for word, you need to localize all aspects of your content – from the language itself to local idioms, context and references that vary between cultures.

#2. Use the right color palette.

Colors can have different associations in different cultures. Red is a lucky color in China, and is linked with beauty in Russia. Red pricing is often associated with discounts in the US and UK, but it’s a common color for any price in France. Being aware of these colorful associations will help you test the right shades to find what works best for each audience.

#3. Use white space appropriately.

Negative space is surprisingly influential in the user experience and can have different effects in different cultures. Users in certain regions may be more open to pages with a lot of content, while others may respond better to minimalist design. Using the same template for every country does not work, as some languages read from right to left or top to bottom.



#4. Consider context and tone.

Perhaps the trickiest thing to get right is context. The image above shows someone from a younger generation offering a handshake, while an older man performs a traditional bow as a greeting – a mismatch in formality. The same thing can happen on your website, especially with B2B markets where cultures have different expectations of their vendors. It’s important to test different variations in phrasing, especially on CTAs, to optimize results.

#5. Local payment methods matter.

In 2015, it might seem like we have a truly global economy, but almost every country has a preferred online payment method that is unique to their location.  While credit cards are the default choice in the US, other methods, such as direct debit, are more popular elsewhere.  We’ve seen, for example, that offering a local payment method, such as Boleto Bancario in Brazil, can increase conversion rates by 54%.

#6. Be mindful of your customer’s technology.

It’s easy to assume that everyone has access to a powerful computer and a fast Internet connection. But technology infrastructure varies greatly around the world.  In many countries, people are stuck with slow connections or older browsers. Use your site and traffic analytics to determine your customers’ technology. And design your site to be flexible and backwards compatible to work for the lowest common denominator.

Global Is Growing

Not only is global revenue already significant, it’s increasing quickly. On the Avangate platform, international sales are growing 37 percent faster than sales in the U.S.  So how do you increase your global revenue? You optimize your commerce program for each global market.

For more tips and practical examples, be sure to check out our webinar recording on Cultural Conversion.

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