In one of our latest articles, we shared our “how to” guide to translate your e-commerce websites and the steps to get it right. But let’s take a step back and talk about two important strategies to deploy your content internationally: Internationalization (i18n) and Localization (l10n). As you prepare to navigate your brand into new international markets, understanding the vital roles of both Internationalization and Localization is paramount. Let’s explore how these key strategies can equip your brand for global success while maintaining local relevance.
The Path to E-commerce Internationalization
The term “i18n” stands for “internationalization.” The “18” represents the number of letters between the initial ‘i’ and the final ‘n’.
Internationalization is the strategic process of designing your product, application, or content to be easily adaptable to various languages, regions, and cultures. Furthermore, It doesn’t require a separate build or engineering effort for each new market entered. Essentially, it lays the groundwork for your offerings, allowing for seamless localization across different languages and cultural norms. It’s a preparatory step, enabling your brand to enter new markets with reduced friction and increased efficiency.
Case Scenario: The Power of Internationalization
Imagine your e-commerce brand that’s made a significant imprint in the local market. You’ve got an important range of products and a brand persona that’s resonating well with your current audience. Now, you’re setting sights on untapped markets across borders, eyeing the diverse customer base that’s eager for products like yours. But here’s the catch: every market is different, with distinct preferences, languages, and buying behaviours.
Here is an example of what the i18n strategy could look like.
At this juncture, you decide to equip your e-commerce platform with an internationalization framework. Essentially a toolset that ensures your website can adapt fluidly to different languages and cultural nuances without a hitch. This isn’t merely about translating content; it’s about tailoring user experiences to resonate with a French customer just as effectively as it does with a Korean or Japanese one.
Step 1: Research and Preparation
You initiate by immersing your teams in intensive research and understanding the nuances of SEO strategies in different regions. Your marketing team starts crafting strategies that consider the unique keywords popular in the Korean market, while the content team gets trained on the rules of Kinsoku Shori for the Japanese market.
Step 2: Technical readiness
Simultaneously, your technical team is busy behind the scenes. They are ensuring that the website can handle scripts from various languages, including right-to-left scripts for Arabic markets. Or even launching all the projects on you’re Content Management System (CMS) or Product Information Manager (PIM). They could also work on finding the perfect technology that connects to your actual CMS or PIM. Then, your product listing pages are now capable of showcasing culturally relevant imagery, while the pricing adjusts automatically to the local currency, factoring in the region-specific pricing strategies.
Step 3: Pilot Launch and Adaptation
With the preparations complete, you decide to test the waters with a pilot launch in select regions. Initial feedback starts trickling in, and you realize that while the Korean market appreciates detailed product descriptions, the French market prefers a more visual representation with less text. Your team quickly adapts, making necessary adjustments to resonate better with each audience group.
Step 4: Full-Scale Launch
Emboldened by the success of the pilot phase, you decide to go full-scale. Your e-commerce platform now offers a seamless shopping experience to a global audience, showcasing products that not only appeal visually but resonate at a cultural level.
As the weeks pass, your brand starts witnessing a surge in global traffic, with appreciative reviews coming in from different corners of the world. Your investment in i18n has not only facilitated a smooth entry into diverse markets but has set the stage for your brand to become a beloved global name.
And this is just the beginning. With the internationalization framework in place, expanding further becomes a streamlined process, promising exciting opportunities and unparalleled growth.
In this example, the best option is highlighted. In a world where this was not the case, the substantial investment made beforehand would become a burden for the project. The complexity of the technical requirements, due to the large number of markets, would be a major obstacle for the various teams involved.
- Future-Ready: With i18n, your brand is equipped to venture into new markets with ease, potentially leading to higher returns on investment. For example, you could prepare your teams for local SEO strategy and give them the key to success in each market before entering them by doing some market analysis.
- Cost-Effective: Despite the upfront investment, this approach saves significant resources in the long run, allowing for economic expansion. When you’re projects and teams are well prepared and know exactly what to do, in the long run, it allows you to avoid unforeseen costs.
- Swift Market Entry: Implementing internationalization strategies streamlines the entry process into new territories, saving valuable time and resources. All the time you have been using to prepare your team to talk right to the French customer, training them to use the right keyword for the Korean market and use the kinsoku-shori rule for the Japanese market, will be time saved for your run projects.
- Initial Investment: While it requires a considerable initial input, the potential for scalable growth justifies the expenditure. It’s a necessary step to prepare for entry into new markets. This investment will not only be monetary but also time-consuming.
- Technical Complexity: The process might be technically demanding because entering new markets will bring its own set of complex hurdles. So, you need to be as prepared as possible, with a team of solution makers and software that take these various complexities into account.
Mastering the Art of E-commerce Localization
Next, we venture into the world of Localization, or l10n. Here, your brand transforms, adapting intricately to the local nuances, making it not just globally recognizable, but locally relatable.
The term “l10n” refers to “localization,” where the number 10 represents the count of letters between the first “l” and the last “n”. This process goes beyond simple text translation to fully adapt a product, service, or content for a specific market or locale. Localization addresses various elements, from currency and date formats to cultural norms and marketing imagery, all to ensure that what you offer aligns seamlessly with local content requirements.
Essentially, internationalization is about translating content so that you speak to each market in their own language; localization is about adapting local content to make it culturally relevant.
Case Scenario: Executing Order Localization
Consider the South Korean e-commerce market, known for its tech-savvy consumers and trend-driven economy. In this environment, our hypothetical brand, “Mirah Boutique,” begins its expansion with a well-planned localization strategy.
Step 1: Initial Market Entry
Recognizing the need to align with local preferences, the brand redesigns its website. The new layout melds modern design elements with traditional Korean aesthetics, striking a balance that appeals to the local customer base.
Step 2: Content Tailoring
The brand moves beyond simple translations to craft product descriptions that resonate with local linguistic nuances. The revised content effectively speaks to the Korean consumer, enriching their shopping experience.
Step 3: Digital Integration & Local Partnerships
The brand expands its strategy to include digital practices favored in South Korea. It integrates popular payment methods and offers customer service in the native language. Additionally, the brand forms partnerships with local influencers to create authentic and community-based buzz.
Step 4: Adapt and Overcome Challenges
Every market expansion faces obstacles, and “Mirah Boutique” is no exception. Whether it’s navigating local regulations or adapting to fast-paced consumer trends, the brand experiences challenges. However, a committed team allows for quick adaptation and problem-solving.
This case scenario outlines the strategic steps and potential rewards for e-commerce brands willing to undertake a comprehensive localization strategy. It offers a pathway to not just global recognition, but local relevance and customer loyalty.
- Cultural Sensitivity: Through localization, your brand acquires a local persona, resonating deeply with the cultural nuances of each market. Therefore, you’ll be able to talk to every customer in every market the way he wants to.
- Enhanced User Experience: By offering a customer experience that aligns with local preferences, your brand strengthens its connection with the audience. In this case, adapting your tone of voice and offering a customized experience on your website is the right way to reach the right customer at the perfect moment.
- Increased Conversions: Therefore a localized approach often results in higher conversion rates, as it appeals directly to the local customer base. Website visitors and customers will be much more likely to buy and return if the site offers them a customised experience in their mother tongue.
- Resource Allocation: Get ready to pull out your card. You’re bound to encounter a few minor mishaps as you enter different markets. You won’t allocate your resources equally to each of them.
- Potential Complexities: While complex, a meticulous approach to localization can ensure a brand portrayal that is both accurate and appealing. Entering the French market could potentially be easier than the Japanese one for your teams. Your projects could be more complex entering the Korean markets because you’ll need more people reviewing your content. Or it could be difficult to manage every little task and change every teams have made.
Overcome Both Internationalization and Localization issues with one solution
We know that maintaining a unified yet locally responsive online presence poses significant challenges for e-commerce brands. Here at Wezen, we understand the critical role of both internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) in developing a digital persona that is globally consistent and locally relevant. Wezen is your reliable partner in Semantic Asset Management (SAM). It is the solution that supports the coordination of all language activities for brands operating online.
Wezen as your Translation Project Manager
Navigating the complexities of varying cultures and technical requirements often complicates the rapid and qualitative content production e-commerce brands require. We address this challenge by fundamentally transforming conventional content management approaches. Our Semantic Asset Management capabilities streamline the process and cut the turnaround time from 48 hours to 4 hours.
Wezen connects to your PIM/CMS and DAM technology so that you can be sure to deliver your content to the right customer in time. You don’t have a technology that we connect to. Don’t worry, you can use our tool codex to send all the content you need in translation.
Moreover, the platform eliminates the frustrating bottlenecks often experienced between project managers, linguists, webmasters, and SEO/SEA experts by giving them the space to work jointly. You can gather all your teams in our platform and obtain control over your projects. This efficiency becomes invaluable when managing multi-language content, ensuring both consistency and local authenticity.
The Distinctive Advantages of Wezen
We position ourselves as an innovative platform, a software solution connecting the digital content ecosystem. Our focus is on simplifying management complexities and accelerating the deployment of international semantic content. The unique aspect of Wezen is that our platform ensures you never pay for content that has already been translated, leading to cost efficiencies in the long term. Basically, when uploading a new product description. You don’t want to pay again for these two-thirds of the content already translated. This is where the Memory and Correlation help you save money, by filling these already known segments.
You’ll also benefit from constant support from our teams of Solution Makers. They’ll ensure that your projects answer to the objectives you set at the beginning. They’ll be here to find the solution and process that fit best your needs.
Partnering with Wezen provides a transparent approach that allows marketing and e-commerce teams to excel in delivering a unique digital experience. Language becomes an asset rather than an obstacle, enabling brands to break down linguistic barriers in their quest for global reach.
By opting for Wezen, you’re not merely adopting a tool; you’re aligning with pioneers in Semantic Asset Management. We fill the missing pieces in your global digital strategy, by providing you the solution to find the right balance between internationalization and localization.
Expanding your brand globally is more than just an ambition; it’s a strategic move with significant growth potential. The key to this expansion is a well-executed balance between comprehensive internationalization and precise localization strategies. These elements together help your brand connect globally while staying locally relevant.
Here at Wezen, we focus on making your global journey efficient and effective. Using our specialized expertise in Semantic Asset Management, we simplify the complex content management process. This allows your brand to establish meaningful relationships with a wide array of audiences, all without losing its core identity.
By partnering with Wezen, you elevate your e-commerce strategies and direct your brand towards a future that harmonizes global reach with local resonance. Let’s work together to ensure your brand gains not just international visibility, but also local admiration.