The internet has revolutionised the nature of global trade. By taking full advantage of the opportunities that now abound in cyberspace, companies can dramatically increase their profits and boost their long-term prospects.

If you wish to enjoy success online in this way, it’s vital that you ensure your websites appeal to consumers within your target countries and regions. This is a prerequisite if you are to maximise your international sales.

A global boom

Research is continually drawing attention to the rising significance of global ecommerce. For example, a report published by Nielsen in August this year showed that online purchase intentions around the world have doubled since 2011 for many goods.

The organisation polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries and found that nearly half intended to make an online purchase in the next six months in so-called ‘high-prominence’ categories such as clothing, air travel and hotel accommodation.
Responding to the findings, president of strategic initiatives at Nielsen John Burbank said: “The lightning-fast pace of change in the digital landscape has ushered in a consumer mind-set that is both adventurous and exploratory when it comes to online shopping.” He added: “Consumers everywhere want a good product at a good price, and the seemingly limitless options available in a virtual environment provide new opportunities for both merchants and consumers. The market for fast-moving consumer goods is no exception.”

Meanwhile, speaking at the recent Multichannel Merchant Growing Global conference, Kris Green of Borderfree suggested that global ecommerce is no longer the preserve of visionary retailers. Instead, he claimed, it has become a mainstream objective for a wide range of firms. Commenting on this issue, the expert stated that many companies “feel the need to diversify across global economies while monetising international traffic”.

He added that he believes the term ‘global’ will eventually be jettisoned by retailers and firms will simply refer to ‘ecommerce’ instead, “unbound by geographical distinction”.

Creating a tailored experience

English remains the international language of business, but it may only be by translating and localising your website that you’re able to attract interest among consumers located overseas. Research conducted by Common Sense Advisory (CSA) has drawn attention to the importance of creating a tailored experience for web users.
In a report released in February this year entitled ‘Can’t Read, Won’t Buy’, the market research firm suggested that while English language content continues to dominate the internet, localising web websites is crucial. It noted that billions of people do not read English at all, or don’t read it well enough to make buying decisions. It polled over 3,000 consumers in 10 countries and found a “substantial preference” for their mother tongue. Around three-quarters of respondents expressed a preference for buying goods or services based on information provided in the local language. CSA concluded that the more local language content consumers experienced, the greater the likelihood that they would make a purchase.

This means that, by adapting your website content to appeal to your target audiences abroad, you stand to benefit from higher levels of sales.