However, when you consider that more than half of all searches are conducted in another language and that 75% of all internet users will only opt to buy in their own language, that online opportunity can take work to crack.
This is why website localisation – translating your website to mirror the local language and culture – is becoming a critical element of business success.
Website localisation can be the first step towards further international expansion by your business. After first targeting one market with your website, new research from the Common Sense Advisory shows that once you’ve added one language to your website, adding additional languages becomes quicker and easier, helping you to rapidly grow your customer base around the globe.
With only a few small steps to reach out to customers in another language, you can create the foundations for something very big.
Why is website localisation important?
While around 57% of all websites only feature English language, English accounts for just 31% of all online use and that number is dropping. As internet access reaches every corner of the globe, foreign language sites are growing rapidly as developing nations seize on the opportunities the online world can bring.
with only a few small steps you can create the foundations for something very big
Critically, e-commerce continues to grow at a frenetic pace with internet sales topping more than £100m in Western Europe alone last year.
This all adds up to opportunity for the companies that take the time to tailor their website to each individual audience.
Your website is the first step to becoming an exporter
Your website can be your first step to exporting. Many businesses are already “accidental exporters” and the analytics from your website will show that you already get visitors from overseas on a regular basis. However, all too often they will stop short of buying something and that can simply be down to the language barrier.
By carefully translating your website to suit the cultural and language needs of customers in target countries, you can quickly open up your business to a lucrative new market.
Crucially, that first foray into a new market with your website can be the launchpad for creating a presence on the ground or, more importantly, developing a framework and system for rapidly expanding internationally by localising your website for more countries.
With website localisation, it’s also important to note that businesses must be prepared for an influx of new orders from a new market. Not only do you have to be able to cope with increased demand, but should also consider how you will handle orders, questions and requests in a foreign language.
Make sure you have researched the costs for translating customer requests, shipping, exchange rates and regulations, while also considering if you have the capacity within your business to meet an increase in orders. Comprehensive research is needed for international trade to ensure you don’t end up losing out; something a language service provider can help you with alongside an exploration of how localisation can work for you.
Staking your claim
The English language internet is a highly-competitive and crowded marketplace and foreign language content is starting to gain momentum. It is important to stake your claim and localise your website to meet the needs of a new generation of customers.
Former South African leader, Nelson Mandela put it best when he said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”