There is no doubt that e-commerce is quickly overtaking the brick and mortar business model. The growth of e-commerce can be attributed to the increasing number of people with access to the internet, majority of whom are in North America and Europe. Small e-commerce businesses are using various tactics to tap into the online market and compete with more established players.
E-commerce Opportunities in Non-English Speaking Regions
Many people prefer to shop on a website that has been localized to their language. Thriving small e-commerce businesses understand this and are actively marketing their products to non-English speaking consumers in their native languages. These consumers present a significant market for e-commerce businesses, given that they are in the millions.
For example, in the US, there are over 400 foreign languages spoken. The top six foreign languages spoken are Spanish (spoken by 40.5 million people), Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese, both spoken by 3.4 million people), Tagalog and Filipino (both spoken by 1.7 million people), Vietnamese (spoken by 1.5 million people), and Arabic and French (each spoken by 1.2 million people).
Savvy e-commerce businesses are tapping into the foreign-speaking market to expand their customer base. With millions of non-English speakers that have access to the internet, you lose money if you are not localizing your content for them.
How Small E-Commerce Businesses are Targeting Non-English Speakers
E-commerce businesses are using various tactics to reach the huge non-English speaking audience to grow their revenue. For example, most businesses are launching online stores and the content can be customized to different foreign languages. All a visitor has to do is to select a language (usually from a dropdown menu) that they wish to browse the store in. From there, all the content on the website, including product descriptions, can be read in the selected language.
The cost of translating an e-commerce website to different foreign languages can be quite expensive. However, its worthwhile investment since there will be an increased number of non-English speaking users that are likely to interact with your store.
The more languages you want to incorporate, the higher your costs would be. The cost is even higher when you are trying to create a multilingual website from an already existing store. It is better for businesses to create multilingual websites from the start.
When targeting audiences in different geographic locations, consider their cultures and societal norms. Apart from this, keep in mind that internet speeds vary from place to place. Therefore, design lightweight store sections when targeting users that are likely to be in regions with low internet speeds.
Some content management systems have inbuilt translation features. For example, if you have a WooCommerce website, you can use various WordPress plugins to automatically translate your store to different languages.
However, translation software can misrepresent the intended meaning of content. This is why most businesses hire translation services provider with native speaking employees to translate their content.
Benefits of Having a Multilingual Store
Some of the benefits of having a multilingual store include:
- More customers. Increase your customer base by targeting foreign language audiences.
- More sales. Customers will browse your website for a longer time if they understand the content. More time spent on a website is likely to lead to more sales.
- Higher search engine ranking. Multilingual websites tend to rank higher on search engines for questions searched by audiences outside the US than English-only websites.
- Low return rate. Since customers understand the content on your website, they will know exactly what they are ordering and this will mean low return rate.
- Easier customer care. When a page is multilingual, customers can read the FAQs on your store and know what to expect. This great for your customer care team who won’t spend time answering straight-forward queries that have already been addressed in the FAQ
Having a multilingual store is important for the success of your e-commerce business. To grow, you need to focus on reaching non-English speaking customers, who are increasingly using the internet to shop.