When retailers enter into global markets, they give a lot of attention to ensuring their products are ready for the tastes and expectations of new cultures. But what about the product content?
An often overlooked part of bringing products to global markets is content localization to create an accurate, natural-sounding product description for consumers. Customers in the company’s country of origin expect an informative experience with product descriptions; global customers are no different.
Solving this challenge might seem simple. Plug your current product descriptions into Google Translate and copy-paste the results, right? Wrong.
If you really want to make a splash in the global marketplace, your product descriptions need the same level of attention and effort as you give to your product catalog. Localizing your content is the key to the best results for your business and your customers.
Content Localization Enables Global Customer Reach
CSA Research found that you need an ever-increasing number of languages to reach a given share of the global online market: 14 languages to access 90 percent of the internet-accessible GDP (eGDP). That is forecast to increase to 17 languages by 2027. Companies will need content localization simply to keep up with their markets’ demands.
There’s a logical connection between content and customer satisfaction. If a company makes the purchasing experience as pleasing as possible, customers will return again and again to purchase from the company. Global customers are looking for retailers that make the effort to speak their languages — especially those that do it well.
Product descriptions are the introductions to your customers. It’s their first experience with the products you’re selling. They’re crucial for your home markets, but they’re even more important because they form the basis for the translated descriptions to attract new customers in France, Germany, Japan, India and beyond.
Translating Content for Retailers
So you have your products ready to sell in global markets. What can you do to prepare your product descriptions for your forthcoming cross-border sales?
Make sure you’re researching as much as you can about your marketplace’s cultures before you enter. While you should be doing that already during your product’s development stage, pay special attention to where content fits into the narrative you’re building. It’s much easier to translate strong original product descriptions that capture the essence of the product and are matched well with a new market’s expectations.
When you’re ready to translate, you’ll want to engage a system that uses human-based translators. Systems like Google Translate might get most of the words right, but they miss out on the all-important context of the words within your descriptions. Context makes the difference between a stilted sales pitch and a natural conversation about your products.
The thought of translating thousands of SKUs may seem overwhelming at first. However, it’s a more manageable task to approach the translation process much like a consumer would shop: from the most popular items to the least popular items. That way, top content will be ready for global customers as quickly as possible and other content will follow suit.
Content that puts customers first helps you start a conversation with them on their terms. It creates a more enjoyable experience for your customers when they can easily understand the products they want and make informed purchasing decisions. Content localization is the key to opening doors to new markets for retailers, so be sure to include a plan for localizing product descriptions as you expand your global reach.
Adrian Cohn currently serves as director of brand strategy and communications at Smartling, a language translation technology, and services global companies like Pinterest, IHG, and Vimeo.
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Adrian Cohn is a brand and communications strategist with experience conceptualizing and implementing worldwide, omnichannel campaigns. Cohn currently serves as director of brand strategy and communications at Smartling, a language translation technology, and services company powering global companies like Pinterest, IHG, and Vimeo.