Consumers can now visit a pan-global marketplace every time they use their smartphone. British companies are recognising the benefits of this new environment. More than four in every five UK businesses with an annual turnover of £1m are currently trading overseas. But while the expanded choice may seem to be a good thing, businesses who do not localise their content appropriately to each international audience will run into serious issues.
Without a considered localisation strategy, businesses are unable to tailor content effectively — culturally and linguistically — to their customers. They risk failure when expanding overseas, including common problems when branching into new markets for the first time:
- Low conversion rates
- High levels of shopping basket abandonment
- Poor customer satisfaction (CSAT)
- Low net promoter scores (NPS)
- Multiple customer service issues that are difficult to resolve due to language barriers and a lack of familiarity with local norms
Brands that don’t localise ecommerce experiences to their new audiences effectively can see growth ambitions fail to deliver. Historically, businesses have seen their growth, scale and quality of localisation limited by fragmented, slow and laborious processes. Advances in technology are now making it possible to drive high-quality translation at scale on a global stage.
Is localisation too tall an order?
To truly enhance CX and achieve campaign success, there are many considerations for localisation. The entire shopping experience must be adapted across platforms, with customer support and marketing materials also taken into account. This extends to the localisation of the user interface, and technology that facilitates local payment methods, shipping options and other international nuances related to the product delivery. For those lacking the necessary experience, expertise or technological support, the requirements to produce a localised CX can appear extensive.
Maintaining brand consistency across markets when working towards localised content is important, yet difficult to achieve. Balancing a strong brand identity while delivering tailored and varied content based on the needs of differing geographical audiences is challenging. Resources can limit businesses in this respect. Localisation at scale is required to encapsulate every aspect of the consumer journey. Manual support to do this is proving enormously time-consuming and expensive.
Clearly, to localise efficiently for one market is a big enough task. But to do this for multiple markets – and at speed – may appear daunting to most businesses.
Automation drives innovation
Fortunately, thanks to ongoing developments in artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms are now much smarter and require less instruction. Advanced iterations of machine learning, such as deep learning (DL), can now draw similar conclusions as humans would. This is done by continually analysing data with a given logical structure. With the latest advances in machine translation, companies can leverage language IP assets – including translation memories and detailed glossaries. This can drive accurate, contextual and relevant translation.
Neural networks can be trained to identify patterns and classify different types of information. This means DL-powered tools can automatically understand content in its current language and determine the best translation. The benefits for resource-limited businesses with expansion plans are obvious. DL offers them the potential to make refined and efficient adaptations at scale, significantly curbing localisation costs and time. By coupling this approach with cloud-based operations, integrated flexibly into existing content, ecommerce, and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, all of this can be achieved seamlessly. Even when there are huge amounts of data to process.
Using DL technologies will improve incrementally over time. Features such as translation memory, detailed brand glossaries and in-built quality checkers can continually gather and use learnings about localisation. They will be able to make tweaks to improve their quality scores. The upshot of this is that consumer relationships will strengthen over time – potentially boosting ROI.
Think global, act local
In an increasingly global ecommerce marketplace, providing consumers with mildly relevant, un-personalised and, in some cases erroneous, content isn’t enough. Failing to build and effectively execute a robust localisation strategy for customers will mean risking the quality of user experience, consumer favour, and ultimately international success (and even domestic success in large multilingual countries).
Achieving this is no small task. To beat fierce competition and expand efficiently, businesses must prioritise local audience needs from day one to generate localised content; leveraging smart technology to help lighten the load. Neural machine translation technology is providing more streamlined ways for businesses to power global growth and free companies from reliance on inefficient, legacy technologies and laborious processes. By enabling large-scale cultural and linguistic adaptation, innovative tools are enabling an easy-to-follow process for cross-border localisation.