You’re preparing to expand your company into a new foreign market. One of the things you need is to have your website translated, or localized, into different languages, so that local customers in those countries can navigate with ease. You figure it’s a fairly simple task: simply compile the text from your current website and run it through Google Translate, and you’ll be all set, right?
Not even close. Even if machine translation could offer a perfect, word-for-word translation of your content (which it can’t), there are many more factors to consider when translating your site besides just the words on the screen. Here are four points to consider when localizing retail websites for foreign markets.
1. Currency and Payment Options – It’s important to make sure that the prices of all your products are converted into the appropriate currency for the country where they’re being sold, whether in Euros, Rubles, Yen, etc. But more than that, you need to consider different payment options in different countries and regions. In the U.S., you may handle most of your transactions through PayPal, but that may not be as popular in Germany or China, for instance. Become familiar with the popular payment options in the country and accommodate your customers in that region who prefer to pay by those methods.
2. Fulfillment – How will you ship your product to your customers? Will you ship internationally, or have local shipping facilities in each country? If you’re shipping internationally, what are the extra international shipping costs, and what customs fees or import duties are applicable? If you don’t inform your customers in advance, they’re likely to be surprised when checkout time comes around, and the extra costs could be problematic. If you’re shipping locally, what shipping service will you use? What services are available/popular in the area, and are they reliable for getting the customer their product in a timely manner?