Keeping in line with the chess analogies, In a world where customer is king, localization is queen.

The sweet spot of localization for international businesses

In a world where customer is king, localization is queen

The age-old commercial adage tells us that the customer is king. So, if we’re keeping in line with the chess analogies, your job as a business is to protect said king, because if your competitor happens to knock him off your side of the board, well, it’s game over – checkmate. 

Understanding the supreme power customers have when it comes to your business is a key realization to make and will help you adopt a customer-centric business strategy that focuses on a high level of personalization. Of course, personalization is not only key to customer retention and loyalty, but also, to the widening of your customer base.

Back to the board, and when we consider the greatest weapon at our disposal, it’s without a doubt the queen. So, when looking at this from a business perspective, we can say that the biggest asset we have in defending our customers is our localization strategy. Think about it. In the same way that your side of the chessboard is whittled piece by piece with the loss of your queen, so too will your customer base in the absence of a localization strategy, where competitors take them out of play with a superior level of personalization. 

And so, in a world where customer is king, localization is most definitely queen. By understanding the impact that a comprehensive localization (l10n) strategy can have on your business, you’ll not only succeed in customer retention, but also give yourself access to whole new segments of customers. Learn more about  localization and check out our ultimate checklist to localizing your business:

Personalization is key 

As per the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), localization can be defined as the process of  ‘’adapting a product, an offering, or simply content to a specific locale or market’’. One of the first things to consider when localizing is without a doubt, language. However, localization is a hypernym or umbrella term, meaning that it’s sensitive to much more than language, encompassing an appreciation for both cultural and social preferences, as well as other idiosyncratic characteristics of a society. So in essence, localization encompasses all the steps taken to personalize an offering to a given consumer group.

The Localization Checklist

What it takes to localize your content. Photo: Shutterstock

Translate your Content 

At the risk of stating the obvious, you will of course, need to translate your content as a cornerstone of your localization strategy. This includes anything from your web content to your product labelling. If you’re not convinced as to why you should have multilingual content available, consider the following:  

  • There are over 4.5 billion internet users today
  • Only 25% of these users are English speakers
  • According to the CSA, 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language

Effectively, this means that approximately 75% of consumers want to browse and buy in languages other than English. Therefore, if you’re only producing monolingual content you’re not only discounting a huge proportion of your potential customer base, but also, failing at providing the most basic and fundamental aspect of personalization.

While your first instinct might be to hire professional translators, if you have thousands of web pages this option is quite expensive and often isn’t feasible on a large scale. Fortunately, the more cost and time efficient solution of automatic translation is a practical option and has been shown to be increasing in accuracy.

Consider a Global Web Design

Following from the previous point, when it comes to translating your content for localization purposes, it’s important to understand the role that website design can play in this. From a practical viewpoint, you’ll need to consider what the translated content will look like on your webfront. This is because languages differ not only in sound and spelling, but also, in terms of the space the words in a given sentence occupy. 

As a result, it’s best to think ahead and incorporate a global web design into your localization strategy. This involves leaving plenty of space in your design to cater for the variations in sentence length associated with translating from one language to another. If you’re trying to impress another customer segment, the last thing you need to be worried about is overlapping text or collapsed strings. 

International SEO 

When it comes to localization, SEO is no exception. When you make the decision to enter new markets or localize in existing markets, you’ll need to assess a number of things such as the selection of keywords for search engine optimisation purposes. Once this has been decided upon, it’s also important to ensure that the selected words are translated as accurately as possible. 

So while optimising your ranking on domestic Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) may come as second nature, you’ll need to be thinking of a lot more when attempting to do the same in foreign markets. And it’s not just keywords you need to worry about translating, think of metadata and other non visible content on your site that needs to be translated for SEO purposes.

Media Localization

Written content is one thing, but it’s certainly not the only one. When it comes to localizing your content, particularly web content, you have to think of additional aspects such as images, videos, and other types of media too.

Why you ask? Well, in the same way that you may translate text so that foreign audiences can understand, you may wish to do the same with video content, for example. This could involve having a different version of a video appear on your webpage depending on the language the visitor is viewing the page in. Another reason why you might do this is to be sensitive to cultural nuances. For example, in some countries, holidays such as Christmas aren’t celebrated so it may be worthwhile to adapt any holiday specific content in order to be relevant with the region you’re targeting. 

Country Specific Localization 

When it comes to localization, it’s important to localize by country or geographic region, as opposed to localizing merely by language. This is because even though two countries may have the same first language, they can also have a number of key differences which will alter how you personalize their experience and do business with them. 

One such example of this is payment preferences. As localization is all about achieving the highest degree of personalization, you’ll want to do your utmost to be conscious of, and to provide for the payment in each country. For example, in the LATAM region, there are over 100 local payment methods that are used commonly, in particular, the prevalence of local voucher payments in the region. 

One of the main reasons for this is due to a large proportion of the population being ‘’unbanked’’ meaning that they don’t have or own a bank account. The World Bank estimates that 61% of adults, or more than 250 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean are outside of the financial system. 

This creates a huge challenge  both for businesses trying to sell in the Latin America region, and for consumers trying to buy outside of the Latin America region. Overcoming obstacles such as discrepancies in payment preferences is a crucial component of successful localization. 

Customer Support 

Customer support is the backbone of your business and is shown to be of increasing importance today. And so, providing the most personalized customer support experience possible can only bode well in terms of customer retention and consequential loyalty. 

In an ideal world, every business would have 24/7 customer support available in across all their markets, in all languages. However, for most businesses this is far from feasible and so, you must think of ways to localize this aspect of your business as much as possible.

A good starting point for this is to translate any guides, FAQs or other helpful documentation into the languages that your customers speak. Another action that could be taken is to hire a diverse customer support team who speak a wide variety of languages.

Translation Management Software

Implementing a comprehensive localization strategy isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but will, in the long run, pay huge dividends. Luckily however, there are a number of translation management solutions available that are optimised for localization and can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to implementing your localization strategy. 

The Weglot translation solution can alleviate a lot of the heavy lifting associated with localization and make it a seamless process thanks to a variety of innovative features such as: 

  • An API: Without getting caught up in the tech jargon, the API is essentially what makes translating your websites’ content a speedy and efficient process. As soon as you’ve signed up for Weglot and linked your unique API key to your site, Weglot works instantly to make it multilingual. 
  • Optimised for SEO: Remember we discussed making sure your keywords were translated? As well as any meta data and other non-visible web-content? Well luckily, Weglot is a translation solution optimised for SEO, meaning that any pages translated by Weglot are automatically indexed following Google best practices. This, will in turn, help when it comes to SERP rankings and expanding your reach.
  • Media Translation: With the help of Weglot you can easily localize your media to give your audiences the most personalized experience possible. As is the case above, all this media content is also SEO optimised. 
  • Professional Translations: While automatic translations are increasingly accurate nowadays, there are some instances where you may want a professional translator to take a look at something, for example, the translation of legal information. Perhaps you just want a native speaker to look at something to ensure it’s sensitive to cultural norms. With Weglot, you can get access to professional translators who can help fine tune and tweak any of these minor details.
  • Integrations and Installation: Weglot is a universally accessible translation management solution and integrates with any CMS. The set-up process is remarkably quick, meaning you can have your multilingual website up and running in minutes. 
  • Level of Support: Weglot promises to respond to any customer support questions within 1 business day. It has a diligent team of product and technical experts available to help find quick solutions to any issues that may arise. 

In the increasingly competitive and globalized business environment we operate in today,  now more than ever, businesses need to do everything in their power to not only enhance customer retention, but also, to attract new ones.

When we localize, we personalize, and where we don’t, our competitors will. Putting it simply, if you fail to localize, you risk losing not only your customers to competitors who provide a more personalized experience, but also, the opportunity to widen your customer base and increase your commercial success. 

If you’re still wondering if you need to localize, think of this: would you play a game of chess without a queen?