International trade has never been easier and more accessible than today. Technology, infrastructure and global opportunities efficiently facilitate trading across the countries and even distant continents. The temptation to expand to foreign markets and the potential growth resulting from reaching new customers encourage the companies to eventually make the move.
When deciding to export to a different country, it would seem a natural choice to leave the website, marketing materials and product information in English since the language has always been recognised as the language of the Internet and business for that matter.Yet, billions of people do not understand English at all or have not mastered it to a level enabling them to make an informed decision about the purchase. It would appear then that the solution is to provide the relevant information in languages your potential customers understand, but is it worth the effort and the money? Will the localisation of a company’s website and products generate more sales?
These questions have been recently answered in great detail in a “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” research conducted by Common Sense Advisory Inc., an independent market research company specialising in the language industry.
The study, based on a survey of 3,002 consumers in 10 countries across 4 continents revealed that localisation of websites and products can increase the companies’ sales.
According to the research, non-English speakers tend to avoid English-language websites and spend less time browsing them than the content in their native language. Consequently, foreign consumers do not buy products or services from a website they do not understand. The results of the study show that providing customers with materials in their local language translates into more sales.
The research also proves that language plays a vital role in the global market and that it is important for customers to access product information in their native tongue. “The journey from discovery to awareness to browsing to engagement to purchase must be supported by appropriate content at each step. Having that information available in the language of the visitor improves the customer experience by providing the right linguistic context for it” – says the report.