US retailers need to localise sites for intl markets, study finds

The new research ‘Localization Report 2016’ published by Practicology, eShopWorld and TranslateMedia, reviewed 25 sites of international markets like the UK, Australia, Japan and Mexico. It assessed their localisation efforts in areas including use of language across the site, merchandising and offers, mobile optimization, search engine optimization, social media, customer services, shipping and returns, pricing and payment.U.S. retailers were particularly strong at providing customer service support in local business hours, localising pricing, and localising their foreign language sites in the cases of Mexico and Japan. However, the same priority was not as evident in other English-language speaking countries, such as the UK and Australia. Overall the findings again demonstrate the competitive advantage to be gained from intensive localisation efforts.

Japanese websites of U.S. retailers were the most localised, with evidence of the considerable investment by U.S. brands in their Japanese service proposition. Close to 96 percent have fully localised their product details, 80 percent have country-specific homepage merchandising, 64 percent have fully localised site navigation, 76 percent have country-specific offers and promotions, 88 per cent have a Japanese customer service phone number and 96 percent offer returns by post to a Japanese address.U.S. retailers offer Japanese products at a premium price, with 100 per cent of retailers marking up prices for Japan’s online shoppers, in comparison to their U.S. prices.“We have seen U.S. retailers invest in localising their international websites in the last few years as a way of driving cross-border online sales growth. However, we feel that there are clear opportunities to go further, and provide a truly localised customer experience for their international customers in key markets,” Nicola Huet, head of internationalization, Practicology.The report also found that 52 percent of U.S. retailers have not localised their sites completely for their U.K. websites and about 96 percent of them have done so for their Mexican sites.About 68 percent have completely localised their site navigation into UK and Australian English. However, only half have extended this fully to include product and description and other content on their U.K. sites. Close to 80 percent of retailers have fully localised their U.K. and Australian homepage language, with Mexican websites coming out on top with 96 per cent.

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