What is localization?
Imagine that you discover a new song that you enjoy immensely. You play it for several of your friends and they enjoy it as well. But when you play it for a different set of friends that live internationally, your song doesn’t receive a positive response. It’s the same quality song in both instances, but it receives different responses depending on where it’s shown. This experience is a lot like selling your product to different markets around the world. The ability to understand your audience and localize your product is everything.
Localization refers to the process of making a service, product or business more suitable for a particular country or area. This can range from translating your webpages into another country’s native language, to accommodating for alternate currencies.
In an increasingly expanding global economy, to stay competitive, selling internationally is a must. A wider audience leads to more sales, faster growth and a healthier business. But, like we’ve described above, expanding your market isn’t as simple as depositing a product in a foreign market and leaving it at that.
Translations, currencies and accommodating for different tax laws (such as the EU’s VAT tax) are difficult to implement. Companies often have healthy concerns about localization, as it’s easy to be overwhelmed by these variables. But even with the added challenges, the benefits of a vastly expanded market far outweigh the costs.
Helpful localization tips
While when localizing for your target market, here are several things your business should be aware of:
- In order to sell online, a lot of things are needed to facilitate a transaction and the vast majority of that transaction happens in the background. As a seller, you must become familiar with merchant accounts, gateways, payment methods, fulfillment methods, fraud services, taxes services, and optimized payment acceptance technologies.
- Be prepared to handle tax collection, compliance and payments, including U.S. state taxes and European Union’s Value-Added Tax (VAT).
- Critically, customers need to be able to view prices in their own currency and language while they shop.
- Take a look at which couponing tools make the most sense, things like: cross-sells, up-sells, the name-your-own price tool, or other add-ons that customers would be interested in.
If you choose to utilize an ecommerce provider to assist you with your localization process, you need to be aware of a few additional factors:
- Be cautious of solutions with low advertised rates. Many of them require you to setup things like your own merchant account and handle fulfillment, taxes, etc.
- In the long run, your business needs to have customer service that’s online 24/7/365. If something were to go wrong, or you’re launching a new product, you need to be able to get in touch with your provider to look for solutions.
- When choosing a payment solution, determine what the liabilities of solution A would be as opposed to solution B. Make a list. Become familiar with the types of solutions that perform well in your target market.
- Make sure there are no fees for turning on different currencies. There are some solutions that will charge thousands of dollars just to turn these options on or off.
How FastSpring can help
As a leading ecommerce provider, we are unique in the sense that we give you all the tools necessary to sell in pretty much any market. FastSpring converts over 18 forms of currency and translates over 24 different languages. We stay on top of new regulations, payment options and trends. We’ll worry about and handle all the complex variables, so your business doesn’t have to.
Learn more about localization and the many features that our customers can rely on by visiting our Global Payments page.