With advances in both digital marketing and international delivery, many businesses are now presented with the right environment to expand their offering globally. Despite this, new research has found that over 62% of UK businesses are missing out on opportunities in the global ecommerce market.
The main area that businesses feel they are missing out on is localising their website to meet local needs, with languages being the main barrier to this. In fact, Search Laboratories study into 500 UK businesses found some interesting findings:
• Only 33% of those trading digitally abroad are doing so in the local language. This leaves 67% of those trading internationally using only English and only one central website – making the buying experience confusing or unfeasible for some international shoppers.
• Despite the lack of UK businesses using localisation as a tactic to expand internationally, 47% of business owners have said it will be a priority over the next two years.
When approaching overseas expansion there are many barriers that present themselves to online businesses. From costs to logistics it can be quite a lengthy process, but once set-up it doesn’t stop there. When the businesses were questioned on what they thought were the biggest challenges:
• 44% said that it was establishing trust with foreign customers
• 28% said that it was gaining visibility in the foreign markets
• 28% also said that it was competing with local businesses
Whilst social media has done wonders for companies trying to gain visibility in multiple countries via one platform, it can often take a lot of time and effort to establish trust in a new market. Lead author of the study and CEO of Search Laboratory, Ian Harris, commented on his findings, adding that ‘if businesses are going to truly take hold of the huge opportunities available in the global ecommerce market, they’re going to have to treat their international offerings with as much care and attention as they do their UK business.
It’s not enough to roughly translate a clone of your UK site – you need to research your audience’s differences and tailor it specifically to them”.