french bulldog with French beret hat and French flag behind a laptop

How can a global brand be more local? 3 tips to reach more customers

If you have been working hard to develop and set up an eCommerce site, you know that is the first step in a long journey. Now you need clients to find your site. Adjusting your eCommerce site to the feel and look of local markets is essential because it reassures customers that you have paid enough time and consideration for your brand to be more local to them. You are considering their language, their local customs and traditions.

Three things to think about:

1) Not all images convey the same message

The majority of eCommerce sites are all about the visual and the price. Planning a little bit about images that will not fit the palate of some audiences is paramount. Think about the right kind of images for your eCommerce website. For example: high-quality images for your products are neutral and will often come for the product manufacturers themselves. However, if you are using your own images for your products, our recommendation as internationalization experts is to give them a little thought and see if they are appropriate for the countries and markets you are addressing. eCommerce sites sell everything, from books to furniture, drinks and even translation services… But fashion sites tend to be very popular and probably the most obvious example. Time after time, winners are the ones who carefully select and showcase their products because local markets react positively or negatively to whatever you put in front of them. cartoon lady in short jeansClearly the sense of fashion is different from country to country. Dress codes can be radically different from one culture to another. Ties are popular in the Western world, China, Japan and Korea, but there are differences in use. Some items can be plainly offensive to some local customers. Tight-fitting clothes are not the thing to market in India, not above-the-knee short jeans or low necklines in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt.

If you are using your own images for your products, our recommendation as internationalization experts is to give them a little thought and see if they are appropriate for the countries and markets you are addressing.

The Middle East is experiencing a great burst in eCommerce. The eCommerce sector in MENA (Middle East and North African countries) reached US$10 billion mark in 2016 and it is ‘to grow tenfold’ by 2020. A pan-Arab government body headquartered in Cairo is preparing to release a five-year strategy. Comprising representatives from 14 governments across the MENA region, it claims the region’s e-commerce sector will leap from $20 billion in 2017 to $200 billion beyond 2020 – and international fashion brands who feature images which offend customers on religious or cultural grounds will fail.

2) Colors Your website design should also take into account that the choice of colors affects the subconscious when visitors first land on your site. Take red for instance: the color of passion in most Western countries, red is associated with mourning in South Africa. The section of red in the country’s flag symbolizes violence and sacrifices that were made during the struggle for independence.

Shanghai Temple

Shanghai Temple

In China, red represents celebration, happiness. It is everywhere in China: buildings, roofs, clothes, websites. The Chinese flag is red. Ask any Chinese translator about red: it is meant to bring luck, prosperity, happiness, and a long life to the people. And how about yellow? No bullfighter will dare to come out dressed in yellow in Spain and Latin American countries. It brings bad luck! In China and Japan, yellow is associated with direty sex or pornography. Chinese and Japanese use the term “yellow film”, “yellow joke” or “yellow book” meaning pornographic films, jokes or books.

Spaniards would call them “green”! In France yellow stands for jealously, betrayal, weakness, and contradiction. In the Middle Ages, people painted the doors of traitors and criminals yellow. Yellow is reserved only to people of high rank in many African nations, because it is easily associated to gold, and gold is money, quality, success. And in Germany, yellow symbolizes jealousy. Want to know more? If you are reading this blog from the US or Europe, you will agree blue is a strange color. It is the traditional color for boys (pink for girls). It is also a color that stands for trust, security, and authority (many conservative parties use light shades of blue) as well as banks and institutions (Citibank and Bank of America). In China, blue is considered a feminine color. In Judaism, blue is the shade for holiness and divinity (the Virgin Mary is depicted in blue in Catholic countries).

In Hinduism, blue is the color of Krishna—the most highly worshipped Hindu god who embodies love and joy, and destroys pain and sin. Talking about pink, this color translates as “foreign color” in Chinese as it was unrecognized until it emerged into the culture due to increasing Western influences. Orange has almost positive feelings everywhere: in many Western cultures, orange is considered a fun and edgy color, and represents curiosity, a thirst for the new, for creativity. In Japan and China, orange is also positive, being linked to good health, courage, happiness and love. And in India, it’s symbolic of fire. The orange-colored spice, saffron, is considered to be lucky and sacred. Only in many Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt, orange is associated with mourning.

3) Logo and Tagline

We would recommend changing the logo unless there was something terribly wrong in a particular country or culture. The tagline is something else. It may be culturally attached to the country it comes from. We have dealt with some mistakes in that kind of translation which have become part of the translation folklore. Follow this link to read and have a good time. Translations are the most cost-effective way to help your website appear in the search result pages of international markets. Translating an eCommerce is the way not to depend on a single, home market.  73% of customer prefer to buy goods in their local language. eCommerce customers move quickly (at the click of a button!) when it comes to deciding if they will buy from a website. But please remember, a properly localized website makes life a whole lot easier to beat the competition.

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