The internet has made trade truly global. Now, whether you’re based in New York or Nanjing, customers or clients can find your website and interact with you. The scale of this global reach in unprecedented, turning small family- run start-ups with minimal marketing budget into international operations almost overnight. The opportunity is most certainly there – but are you ready? No matter what sector your operate in, your website is your shop window to the world. So while you may have spent plenty of time optimising it for SEO, making your site responsive, adding quality content and using the principles of UX design to make it easy to navigate, you may not have been doing all this thinking globally. If you have ambitions to take your business international, then you need to design your website with that specific goal in mind. You have a demanding, multicultural audience – and if you don’t cater for their needs, they will quickly go elsewhere and find a business that does. Sites designed with a global audience in mind will fare better – however, as you’re dealing with such diversity, it can be hard to know where to begin, especially if you’re a start-up with finite resources. Working with a web design company who are experts in global trading is a must, but if you’re not there yet, what steps can you take in the meantime to ensure your website welcomes international visitors?
Content For Multiple Languages
One thing you will definitely need to focus on is what’s referred to as content transcreation. It’s not enough to add a Google Translate widget and hope for the best – audiences all over the globe expect quality content that doesn’t just focus on translation, but also a faithful replication of the meaning, context and intention of your original piece. A talented transcription services company can help with this complex work. It may be a good idea to use analytics to determine the top geographical traffic sources for your site, and focus on these locations first. Optimise your text to make the website fully functional for customers in these key locations, taking care not to lose the nuance and meaning. You don’t want to appear careless as audiences are quickly turned off by shoddy translation work and it can even make them doubt the security of the site, especially if you run an ecommerce platform.
Allow Customers To Choose
Although there are out-of-the-box software solutions which promise to make your website suitable for global trade at a low cost, you should be aware of the pitfalls of going for this one-size-fits-all solution. If the software uses dynamic geo-IP tracking, it will force customers down a route that may not be suitable. For example, if you’re accessing Amazon from France, you will automatically be redirected to amazon.fr rather than the American .com site, and the language with default to French. However, that may not suit all users. Some websites take a more flexible approach, allowing users to access sites meant for any country and not limiting them by physical location – which may only be temporary, after all.
Separate Text And Images
Some websites are very guilty of adding a lot of text over images, but if a customer is using a translation add on, it will not be able to convert text which is part of an image. The same also applies for screen readers used for accessibility purposes. It is therefore a mistake to place important information such as pricing, key messages or calls to action as part of the image. The same can apply to using images for headers – this can also damage your SEO, as the search engine algorithms increasingly use contextual information like headings to boost search results. So not only can this simple step make your website better for international audiences, it also makes it more accessible and is likely to boost your position in the search results too.
Create A Localised Checkout
If you run a transactional site, international shopping options through your customer checkout are of paramount importance, and will help lower cart abandonment rates and lead to stronger online sales. Let buyers know beforehand what products are available for local shipping and any restrictions. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than going most of the way through checkout only to find that the item can’t or won’t ship to their destination – they are unlikely to shop with you again, even if the matter is beyond your control. Give the option to the buyer to convert the payment into their own currency, so they can clearly see what they are paying, using a suitable API tool for currency conversions.
Allow them to check delivery charges and all applicables taxes before starting the checkout process – a higher than expected final sum will lead to a lot of abandoned carts. And finally, give the option of multiple different payment methods for each country.
With a few small improvements, you can get started with global trading today.