If you’re looking to extend your reach to new markets abroad, there are various ways you can go about doing this. Earlier in this blog series, we looked at approaches such as mergers and acquisitions. However, what if global expansion can happen organically? With targeted use of language translation services and localisation expertise, you can enhance your global organic growth, ensuring you make the most of existing interest from outside the UK without breaking the bank, or working too hard, for that matter!
What is organic growth?
When we refer to growth that has come about organically, we’re talking about growth that is achieved without the need for acquisitions or mergers. It’s growth that occurs naturally as a result of what you do internally within your business. If you increase revenue in this way, then you are achieving organic growth. If you can achieve an increase in revenue from new global markets, then even better!
Pretty much any business that operates wholly or partly through a website, whether you provide a service or sell goods, can expand globally. But what can you do internally to help you reach exciting new markets?
Are you already attracting overseas customers?
You may have dreams of expanding your reach into new countries or even new continents, but maybe you’re already reaching these markets and you just haven’t realised. If you operate a website, who’s to say you’re not getting hits from France, the US or India? What if there’s a market for your niche product in Germany but you don’t ship there? How can that interested consumer in India understand the returns policy of your products? These are the issues you will need to consider if you are serious about expanding your horizons internationally, and using language translation services can help you every step of the way.
Analysing your data
The first stage when trying to establish whether you have an existing overseas market is to analyse the data available to you through your e-commerce platform or through Google Analytics. Look at the regions your traffic is coming from and then look at the regions detailed on your checkout (or conversion) page.
If you are finding that you have plenty of traffic from other countries but no sales (or form fills, phone calls or any other goal your site has), then you are missing a trick. You may notice that potential customers bounce at the checkout stage, each of which could represent a sale if your website was optimised for different languages and regions.
You may notice that overseas users are bouncing after looking at your returns pages, again illustrating the fact that they are not happy with the existing policies to buyers from their markets. These ‘global barriers’ can be removed with the help of translation service providers. Indeed, here at Bubbles, we help major businesses make their sites more appealing and more conducive to selling overseas.
How do you make your site more conducive to overseas selling?
- Provide prices in local currencies
If overseas users are not converting as well as domestic customers, then it may be helpful to examine whether they are even able to buy your items or services where they are. Prices should be available in other currencies so that buyers know what they are dealing with.
- Translate returns policies and terms to other languages
If foreign users are bouncing from your returns page, consider getting the information translated to local languages. Online consumers are less likely to take the plunge and actually buy something from an overseas site if the content is only in English. A survey carried out by the European Commission found that 44 per cent of European internet users feared they would be missing out on important information if a site was only available in English. Moreover, 60 per cent said they rarely or never buy items from English-only websites.
- Provide foreign shipping and returns
Creating a well-translated website, with the emphasis on providing local-language terms, conditions and returns policies at the very least, is very important when looking to convert overseas users. However, you also have to ensure that you make it easy for foreign users to actually buy from you, and return goods to you, by providing reasonably priced quick shipping and local, low-cost returns.
- Consider setting up local sites aimed at new markets
If you find that your site is getting traffic from users from one or two particular markets, but that these users aren’t converting, consider investing in the creation of translated and localised sites specifically for these markets.
- Target content to local markets
The content for your UK site may not work as well on sites aimed at overseas markets. Talk to localisation experts who can guide you through the process of tailoring content to suit different cultures, for example.
Where is the money?
When looking to support your organic international growth, another important strategy is to take time to analyse which markets might actually represent good opportunities for your business. Unless you can establish that consumers in the countries you are targeting actually buy goods online on a regular basis, you may struggle to establish a customer base there.
A great approach to country-by-country analysis is to look at the percentage of total sales that take place online. This will help you to establish whether consumers in each country are active e-commerce users, or whether they prefer to buy goods and services in person. For example, China is actually a far better market to target from an e-commerce perspective, than the US. In the US, only 9 per cent of all retail sales take place online. In China, this rises to almost a quarter.
To conclude, expanding your business internationally doesn’t have to involve acquisitions or partnerships. The data analysis tools available to businesses that run websites are invaluable and provide incredible levels of consumer insight when used properly. Effective analysis, plus the use of language translation services that provide expertise in creating localised sites and translating your content, can help you to convert those overseas users to customers in no time.
It comes down to making the buying experience easy for foreign customers and reassuring them, in their own language, that your service is right for them.