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'US retailers need to localise sites for intl markets'
Dec '16
US retail companies need to localise their websites for key international markets like the UK, Australia, Mexico and Japan, says a recent research. Although progress is being made by companies, key areas such as localised payments options, merchandising and customer service options were often found to be poor in the study that included 51 US retailers.

The new research ‘Localization Report 2016’ published by Practicology, eShopWorld and TranslateMedia reviewed 25 sites of international markets like the UK, Australia, Japan and Mexico. It assessed their localisation efforts in areas including use of language across the site, merchandising and offers, mobile optimization, search engine optimization, social media, customer services, shipping and returns, pricing and payment.

US retailers were particularly strong at providing customer service support in local business hours, localising pricing, and localising their foreign language sites in the cases of Mexico and Japan. However, the same priority was not as evident in other English-language speaking countries, such as the UK and Australia. Overall the findings again demonstrate the competitive advantage to be gained from intensive localisation efforts.

Japanese websites of US retailers were the most localised, with evidence of the considerable investment by US brands in their Japanese service proposition. Close to 96 per cent have fully localised their product details, 80 per cent have country-specific homepage merchandising, 64 per cent have fully localised site navigation, 76 per cent have country-specific offers and promotions, 88 per cent have a Japanese customer service phone number and 96 per cent offer returns by post to a Japanese address.

US retailers offer Japanese products at a premium price, with 100 per cent of retailers marking up prices for Japan’s online shoppers, in comparison to their US prices.

“We have seen US retailers invest in localising their international websites in the last few years as a way of driving cross-border online sales growth. However, we feel that there are clear opportunities to go further, and provide a truly localised customer experience for their international customers in key markets,” Nicola Huet, head of internationalization, Practicology.

The report also found that 52 per cent of US retailers have not localised their sites completely for their UK websites and about 96 per cent of them have done so for their Mexican sites.

About 68 per cent have completely localised their site navigation into UK and Australian English, however, only half have extended this fully to include product and description and other content on their UK sites. Close to 80 per cent retailers have fully localised their UK and Australian homepage language, with Mexican websites coming out on top with 96 per cent. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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