Traditional e-commerce in Western markets focused primarily on brand-name sites that sell their own goods and services, and on multi-brand retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, which offer a broad selection and competitive prices.

This picture is quite different in emerging markets, where consumers prefer virtual marketplaces. These popular sites—such as India’s Flipkart, Latin America’s Mercado Libre and China’s Tmall and Alibaba—are perfect for engaging international customers, especially since so much of the on-site (or in-app) customer experience is localized for their needs:

  • Higher level of trust vs. doing business on a stand-alone branded site
  • Greater competition that drives down prices and expands choice
  • Convenience of comparing prices on the same site
  • They offer locally preferred payment options
  • They provide security that gain consumers’ trust
  • They present product descriptions in their preferred languages

These online marketplaces also benefit sellers, primarily because they generate a high volume of traffic, which may be difficult for smaller retailers to attract.

They also simplify inventory management and fulfillment, which can be handled by the marketplaces for a fee. Plus, marketplaces often leverage IT and big data more effectively than conventional e-retailers to help convert visitors from browsers to buyers.

In the hands of the right vendor, translating your product data for these marketplaces is often a straightforward process. This information can be compiled into an .xml file, which can be easily translated by your vendor. Once this process is complete, you’ll need to integrate your localized data with the virtual marketplace.

Marketplaces typically permit companies to register as merchants and provide product inventory and descriptions, often via a Language Translation API or translation connector that links the two IT systems. The data must be structured to meet the requirements of each marketplace.

Support the Sale with a Translated Website

However, companies shouldn’t neglect supporting these multilingual customers beyond virtual marketplaces. When products are complex or expensive—especially where the purchase may require more consideration than normal— it’s common for buyers to conduct online research beyond the aggregator site.

This legwork often naturally sends them to a brand’s official website. But if that branded site hasn’t been localized in the customer’s language, the buyer’s journey is completely derailed. The once-seamless shopping experience—which had continuously provided information in the language the customer understands—is eliminated, and quickly turns sour.

Ultimately, localized content signals to international customers that companies are committed to their markets. Customers understand they can get information and support for their purchased products in the languages they speak, and effortlessly learn more new products, too.

Read more about website translation in our ultimate guide to website translation.


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