Can't Read, Won't Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites

Localization and its impact on sales

Back in 2014, Common Sense Advisory (CSA), a research company that focuses on global business and commerce conducted an international survey on localization and its impact on sales all around the world. Localization improves customer experience and increases engagement in the brand dialogue. There should be a rigorously planned and executed business strategy for any company looking to grow internationally.

But what exactly were the findings?

Most people favor time at sites published in their own language

English ability determines how frequently visitors stop by and how long they stay on an English-language site. People with limited English skills stop by less frequently and spend less time on the site. People who spent more time on a website were 1.3 times more likely to make a purchase.

Even for those respondents comfortable using English, most people favor time at sites published in their own language. 75% of consumers surveyed were more likely to buy products in their native language.

Language comprises a key element in building long-term customer relationship

Ideally, companies should localize all their content. But mother tongue becomes more important over the life cycle of the product. Translated documents matter less at the point of purchase, but post-sales support needs to be in-language. If you don´t support buyers in their own language, they are less likely to repeat the purchase. The language comprises a key element in building a long-term relationship with a customer.

Regarding the translation of the content 45% of the respondents prefers poor translation over none. But as competition increases and consumers have access to more options, low-quality translation will not suffice. Over time English-language websites should expect also fewer visitors as more information come online in local languages.

A localized experience increases the likelihood of a browser becoming a buyer

The survey showed that global brands were less affected by a lack of localization. Two thirds of respondents prefer buying from a global brand without content in their own language than from a lesser-known brand with content in their native language. They valued the global brand more than the language.

The research concludes that language of any quality draws prospects into the web sales funnel. More complete information in your prospects’ language will keep them actively browsing. Once they choose to buy, a successful global website will offer properly adapted forms, transactions and logistics. A localized experience increases the likelihood of a browser becoming a buyer, and of a buyer progressing to repeat customer.

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