How Localization Leads To Successful Expansion

Expanding to a new market is a celebratory moment for most businesses. It’s a sign of success and often an indication of more good things to come.  

But while expansion can lead to increased revenue thanks to the addition of new customers in these faraway markets, it’s also a stressful time for many brands and retailers and brings with it a huge amount of tedious and time-consuming new work.

This is largely a product of just how much needs to be done in order to make these efforts successful. Product descriptions must be translated into local languages, multimedia assets like photos and videos must be made relevant and appropriate for new markets, sizes and measurements must be converted into the correct weight, and prices and taxes must be updated to meet new standards and regulations — and all that is just the beginning.

Expanding to new markets is often easier said than done

It’s enough to turn any expansion effort into a months-long marathon of complications, confusion, and pain. Unless, of course, you’re expanding with help from product information management (PIM).

Akeneo PIM can help your company more easily expand to new markets by improving translation and localization processes, giving you product information that will make buyers in any market take notice of your offerings — and make a purchase. That’s critical, because brands and retailers who miss the mark on translation and localization often see their expansion efforts fall flat as they struggle to connect with new customers.  

Don’t believe us? See how improving translation and localization with PIM can help your next expansion effort succeed with ease.

Talk the talk

The first, and perhaps most obvious step in expanding to a new market is translating product information into the local language. But this step isn’t as simple as it may seem.

But it’s not enough to simply plug product descriptions or data into a translating software and call it a day. You also need to localize these descriptions in order to ensure that the content aligns with local dialects, norms, and slang.

Expanding to new markets and tailoring product data is also a numbers game. European companies expanding to the United States, for instance, must ensure that they convert all measurements and numbers to local units. That means converting clothing sizes to their American equivalent, making sure that all measurements are expressed in yards, feet, and inches rather than meters, centimeters, and millimeters, and even converting prices from the Euro to the U.S. dollar.

No matter what country they’re in, shoppers expect to do business in their native language, using measurements they understand and pay in their local currency. If you don’t give them these capabilities, they’ll simply find another seller who can.

55% of surveyed customers buy only from merchants who present product information in their native language.

Go global, stay local

Language differences are just the start of the subtle differences in product information expanding brands and retailers must master in order to find success.

There’s no shortage to the amount of information that must be adapted when a company crosses borders — even something as similar as color can complicate expansion. In many countries, for example, purple is associated with royalty or nobility — but in Thailand, violet is more associated with death and mourning than the upper class. Getting these cultural differences wrong can result in disaster for expanding enterprises.

And just like with translation and conversion, localization affects more than just words on a page.

Marketing teams must also ensure that product images are relevant and appropriate for new markets and that measurements are expressed in a way that would make sense to a local. If these assets aren’t relevant to customers, they’ll likely move on to another merchant that’s willing to show them exactly how this product fits into their climate, region, and lifestyle.

56% of buyers say that finding product information in their native language is a bigger factor in their purchasing decision than price

Stay on the right side of the law

Customers aren’t the only group that your company has to please when selling cross-border, however.

Expanding to new markets means complying with a host of new regulations, from tax codes and country of origin rules to labeling regulations and health statues. Take the European Union — when companies first start selling in the EU, they have to comply with some of the most stringent regulations in the world.

These rules govern how products in seemingly category, including electronics, toys, textiles, and more, are made, labeled, and sold. What’s more, companies must also now contend with data privacy protections like GDPR. If your business finds itself on the wrong side of these laws, they could be fined, or see their products held or seized at customs, costing both time and money.

Certain industries have even more regulations to worry about. Brands and retailers working in industries such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, banking and financial services, and food and beverage are more highly regulated than many others, meaning that they must deal with even more changes to product data.

33% of firms say that complying with local laws and regulations is their biggest challenge in international commerce

How PIM can help

There’s clearly no shortage of product information challenges to contend with when expanding across borders.

From simple language translation and unit conversion to more precise localization and even complying with the local rules and regulations, these roadblocks can slow down expansion efforts or cause brands and retailers to struggle in new markets. This is what makes it so imperative to ensure that product information is comprehensive, relevant, and accessible — and why expanding businesses would be wise to invest in product information management.

By using PIM solutions to expand and enter new markets, your business can cut down time to market by as much as 300 percent, boost sales by 400 percent, and reduce returns, all while making your marketers more productive.

Go global while staying local. Contact us get your PIM project underway, download our eBook Product Information Management 101 to learn more about how PIM can help your business, or check out our blog Winning the Battle of the Brands to find out how to make sure you stay on top of the competition.

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