The world’s digital transformation over the course of the past two decades has turned just about every part of commerce on its head — well-known retail stores are closing, new online titans are rising, and consumer habits are changing rapidly.
But of all the changes this digitization hath wrought, the biggest disruption may be the increase in international trade.
According to a recently published research, the advent of eCommerce and mobile shopping, which has boosted the U.S. GDP four percent and created about 2.4 million jobs, has been a boon for companies doing business in multiple countries. Now, cross-border commerce is attracting the eyes and ears of not just companies looking to boost revenue, but everyone from lawmakers to industry advocacy organizations.
But while expanding to a new market can bring real rewards to merchants, it can also be a stressful time for many brands and retailers and brings with it a huge amount of tedious and time-consuming new work.
So how can you make your international expansion a success without breaking the bank or burning out your employees? It’s all about your product information.
Why expansion requires high-quality product information
The biggest reason for ensuring that your product information is up to par when you expand to a new locale comes down to making, and keeping, your newest buyers happy. Because, no matter what country you’re expanding to, customers expect you to be able to speak their language.
This, of course, means translating product descriptions and info to the language of your new locale — but it also goes much further than this.
Truly speaking your customer’s language also includes localizing all product information and assets to fit the needs of your new customers. That means converting units of measurement (for example, changing measurements typically listed in centimeters to feet and inches when selling in the U.S.), modifying product catalogs to appeal to your new customers, adapting product descriptions or multimedia assets to local norms. It could even include changing packaging or making additional disclosures to comply with the legislation and regulation in your new market.
Those that don’t take the obligation to adapt product information to new customer bases seriously will suffer equally serious consequences. Researchers have found that product information plays a big factor in purchasing decisions among cross-border customers. One European Commission survey of internet users across the European Union, for example, found that 9 in 10 internet users always visit a website in their own language when the option exists.
What’s more, the majority of consumers, even those who generally feel confident and comfortable buying products from other countries, will flat out refuse to do business with your company if you don’t speak their native language. Errors or inconsistencies in product data, meanwhile, including information such as size, weight, or other measurements, are the leading cause for product returns, at 70 percent.
Taking control of product information with PIM
There’s no shortage of product information challenges that arise when expanding internationally. To conquer these challenges, you need a high-quality, purpose-built solution for managing and enriching product information — you need a PIM.
Without a dedicated solution for managing product information, your expansion efforts will struggle to get off the ground, much less become successful. Marketers and product owners will need to spend hour upon hour going through the tedious process of translating and updating info, while media managers will need to manually manage all the photos, videos, and other assets needed to expand effectively. This can turn expansion into a slow, painful process, one that eats away at revenue instead of boosting it.
A robust PIM, or product information management, solution, meanwhile can take the pain out of enriching and managing product information for cross-border commerce with a range of features designed to help you take control of product information. Akeneo PIM, for example, offers features that can help you expand to new markets with ease, including:
- Advanced rights management tools: Provides control and permissions access to third-parties like translators to help speed up enrichment
- Automation and a business rules engine: Automatically converts various values to support different units of measurement, which helps reduce the manual effort needed to enrich product information and ensure high-quality data
- Digital Asset Manager: Manages digital assets like images and videos independently from products themselves, making it easier to automate actions to edit them
- Validation workflow: Helps you put a data governance strategy in place to ensure oversight and accuracy of localized attributes to eliminate errors in publishes catalogs
- Versioning and publication features: Maintains multiple versions of product data at the same time to slash time to market and eliminate errors when expanding abroad.
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.
Get ready to go global with PIM! Find out how localizing your product information via can ensure your expansion efforts are successful. Learn how PIM can help your team conquer expansions with relative ease by reading our new eBook, Global Multilingual Commerce: Components of a Winning Cross-Border Strategy blog on Expanding To New Locales today!