For ecommerce businesses that want to expand to several markets, a localized digital experience is vital. It’s how you make sure your website is doing everything it can to turn all of your browsers into buyers. It’s simple: with every lost conversion, you’re potentially leaving revenue on the table.
Optimizing conversions is tough enough in one market. But when your traffic comes from customers all over the world, the challenge compounds.
To improve conversion across markets, your SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), and UX need to work together. They need to complement each other to bring people to your site, make sure your customers feel you’re speaking their language, and help you convert. What’s more, building these processes into your global digital workflows will aid you to make decisions based on numbers, not hunches.
Here’s a rundown of five tips that’ll help you boost conversions in global ecommerce.
1. Attract the right audience with localized SEO
Your business relies on new customers finding products online. But your international customers may search in totally different ways than your home market buyers do. And that’s not just due to different languages.
Different audiences will use different keywords and search engines, and respond to different online prompts. Localizing your SEO and PPC strategies for international markets can boost your traffic in a big way.
The more traffic, the more conversions, right? We’ve written two handy mini-guides to international PPC and SEO that go into more detail. If you missed them earlier, you can access them here and here. But finish reading this post first, ok?
2. Create market-specific content
Many UX and usability best practices are pretty much universal: make sure your page loads quickly, prioritize one key task or CTA per page, make it absolutely clear what you want a user to do—the list goes on.
But CRO for multiple international territories demands even more UX considerations.
You need to get the obvious things right—like making sure Arabic text is right to left, the opposite of Western scripts. But there are all sorts of other things you should test to find out what converts best: different colors, images, tones of voice, and CTA positions on the page can make a huge difference.
For instance, in the UK and the US, customers may prefer a clear, direct CTA—such as a button that says, ‘Get Quote’. But eastern cultures tend to be more polite and formal and may respond better to a less demanding CTA like ‘Request Quote’.
What works for UX in one market may not work at all in others. If you can, you should test everything that is relevant to your users’ goals. It’s worth hard cash. (Find more on global UX here.)
3. Think visuals
Good images and videos can drive online sales. But certain types of visual content in foreign markets can potentially put off customers, if not downright offend them.
Producing unique visual content for each of your markets for every single product may well pose a budget challenge. So where possible, choose images that are appropriate across cultures that don’t need to be customized.
Where that’s not possible—or for particularly high-profile images, such as on your home page—it comes back to testing and using your knowledge of preferences per market. For example, images of individual people tend to work better in US and UK markets, while countries like India or China tend to respond better to images of groups.
4. Make sure people can pay—but don’t break the law
For ecommerce marketers, there’s nothing worse than customers getting all the way to the end of their journey only to drop out at checkout.
Make sure you cater to the different payment preferences in different markets and test which payment methods your users prefer. This goes well beyond credit card payments. Alternative payment methods are rising in popularity across the globe—whether as digital wallets like PayPal and Alipay or real-time transaction systems such as iDEAL.
Be aware of different international regulations that exist for security and data collection though. This applies to broad compliance rules such as the European Union GDPR (which comes into effect in 2018), but also to laws in individual countries.
In a German court case, for instance, a judge ruled that the CTA ‘Send order’ wasn’t clear enough when making a purchase. Now ecommerce companies in Germany have to use ‘Zahlungspflichtig bestellen’ (“Order with an obligation to pay”) for their buy buttons.
5. Test, test, test…and test!
The amount of changes you’ll have to make to your ecommerce website may be overwhelming, but you don’t need to (and should not) do everything in one go.
Prioritize key changes and test which ones bring you more conversions, more revenue, or both. Apply those improvements that are most aligned to your goals and then keep testing.
Tests not only quantify how much your conversion rate has increased, they also tell you what works for your users and what doesn’t—so keep a record of your results: you may need them for your next redesign.
We can help
Optimizing conversion rates for your global ecommerce operation requires planning and a set of dedicated processes—especially if you want to do it continuously, and at scale.
You don’t have to meet this challenge alone. If you’d like more advice on optimizing your conversion rate for all your markets, we’d love to talk. You can contact us here.