Localisation considerations - International shipping and payments

International Shipping & Payments: The Final Localisation Hurdle

As a translation agency, we hope you’ll forgive us for spending much of our time discussing the importance of talking to your customers in their native language. Professional translation is just one of several elements in the localisation process. When selling overseas, there’s much more to consider than simply getting the wording of your website or marketing content right.

Localisation is defined as the process of adapting a product or content to a specific location or market. Depending on your offering, it can involve any number of elements which include but are not restricted to:

  • modifying graphics
  • adapting the design
  • changing the format of dates, addresses and phone numbers
  • converting local currencies and units of measurement
  • meeting local regulations and legal requirements

But two elements of the localisation process that can be left behind is the provision of a range of international shipping options and being sensitive to local payment preferences. You can overcome this final localisation hurdle by researching the best shipping carriers in each market and giving your customers plenty of choice about how they want to pay.

International shipping considerations

  • Where you’ll ship to –Your first consideration is to think about where in the world you’ll ship to. Your website’s analytics are an excellent way to gauge the level of interest from overseas markets, as are direct requests to sell to those markets. You should also think about which non-domestic markets will be a good fit for your business and the costs involved in shipping to those countries.
  • Shipping rules and regulations – Understanding the country-based shipping rules and regulations should be a key part of your international shipping strategy.  They will help you manage your customers’ expectations and determine how long shipping is likely to take and the costs involved. You should then update your website to make sure the costs and delivery times are clear. You should also think carefully about the packaging. You may need to add extra padding or choose more robust packaging options when sending products abroad.
  • The returns process – Returns are becoming an important part of online retail, with customers often ordering more products than they need and expecting to be able to return the items they don’t want for free. Third-party fulfilment and returns management companies can help to reduce the logistical headaches involved, although you will have to carefully consider the associated costs.

International payment options

  • Forms of payment – Another essential localisation consideration is to think about how your overseas customers will pay. Preferred payment options differ around the globe, so you may need to expand the solutions you offer for new markets. For example, mobile wallets have become an extremely popular form of payment, particularly in markets like India. Pre-paid credit cards are also becoming more widespread, so it’s important that you take the time to understand how people like to pay overseas.

These stats from Woo Commerce help to illustrate the point:

- In Germany, 46 percent of payments are made by online bank transfer
- In the Netherlands, 60 percent of payments are by made by direct debit
- More than 50 percent of payments in the Czech Republic are cash on delivery

  • Taxes and duties – It’s likely that every country you sell to will levy a tax on the goods sold. The most common tax is VAT, which is charged by most of Europe, China, India, Canada and much of South America and Africa. Before selling internationally, it’s essential you understand the VAT rules in that country and take the necessary steps to register and file your returns.
  • Allowing customers to pay in their own currency – Just as customers like to buy products in their native language, they also value the comfort and convenience that comes from paying in their own currency. Only accepting pounds sterling (GBP) is the simplest approach – certainly in terms of settlement and accounting – but it could cost you customers. Choosing a payment gateway that allows foreign currency transfers could be a wise business decision.

Localisation expertise from Linguistica International

We offer an international localisation and transcreation service to engage overseas customers and compel them to act. Call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com to find out how we can help.

Multilingual email marketing

Why Multilingual Email Marketing Matters in 2019

Firstly, before we delve into why a multilingual email marketing campaign could be the driving force behind the expansion of your business this year, we’d like to wish all our readers a happy 2019! With the Christmas break over, business owners across the UK will be looking for new ways to take their business to the next level, and we think multilingual email marketing is a cost-effective way to provide the impetus you need.

Every year, new technologies come along and transform the way we communicate with existing and potential customers, but email is still the most effective.

A study by the ecommerce software firm Monetate found that 4.24 percent of visitors make a purchase due to email marketing, compared with 2.49 percent of visitors from search engines and just 0.59 percent from social media. The average value of an order from an email customer is also three times that of a social media visitor. So, while it might be old hat by modern standards, email marketing still pulls in the crowds.

The easy way to start selling to foreign markets

There are numerous benefits associated with multilingual email marketing when compared to other methods of communicating with an overseas audience.

The cost is one of the most compelling benefits. Rather than spending money on pay-per-click adverts or sponsored posts on social media, you can create a single email that can be sent to thousands of potential new customers. The only cost you’ll have to consider is the creation of the email itself, including its translation into the target language. You may also have to think about how you’ll acquire the email addresses of prospective customers if that’s something you don’t have.

Email marketing also provides a high level of conversions and gives you the certainty that your marketing messages are sure to reach your target audience. That’s something other media, such as social media ads and other digital marketing methods, may not deliver.

How to create a great multilingual email marketing campaign

1. Familiarise yourself with the most popular email marketing tools

If you’re planning to send out emails en masse, it’s well worth exploring some of the most popular email marketing tools such as MailChimp and Benchmark. They make it much easier to design visually appealing messages that will capture the attention of your target market. You can also automate much of the process and measure the success of your campaigns against a range of metrics.

2. Create personalised messages

A good marketing email will address the recipient by their name and use friendly and informal language. If you are targeting prospective customers in more than one foreign market, you must adapt the language, the format, the images you use and even the colours to meet the cultural expectations of every audience.

3. Use professional translators

It should go without saying that if you plan on sending emails to thousands of customers in a new market, you must use professional mother-tongue translators to make sure that every message is word perfect. Any mistakes you make will damage the trust of consumers potentially irreparably and have a lasting impact on sales.

4. Segment emails for every customer

If you plan on taking multilingual email marketing seriously, it’s essential you segment the campaign based on the objectives of your business (e.g. launch a new product, build loyalty, create a subscribers list etc.). You must know exactly which emails have been sent to customers and when to create a cohesive campaign.

5. Measure the impact of every change you make

You will not create the perfect multilingual email on the first attempt. It takes time to create messaging that optimises open rates and conversions. Even something seemingly as simple as the subject line will have a huge impact on whether the email is opened and read or immediately trashed. Measuring the effect of every little change will allow you to fine-tune your email to create a cost-effective conversion machine.

How can we help?

Is 2019 the year you turn your small business into a growing international operator? At Linguistica International, we’re ready and waiting to translate your multilingual emails into more than 200 languages. Call 02392 987 765, email info@linguistica-international.com or try our quote generator today.