Ask the Experts: How to Optimize Your Website for International Customers

by Neal Kaiser

Neal-Kaiser-Upshot-Commerce-medium-150x150Q: What are the best ways to optimize my site to provide a great experience for international customers?

A: Localization is the best way to drive international ecommerce sales. Some of the most effective ways to do this are by offering native-language sites and local currency/payment options for customers. Providing a familiar ecommerce experience to customers – akin to what they would get from a company based in their home country – offers customers a degree of comfort important in these kinds of transactions, and helps reduce barriers to conversion.

Native-language ecommerce sites can give companies a distinct advantage over competitors in the international market. Surveys suggest that for as many as 50 percent of international customers, a native-language experience is more important than the cost of an item. Moreover, as many as a third of customers will ignore sites that only offer an English-language browsing experience. Providing a native-language experience does not necessarily mean a complete translation and overhaul of your existing site. Making changes to even part of your site (such as the landing page and checkout) can go a long way toward winning over international customers.

Additionally, listing prices in local currencies – and including the cost of taxes or duties and providing accurate shipping costs up front – go a long way toward helping to convert international customers. High shipping costs and taxes – especially if not made readily apparent – can result in abandoned carts. Having an ecommerce platform that can calculate and display multiple currencies, provide accurate tax information, and integrate seamlessly into your shipping platform will place you at an important advantage when taking your brand overseas.