3. Being seen as ‘foreign’
This is a problem that seems to predominantly afflict companies from countries where English is the native language. While many people around the world understand English, e-commerce retailers miss big opportunities when they fail to transcreate their content into local languages.
A 2014 survey carried out by the Common Sense Advisory found that among 3,000 consumers across 10 countries, 59% would never make a purchase from an English-only website. That’s a lot of lost custom.
What you can do:
- Offer payment in the local currency, as outlined above
- Use a local country code, such as .au for Australia or .my for Malaysia
- Choose images that are appropriate to each market. A ‘thumbs up’ sign means ‘OK’ in many cultures, but is viewed as an obscene gesture in the Arab world as well as in parts of West Africa and South America
- Don’t settle for a literal translation of your website (or even worse use a translation engine). Instead, use a professional ‘transcreation’ agency who will adapt your website to other markets, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context.
4. Being lumbered with the wrong platform
Just as choosing the right location is critical for a bricks and mortar store, so is selecting the right platform for your e-commerce store. An older legacy system, particularly one that was custom-built for you when you were just starting out, may seriously handicap your potential for growth. As you expand into new markets and territories, you may find that problems with your platform start to mount up. It may struggle to cope with multiple currencies, require more and more third-party apps to provide basic functions, or be incapable of working with advanced technologies like chatbots or artificial intelligence.
Changing platforms can be disruptive, and the longer you leave it before moving to one that’s better suited to your needs, the more disruptive it’ll get.
What you can do:
- Start by thinking about what you want your business to look like in the future. Not just 12 months from now but 12 years from now
- Be prepared to do lots of homework. The e-commerce platform market is a crowded one, and names like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Volusion are just some of the players
- Your prime considerations should be security, customization, flexibility and scalability
- Consider whether you will require a platform that includes content management functionality
- Check whether increasingly popular functions such as AI and chat systems are included in the platform package or whether they’re available as plugins that incur additional monthly subscriptions
- Check that the platform can work with all the disparate methods of payment you’ll need, such as Intuit, Skrill and digital wallets
- Make sure the platform is capable of optimizing your site for mobile, which now accounts for more than half of all e-commerce revenue.