What explains the rapid growth of online B2B sales? Scalability of cloud platforms and mobile access began the acceleration. The changing needs of buyers and the current sales environment shifted it into high gear. As business processes, logistics, and warehousing become automated, we expect business purchasing to keep pace. For global businesses, B2B e-commerce translation has become a necessity for global sales growth.
According to recent data, 90% of business buyers would prefer to complete transactions via self-service. And 52% of B2B buyers consider online self-service the *most* important factor of a business’s online presence. A multilingual, optimized website with e-commerce capabilities will increase sales of products and services.
Website translation for cross-border e-commerce requires much more than just choosing an e-commerce platform. Accurate, compelling, well-crafted content in the buyers’ native language is essential. We often see incompletely translated websites that assume English proficiency on the part of the user. Worse, some businesses rely on Google Translate and other search engine-based tools. Customers can use these tools to “translate” webpages and read them in their own language. However, customers can’t find your site if it has not been correctly translated and optimized for local search.
For best results, follow these best practices for B2B e-commerce translation.
Reach across organizational silos before you begin
Your organization researched whether to enter foreign markets in the first place. Leverage this research in planning for e-commerce. The findings can provide a useful foundation for keyword research as well as overall content strategy.
Establish priorities and limits
Market research can help decide whether to translate the whole site at once, or to focus on top-selling items in a particular market. It can also help you decide whether to localize according to language (one site for all German-speaking countries) or according to country (German-language content for Austria, Germany, and Switzerland).
Don’t be stingy
Using the language of your target market improves search rankings. Once you’ve determined how much of the site to translate, do not skimp on product descriptions. Some online merchants will localize the pricing, shipping, and sizing information, but leave the actual descriptions in English. Don’t make this mistake. Buyers want all relevant information in their own language.
Your language service partner (LSP) can help you by creating multilingual glossaries for keyword research. Once keywords and phrases have been established, translators can include them in page content, tags, and metadata. This research can also help establish the foundation for in-country PPC advertising. In addition, make sure your language partner translates metadata, URLs, and other essential content. For a thorough review of best practices, download our free resource “10 steps for core international SEO.”
What about additional product marketing content?
In addition to establishing a multilingual web presence, you should consider translation for the following content as well.
For many B2B sites, detailed product information is included in the form of a downloadable PDF or via demonstrations on streaming video. This content may need periodic updates. A professional LSP uses tools that maintain translation memories of all translated content. This means your LSP can make updates and changes without needing to translate an entire piece of content over again.
Buyers get a lot out of informational video. If you include localized video overviews and demonstrations, choose foreign language voice-overs. Subtitles can distract the viewer from visual aspects of your product.
You marketing material on the site may need careful customization for a particular culture or subculture. Transcreation combines translation and native language copywriting. If you plan to use multilingual social media, create and translate posts for these. Customer education and relationship management tends to be ongoing. This content will require attention as well.
B2B sales have unique requirements such as tiered pricing levels and customized products. This creates more complexity in the localization process. User interfaces need to be localized to accommodate not just different languages, but different layouts, patterns of syntax, and user expectations. Finally, consider the frequency with which you intend to update your site. If your LSP expects complex localization engineering issues, they may recommend a proxy or other automated translation management service.
B2B e-commerce translation helps you compete in a globalized world. Choose a language service partner with digital savvy and experience. We invite you to talk with Scriptis to learn more about the complexities of e-commerce localization.