Retail trends: all roads lead to ecommerce localization


Traditional and digital commerce seem to be merging more and more. Physical brick-and-mortar stores that still lack ecommerce generally aim for digital commerce, and the current trend is for e-stores to open bricks and mortar equivalents.

The concept of ecommerce thus continues to expand, and its current importance will probably change entirely in the future.

Optimizing language management processes is every bit as relevant.

It's said that consumers no longer distinguish between digital commerce and traditional retail stores, but rather tend to window shop online even if they subsequently choose to make the purchase at a physical store. Consequently, customer flows between physical and digital sales channels go in both directions, rather than only in the direction of the Internet.


Retail trends: eco-friendliness and resource optimization 

At a recent ecommerce and retail fair, we could find exhibitors operating in several different industries. Many of them offer packaging solutions, which are naturally important in terms of achieving clean freight alternatives, but they are also important for achieving aesthetically pleasing packaging for products ordered online. Several printing firms had packaging samples on display with impressive and attractive printing.

A number of businesses also had pretty gift packaging and paper bags on hand. One such example is Bong Retail Solutions, which has an eco-friendly profile and uses raw materials from the local Swedish forest for its paper. Avisera was another exhibitor, which replants trees in Colombia for products with the ÅterBära label; the label guarantees that the products are completely climate neutral.

GöteborgsTryckeriet had some cylinder-shaped paper containers on display that looked like charming little colorful men, as well as some beautiful and stylish boxes.

eco-friendly ecommerce packaging

Storeteam also has an eco-friendly profile. Storeteam markets entirely recyclable shopping carts whose climate impact is three times lower than that of regular metal shopping carts. Some of the products were manufactured from composite materials that contain residual wood fibers.

One important aspect involves offering solutions that simplify the purchasing process — a process which can sometimes be perceived as complicated, even to the point that the customer might decide not to complete the purchase. Tellus Talk offers message services to businesses, which enable SMS messages, emails and faxes to be sent and received anywhere in the world without the necessity of installation. Samsung Pay enables simple mobile payments, while Masterpass facilitates secure online card payments.

Web agency Krokedil was also there. Krokedil specializes in WordPress and WooCommerce — the world’s most utilized platforms for online publication and digital commerce. WooCommerce is an open source platform which is installed as a free WordPress plug-in.

Heymo offers a website builder that helps customers construct their own websites. Could an integration solution perhaps be feasible in the future for translating texts that are published on all of the websites?

One wonderfully colorful exhibitor was Rodeco, which markets easy-to-assemble playgrounds in several European countries. The company already has marketing materials in several different languages.


Ecommerce translations can and should also be optimized

Many products and services related to ecommerce aim to simplify processes for customers and consumers in various ways. On offer are time-saving content solutions that enable websites to be built at lightening speed, payment processes to be simplified and stocks/picking/assembly/packing of orders to be optimized. Streamlining language management processes should be every bit as relevant for retail and ecommerce managers as any of the above.


Is in-house translation the answer for retail localization?

At the beginning of their expansion to the international market, many businesses initially translate their printed materials. Presentation materials and brochures are generally the first to be translated, and websites eventually need to be localized as well.

Make sure you convey your message in a consistent and professional manner — in all of the languages in all of your markets!

It's not unusual for a business to attempt to resolve its initial translation needs by translating materials in-house. This often happens with the assistance of multilingual employees and distributors in the countries where the products are marketed. This is a common practice, and up to a certain level and volume, it can work tolerably well.

However, more mature companies sometimes also attempt to translate their materials in-house, despite the difficulties and obstacles they encounter along the way. What are the disadvantages of trying to keep all this localization work in-house?


Disadvantages of handling your ecommerce translations in-house

  • Lack of structure for organizing the content that is produced in the various languages. Files might be spread out at the different local offices and lack coordination.
  • The employees who translate in-house may work in different file formats and generally do not utilize translation tools, which means achieving consistency in terms of style and terminology is problematic. When it is time for the texts to be updated at a later stage, the process generally has to start from scratch since the previous translations have not been stored in a translation memory.
  • A global content partner engages reliable and professional translators who only translate to their native language — an important aspect which is generally difficult for a business to live up to that utilizes its own employees for its translation needs.
  • Even if the company’s employees translate to their native language, they are generally not trained writers or translators with industry-specific expertise; rather, these employees generally work in a completely different area.
  • Another issue is that it usually takes a layperson much longer to translate a text than it does for a professional translator. And as we all know, time is money. Even if companies feel like there is no extra expense involved when translations are performed in-house, this is not really the case since the time spent by an employee on translations is not free of charge.

Why invest in professional translation services?

Language and content providers have the resources available to engage multiple translators, speed up the process and reduce time-to-market for their clients. All of this can make a major difference in sales since a website can potentially be launched several months earlier, for example.

Many businesses are pleasantly surprised to learn how a translation provider uses translation tools to recycle any recurring segments in the material and to achieve consistency in the style and terminology of the translated material, even when the translations are performed at different points in time, by different translators and to and from different languages.

Each customer of a translation agency has one translation memory per language pair. This working method greatly facilitates terminology management, which is otherwise frequently cited as a problematic issue by companies that translate their texts in-house. As long as the customer is available to answer questions regarding unfamiliar company-specific terms and designations, a professional translator can cope with material from most companies, regardless of their operations.

Approved terms can be entered into a termbase which can contain as many languages as necessary, thus enabling professional terminology management and uniform and consistent translations.

As is the case in most businesses, the longer the cooperation, the greater the opportunities to provide truly great service — in this case, translations.


Final thoughts

All companies today need to communicate their brand in a consistent way, regardless of the channel or language used. Translation and localization are just the most important strategies we have at our disposal to achieve just that.

Surveys show that visitors to websites written in the local language tend to trust those sites more and stay on them longer, and are consequently more inclined to purchase items through them.

Make sure you convey your message in a consistent and professional manner — in all of the languages, in all of your markets.

Learn about the benefits of linking your content management system (CMS) to our translation management system (TMS) in our blog:

Ecommerce localization: how to connect your CMS with a TMS