When people want to know more about a product or service, their first instinct is to go online and visit the company’s website. On the site, they will find everything from the company’s brand story to a gallery of the products they sell, typically accompanied by descriptions.
If you’ve designed your website well, your visitors will easily navigate through the pages and find what they are seeking. Eventually, they locate the Contact Us page and either get your number or fill out an inquiry form. These are the natural steps of any visitor who understands the website they’re exploring.
A person, on the other hand, who can’t make sense of the site because it is in a language foreign to them will quickly hit the back button or close the tab altogether. It happens more often than you think. Why? The problem is that many businesses believe it’s enough that their website is in English because it is the default language of business. While this is true, it doesn’t mean that all your website visitors will speak it or understand it.
According to Internet World Stats, only 25.3% of the Internet users of the world speak English with Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian and Arabic as some of the other top languages spoken by the most active Internet users. The most number of Internet users are from Asia, followed by Europe.
A single language website makes sense if you have no intention to sell to an international market. However, if you, like most companies, want to strengthen your brand and gain a global reputation, then you need to ensure your message reaches a worldwide audience.
When you make your website content available in other languages, you invite more people to get to know your brand better. You improve engagement and therefore, build trust. A site in the languages your international customer speaks results in better communication, so they won’t be left with too many questions how your products work or what your services include. With a website they could fully understand, you enhance their overall customer experience. It creates a better position to make an informed purchasing decision.
Many e-commerce sites find that they can increase revenue by offering worldwide shipping. However, most online shoppers will only buy from a website they trust; it would be hazardous for them to provide their personal information and payment details on a site where they couldn’t understand terms and conditions. They would worry about placing an order in error. And if they receive the wrong item, they wouldn’t know how to arrange a return or replacement.
According to Common Sense Advisory, 75% of the 3,000 surveyed global consumers said that they prefer to buy products on a website in their native language. In fact, 60% admitted that they would rarely or never buy from an English-only site.
Remember, good business is built on relationships, and you can’t establish one if there is a language barrier that keeps you from communicating effectively. Website translation and localization is a small price to pay when you think about the returns of global reach, improved customer experiences, and increased sales.