Localising Your Website And Expanding Your Market

chris-authorBy Chris Donnelly (@donnelcs)


What is website localisation?

Website localisation means adapting the content of your website for local audiences. This spans many tasks but the primary and most impactful localisation factor is language translation.

Day by day, millions more people around the globe are gaining access to the internet with current projections predicting that the whole world will be online by 2030. This means the opportunity for ecommerce sales is growing exponentially and businesses from all sectors need to adapt their online business models to cater for the way that customers around the globe want to buy their products. Here at Verb we provide strategic consultancy to our clients to show the value that language and localisation can have upon their business, guiding them through the best decisions to make with regards to their international ecommerce strategy.

The Opportunity:

Cross-border online trade for the UK, the US, Germany, the Nordics, the Netherlands and France is expected to grow fivefold from 15 billion pounds in 2013 to 79 billion in 2020 (and sevenfold globally).

Hard-hitting facts about language & localisation:

  • Customers are four times more likely to buy from a website in their own language.
  • Website users stay twice as long if a website is in their own language
  • 90% of European internet users visit websites in their own language

90%-graphic-language (1)

Stop focusing upon 1 country and 1 language. Adapt your website and optimise it for international trade.

Understanding the challenge

You have to choose the languages and strategies that fit your products, your services and your marketplace.

The largest markets for ecommerce are the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Japan and Brazil. To put this in perspective, the US and Western Europe only account for 12% of the world’s population but they command 60% of online buying power.


Adapting your website and content to serve languages like Bulgarian or Polish because they are European countries may not bring you the dividends you had hoped for. Businesses must examine and analyse the opportunity presented by serving different languages and consider the cost to benefit ratio of opening up new markets.

Other languages like Arabic, Indonesian, Hindu, Farsi and Hebrew are typically represented poorly online despite belonging to large populations that are showing an enormous rise in online shopping. A quick tip – languages like Arabic and Hebrew are written and understood right-to-left so this will have implications on the text, website configuration and navigation if you want to truly engage with your new customers.

These differences simply highlight the need for a fully tailored localisation strategy for the countries you are targeting with your products and services.

Our experience can guide you in identifying the right marketplace for your business and implementing the right digital strategies to capture your audience. To get in touch to discuss your business, click here.

To read part 2: How to execute the right Localisation Success click here

Sources: OC&C & Google | Capita | Iwoca | Internet world stats: www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm | Grow Global Limited: growglobal.com