There comes a time when every business realises that to accelerate their growth they need to look outside of their home territory at international B2B eCommerce. There are of course many barriers to expansion, but one of the big ones is language. And whilst the obvious choice for UK businesses therefore might be to only look at other English speaking territories this doesn’t have to be the case. Brexit may be causing huge issues at the moment for UK exporters but Europe still has huge potential and there are some things that can be done to help mitigate some of the issues caused.
So what is the best way to set up international wholesale and distributor businesses and are there tools out there that can help?
Amazon is the absolute king of international and multi-language eCommerce. You might think that with the power of the almighty Amazon brand behind them they could simply have the .com website with different language options and sit back and reap the rewards. But they understand that to be successful you need to not only speak to international customers in their own language but also tailor your offer so that they feel your service is specifically for them. That’s why Amazon’s model is to set up an in-country Amazon website in the local language. In countries like China they might do this through acquisition but either way they ensure they have an in-country presence that helps them dominate whichever new territory they enter.
Also remember that some countries such as Germany won’t even let you sell in their country if you don’t have your site in their language. So whilst the in-country store is not mandatory, the translation is.
What are the things to consider when looking to translate your website into different languages and expand with international B2B eCommerce?
Get the best possible translation done
It might be tempting to use a free online translation tool but do this at your peril. Whilst they are getting more and more sophisticated they still can’t pick up on the nuances of language and a badly translated site is at best irritating and at worst truly damaging to your brand. There is an art to translation – it’s not just about the words but about the meaning as well. Ensure you choose a partner that uses proper translation services and not free tools.
Consider your website design
Different languages have different length words and so if space is tight the translated version may not fit. Also think about imagery, different images can have different connotations in some cultures and it’s important to understand this so you don’t cause unwanted offence. Luckily this is less of a problem with international eCommerce sites as the main imagery is product but it’s still critical to think about it before you go live.
Remember localised formats
Different countries have different formats for things such as dates, numbers, measurements and weights. For example American dates are the reverse of the UK and French numbers use commas instead of full stops. Ensure your multi-language eCommerce website gets these details right.
Have an in-country store
It is better to set up a unique URL for your store in whichever country you want to expand into. This helps with many things. It feels more local to the audience and therefore more tailored and it helps navigate some of the issues currently being faced by UK exporters due to Brexit.
Use localised payment services
Some payments such as PayPal are used around the world. Other systems are more country specific. Ensure you offer one that is well recognised and trusted in the country you are expanding in. There is nothing worse than having to use an unfamiliar payment method. It can completely erode trust and lose you the sale.
But how can smaller wholesalers and distributors achieve all this without huge bills to set up their new international online stores?
Look for white label services such as our b2b.store that offers an international package. It is an eCommerce platform designed specifically for B2B markets that works across mobile, desktop and tablet. The platform is a subscription-based offer meaning there are zero entry costs compared to traditional eCommerce systems. Premium features such as the international package are charged on a monthly basis and can be quickly turned on and off. With the international package you get your very own dedicated in-country, in-language presence exactly like the Amazon model.
b2b.store has partnered with a translation agency to ensure accurate translation that won’t let you down. There are a number of translations that already exist meaning you can be up and running in a matter of days once you have everything else in place. But if you have bespoke requirements these can also be delivered within weeks rather than months.
So in conclusion, getting your international eCommerce website up and running in international markets doesn’t need to be costly or time consuming if you partner with the right team. At b2b.store we’re helping UK wholesalers and distributors expand internationally with a risk free commercial model.
For more information about how b2b.store could help you sell internationally, please get in touch with the team on the link below.Contact Play Video