Localization Follows Global E-Commerce Boom

The L2 Intelligence Report: Localization 2015 published on September 16, 2015 provides an in-depth look at various areas of the localization efforts of global brands. Global e-commerce continues to rise, with a 20% increase in online retail sales to $840 billion in 2014. And localization is tagging along with the growth of e-commerce, as international brands are being driven to localize as much of their digital content as possible to reach and engage with new markets.

According to an excerpt of the report, the lion’s share of e-commerce growth is coming out of Asia, with China leading the world in terms of e-commerce adoption followed by the US. And it’s not just Chinese brands that are embracing the e-commerce boom. Online retail is international, and the report shows how brands are approaching borderless branding.

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Only half of the global brands included in the report put in localization efforts, and only a third tailor site blogs and other types of editorial content for local audiences.

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The graph above, taken from the report excerpt, shows what brands invest their localization resources in. Almost all brands localize their product and service solutions, followed by campaign and landing pages and then marketing material.

For e-commerce sites, product and service solution webpages are the most numerous and busiest areas of their websites, and it makes practical sense to localize these as much as possible or based on target audience preference. The entire graph reflects e-commerce marketing localization budgets: many brands appear to typically invest in direct campaigns and less on content-driven marketing such as blogs.

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The chart above shows what formats of content on global brand sites get the most attention when it comes to localization. Video is often the first or second format of choice as it remains the most engaging. Homepages and reviews are also very important for e-commerce companies. After all, homepages are typically one of the most branded and visited areas of a website, and reviews provide social vetting and proof for customers in the purchase decision stage of the sales funnel.

The report excerpt also highlights a few challenges for brand localization. Standardized pricing, for instance, is quite tricky, and currently there does not exist a single localization experience across sites — brands vary widely on how they go about localization.

Marketers will spend $540 billion globally on marketing in 2015 with $130 billion devoted to integrated online advertising. Branding dominates online advertising with 45% or $58 billion dollars, according to Ad Age and eMarketer. To help make sense of the booming global marketing trend, Slator will be holding an executive roundtable in Beijing on November 5. Kevin Gentle, Digital Strategy Director of China-originated brand consultancy Lab Brand, will talk about implementing global campaigns with local proficiency during the discussion. Register here to reserve one of the limited number of seats in the event.

Gino Diño

Content strategy expert and Online Editor for Slator; father, husband, gamer, writer―not necessarily in that order.