Stripe Says Lack of Translation Most Common Error in European E-commerce

Stripe Language Localization and Translation Research - Three Basic Errors in Ecommerce

Online payment portal Stripe (which also powers Slator’s e-commerce store) found the lack of translation to be the most common error during customer checkout at the top 450 European e-commerce websites.

The San Francisco-based company, which made headlines in mid-April for being Silicon Valley’s most valuable startup as consumer purchases moved online amid the Covid-19 pandemic, released new research that uncovered three basic errors in the top e-commerce websites of the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Sweden.

The study, entitled The State of European Checkouts in 2020, showed that more than half (58%) of customer checkouts “had at least three basic errors, adding unnecessary friction for customers and complicating the checkout process.” The research went on to show that 9 in 10 lost sales in Europe came from failures on the checkout page.

The most common error: 74% of checkouts did not have local language translations when customers located elsewhere in Europe tried to make a purchase, and failed to offer the most relevant payment options for international customers.

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(The other errors: 42% of Europe’s e-commerce sites did not auto-verify the card number as it was entered; and 45% did not confirm the card type when the card number was entered.)

Among the 74% of checkouts that were not translated into local languages, “Spanish checkouts were the least likely to be localized for other European markets,” according to Stripe. In fact, none of the Spanish checkouts Stripe analyzed were translated into a local language at all during checkout.

“Not translating your checkout [into] the language of your customers […] could cut off entire countries from your addressable market, leading to lost sales” — The State of European Checkouts in 2020 by Stripe

The most likely to be translated into other languages were checkouts in the Netherlands; although these lacked local payment options, the study said.

Highlighting the importance of localization in e-commerce websites, Stripe said, “Not translating your checkout [into] the language of your customers […] could cut off entire countries from your addressable market, leading to lost sales.”

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To localize the checkout experience, Stripe recommends that, first, websites identify the top countries into which they want to sell, and then localize the experience by translating the checkout page. 

Other recommendations include changing the fields to capture the right information per country (e.g., dynamically adding a field for postal/zip code, depending on where the customer’s credit card originates) and dynamically surfacing the correct payment option during checkout based on where a customer is located.