Localization 101 – The First Five Steps

Growing your global business is an ongoing process that takes careful consideration, and requires you to provide a localized experience for each market you move into.

Your goal is to create comfort and convenience at every stage of the buying process. When you localize the shopping experience for your customers, they will feel comfortable buying your products because the experience is familiar to them. If the buying process feels awkward and unnatural, your customers will bow out and find a more comfortable place to purchase.

To successfully localize, you must understand your customers’ preferences and how they vary from place to place. It’s so much more than just translating product descriptions. There are many very important elements to consider.

In this blog post, we will discuss the first five steps of expanding your international reach with true localization. HINT: It involves lots of research.

Step 1. Know where your customers are coming from

As an online merchant, it is vital for you to capture information on your traffic sources. If you’re not currently analyzing the regional sources of your traffic this is your first step in your research.

You simply can’t rely on ambiguous, general research. You need precise data about your customer base and your products, not a broad ecommerce data dump. Look at your analytics and determine exactly which countries and regions your traffic is coming from.

Step 2. Identify which languages your customers use

Looking at traffic sources by territory presents only part of the big picture. For example, just because a visitor comes from the U.S. doesn’t necessarily mean that an English-language shopping cart is best for them.

Just like at a brick-and-mortar store, customers prefer to shop in their native language. Make sure to analyze which languages your customers are using in their browsers, and cross-reference the regional data.

Step 3. Find out who is not converting

Once you discover where your traffic is coming from and what browser language that traffic uses, you should figure out which demographic is abandoning your site without completing their orders. This will give you a good idea of which markets would make the most sense to enter.

By identifying your target markets, you won’t have to spend time trying to localize your store to suit hundreds of regions and countries. You can feel confident focusing on the customers in your target audience because your research backs it up.

Step 4. Determine which markets make the most sense to enter

Once you have an understanding of where your traffic is coming from, your ability to optimize your product offering for global visitors is greatly enhanced. This analysis will help you determine if you should market to the entire world or just a few other countries.

By using data to pinpoint your target audience, you can be precise and meaningful about which areas to spend time and resources on. Now you are ready to get to know those new customers.

Step 5. Start your research on the five major elements of checkout process localization

Do as much research as you can on these important localization factors within the markets your research has identified.

  • Languages – Go beyond auto-translated words into truly localized content.
  • Payment Methods and Currency– Know which payment methods are the most popular and why. Find out how they work.
  • Pricing Strategy – Dig deep into the cultural norms and find success stories.
  • Design – Understand what successful design looks like in your key markets.
  • Tax Regulations – Learn as much as possible about the specific rules and regulations.

That should keep you busy for a while. But if you’re looking to minimize your efforts and start growing your global business today, reach out and send us a message. We’ll be happy to discuss your plans for broadening your market.


Effective localization is imperative to global ecommerce success. But it takes time and resources to expand your international reach. So make sure you have a solid strategy that includes research as the first step.

For a deeper dive into localization, check out our 7 Tips for Growing Your Global Subscriber Base.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.