You may have heard the terms “digital transformation” and “localization” thrown around in the marketing world, but what do they really mean, and how do they fit together? Why Digital Transformation Should Be Your Top Localization Strategy
What is a digital transformation?
To digitally transform a business is to begin integrating technology across all its parts, including design, manufacture, inventory management, marketing, and customer service. One famous example of digital transformation is that executed by Adobe, who shifted from physical software to a cloud-based platform. Why Digital Transformation Should Be Your Top Localization Strategy
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Other examples include:
- Moving from physical stores to e-commerce websites, or supplementing traditional stores with e-commerce
- Installing chatbots to replace or supplement phone-based customer service
- Collecting data and analyzing it to personalize customer content, for example, by asking consumers to complete online surveys or take part in online focus groups
- Building digital products, such as apps, and using them as a new source of revenue
- Using in-store digital interfaces, such as those used by McDonald’s, to help customers choose and customize orders
By intentionally undergoing a digital transformation, a business addresses the gap between its current operations and what customers expect from 21st-century companies. It’s rapidly becoming standard practice across many sectors. In 2019, spending on digital transformation will exceed $2 trillion.
What is localization?
To localize a business is to adapt it to suit a location-specific market. For instance, if an American business wants to sell their products to customers in France, they will need to localize them for a French market. This usually entails adopting a business model for speakers of other languages.
Many people think of localization as a translation process. It’s true that translating copy to a different language is often necessary, but a business also needs to take into account cultural sensitivities, local laws and regulations, and local market factors.
You may need to use an external service when adapting a product or service for a new audience, especially with regards to translation. “Look for a localization companies review website,” says the CEO at PickWriters. “You need to choose someone with a track record in successfully localizing brands for new markets. Mistakes in this area can be very costly.”
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How does digital transformation assist in localization?
Why Digital Transformation Should Be Your Top Localization Strategy. Once you have understood the principles of localization, you can appreciate the ways in which technology can facilitate the process.
Let’s look at how digital transformation helps a company bring their products to a new market:
- Building or refreshing an e-commerce store lets you sell goods and services to a wider audience.
The most obvious example of digital transformation is a move from traditional sales to e-commerce. When you make your products and services available online, you have taken the first step to expanding your international reach without the need to build traditional stores or offices.
Creating a multilingual website has never been easier, thanks to out-of-the-box themes and plugins especially designed for internal e-commerce stores. When you give customers the chance to read about your products in their own language, they are much more likely to make a purchase.
- Technology facilitates multilingual, cost-effective customer service.
Customers prefer to interact with customer service agents who can speak or write in their native language. Embracing technology that allows you to hire and train remote workers living in your target region enables you to provide a localized service that enhances the customer experience, whether by phone, email, social media, or live chat.
Digital helpdesks have revolutionized customer service; choose the right software, and your employees will be able to answer support tickets from customers around the world. If you cannot hire human agents, chatbot applications are another option. They are programmed in multiple languages, thus providing a localized support experience.
- If you have a traditional store, you can use technology to monitor customer purchases, manage inventory, and shape your strategy in response to their behavior.
The retail Internet of Things (IoT) is an increasingly popular framework for companies looking to streamline their supply chain, reduce waste, and keep stores stocked with their most popular products. Smart shelves, tack and trace sensors, and store cameras help track products from source to point of sale.
This information is especially useful when breaking into a new market because it gives you an insight into what your customers want most. You can then adjust your supply process and inventory accordingly.
- Choosing the right online payment platform allows you to cater to local preferences.
When researching your new audience, find out whether they prefer to pay by card, PayPal, or another online platform. Integrate it into your website, and customers will feel more comfortable making a purchase.
- Digital marketing and research allow a business to plan how they can serve new markets, and to understand what their target demographic is looking for in a product or service.
You no longer have to rely on in-person interviews or focus groups to understand what your customers want and expect. Online research can provide you with all the information you need, including growth statistics in your sector and the tactics your competitors have used to penetrate new markets. Why Digital Transformation Should Be Your Top Localization Strategy
You can also conduct one-on-one or group interviews via video conferencing or live chat. It’s best to recruit local researchers to do this work. They are in a better position to build rapport with your market, which will result in more useful data.
Social media marketing also lets you hone in on your target market and share content that resonates with their cultural and linguistic preferences. Work with translators and consultants who understand the region to develop a content strategy that will win you a new fan base. Automated marketing software makes it easy to schedule social media posts and send promotional emails to prospective customers. Why Digital Transformation Should Be Your Top Localization Strategy
Digital transformation and localization keeps you competitive
Eighty-eight percent of companies are currently undergoing a digital transformation, and many are trying to go global. To keep up with your competitors, you need to embrace new technology. Formulating a comprehensive localization strategy that draws on the latest innovations is essential if you want to deliver an outstanding customer experience, whatever your market.
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer. You can find her on Facebook and Medium.