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 Wednesday, 29th February 2012, 17:11:48

E-commerce market faces global challenges

E-commerce market faces global challenges

The popularity of the online retail market seems likely to continue unabated.

All signs point to the fact that, the more consumers who become web users, the more they will use the web to shop.

To all intents and purposes, there are infinite possibilities.

As such, businesses need to make sure that they have a positive and impressive web presence that appeals to their target audience.

But what about when companies want to appeal to a wider range of consumers? How can they make their sites suited to an international audience?

It is a dilemma that a number of firms have to face and, as Ofer Shosan, the chief executive and co-founder pointed out, there are a number of challenges when it comes to translating web content.

For example, online sites must take into consideration the cultural differences between countries that speak the same language.

The Spanish spoken in Spain is different to that spoken in Latin America, just as the Portugese used in Portugal is distinctive from the language heard in Brazil.

Failure to tailor the web's language content specifically to its target audience could make them think that the company is not aimed at them, or worse, that the firm is ignorant of the cultural differences between countries.

Even the smallest details can influence whether the consumer perceives the website to be targeted at them, and how accessible the information is.

For example, it is important to consider the date structure, the currency and the measurements used in each country.

Companies will also need to take into account the different characters and writing styles used in other places.

Sites tailored to an Arabic audience could be particularly difficult to customise, as translating them would require the development of right-to-left adaptation capabilities from the website.

Of course, sometimes it is not only language and cultural differences that get lost in translation.

Mr Shosan notes that there are times when the major cost of the operation is not a translation so much as developing a new website with the Content Management System (CMS) capable of handling multiple versions of the same content.

A number of companies are cashing in on this growing international need.

Translia offers 24–hour turnaround of web content and Keylingo specialises in translating complex documents such as technical manuals, scientific scripts and legal papers.

These services will become inceasingly valuable as the global e-commerce market grows.

Figures from JP Morgan predict that worldwide e-commerce transactions will reach $963 billion (£600 billion) by 2013.

Some of the biggest online retail markets are those which would require multiple language translations, as the Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow by 27 per cent, compared with just 13.2 per cent in Europe and 12.4 per cent in the US.

Of course, once a business has created a multinational internet site, they will then have to consider what many believe to be the next generation of online retail – m-commerce, or mobile commerce.

This refers to making purchases using one's smartphone or tablet.

Online retailers, for example, will have to make sure that their websites are available in a format which is supported these mobile devices.

After all, Apple has just announced that the launch of the highly anticipated iPad 3 is imminent (it will happen in San Francisco on March 7th).

The popularity of the mobile device seems unlikely to abate any time soon, as these arguably make using the internet even easier and more convenient.

And what of social media? Will it continue to be key to e-commerce marketing? The answer seems to be yes, but not in the way one would expect.

Most experts can agree that the 'word of mouth' brand referral that one gets through social media sites such as Facebook is invaluable, marketing-wise.

However, Jeremiah Johnston, president of the International Commerce Association, believes that even Facebook will eventually become passé in the realm of internet shoppers.

"Facebook isn't always going to be cool, especially for a younger generation. If you're seeking a young audience and a trendsetting audience, you're going to have to look for the next online community," he said.ADNFCR-1984-ID-801306546-ADNFCR

Categories:  |  Online Marketing / Search  |  Ecommerce  |  

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