Ecommerce has become a global establishment. More sellers are realizing this wide expanse of opportunity. In fact, by adopting a strategy that breaks down international borders, sellers have achieved a sales growth of 10-15%. It may seem like a huge feat, but with software like PIM, global scalability is much more navigable.
If you want to open your door to ecommerce sales growth, consider using product information management (PIM) software. The following are 7 reasons why PIM can properly support you along with your global ventures.
The Basics of Global Scalability
As a market blooming in potential, investment in global ecommerce, or cross-border commerce, has been growing 14% annually. It’s an entirely different space for selling and shopping than before. For one, sellers can reach billions of users on the internet, mobile, and social media. Shoppers have a wealth of product choices at their fingertips. So it’s not too far-fetched to say that sellers who sell to global markets have a higher chance of ramping up revenue than those selling locally.
That’s where being a business fit for a global scale comes in.
What is “scalability” in ecommerce?
To be well-prepared to grow as a business, you need to employ a scalable plan. Scalability means being able to react to and withstand an upwards change in size. With commerce, it means you’re doing well. You’re ready for the next step.
Growth requires a stable foundation. This entails choosing an adequate sales platform already in the global sphere (Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Rakuten). It also means curating a proper strategy to address the increased demand.
According to Forbes, growth may seem like an insurmountable dream for many new ecommerce sellers. But the truth is, by not preparing to succeed from the get-go, you are already cutting yourself short in the long-run. Scaling in ecommerce means tailoring your business for growth, no matter how far away it seems.
Fortunately, tapping into global markets is a perfect way to grow. After all, by selling products to international consumers, you’re broadening your consumer base.
Benefits of Cross-border Commerce
Recognize that more people globally are populating the digital arena. At least 1 million newcomers jump onto the internet daily. Since January 2020, the total is nearly 4.54 billion active users worldwide. The numbers are monumentally bigger than, for example, the nearly 300 million users in the United States alone. In 2018 alone, at least 27% of people in the U.S. were shopping both within and outside the country. So if you’re a U.S. seller, you are closing yourself off from billions of potential consumers.
Reaching every single corner of the globe is impossible. But by selling in at least a few other countries can make a world of difference.
By scaling globally, you can expect to:
- Target new, far-reaching markets
- Obtain more streams of revenue
- Ramp up your competitive value
Evidently, with success comes great sacrifice. Expanding into new markets, internationally, is a challenge.
Before you can introduce the product to other countries, your content needs to be localized. Translation to the local language is one key component. But localization means much more than that.
If you think deeply about all the commercial differences between various countries, you’ll find quite a bit of work ahead. For instance, many sellers don’t consider that images should be well-optimized for another locale. Speaking of optimization, all SEO keywords should fit the market of other countries. Different locations have completely different search engine results patterns. Of course, the most obvious is translating units and prices.
Another aspect of localization that isn’t immediately clear is cultural accommodation. In other words, a fully localized store takes a country’s social patterns, culture, and consumer behavior into consideration.
PIM for ecommerce global scalability
The good news is, a solution exists. PIM is a software meant to make an ecommerce business more efficient. So for global scalability, PIM can be a supportive tool to lift the weight off your shoulders. Since PIM ensures all product data remains organized and accurate, managing ecommerce growth becomes less complicated. There’s no need for a massive overhaul in order to scale.
That being said, here are the top 7 services PIM provides that can bring your global scalability plans to fruition.
1. Translate content accurately
“Localization is the key to attract and engage new audiences. You should optimize your product content to make it relevant to customers in each of your target countries.”
— Shane Barker, Digital Strategist, Brand, and Influencer Consultant
Content is key to converting visitors to buyers. This principle applies no matter where you are in the world. To be ready to enter markets in other countries, your content must adapt to those locales. To do so, translating content is an obvious strategy. But there’s more to localization than just translation.
The translation is only one part of the extensive project of localization. Admittedly, it is quite a significant part. A prominent 75% of people in non-English speaking countries find it more appealing to shop in their native language. So offering only English doesn’t cut it. How can you expect people in other countries to want to buy from a store that doesn’t offer their language?
Providing a multilingual consumer experience is critical.
However, translating content isn’t as simple as plugging words into Google Translate. It takes some work, a lot of collaboration, and can become more time-consuming than you’d suspect.
What does translating content entail?
When creating product content, the goal is to engage. Writing copy is an art form. The goal of most sellers or companies is to divert energy away from tedious, behind-the-scenes tasks to high-quality marketing.
Imagine your copywriters devised the most creative, unique pieces of content. The landing page looks good. The call-to-actions are subtle yet charming. Product descriptions are rich with detail, with a balance of features and benefits. Now, how can you translate this content into other languages without it losing its meaning? Considering cultural differences, how can you ensure it has the same effect?
All of these aspects are important to remember. You’re not just translating the words, you’re translating the experience.
The struggles of translating
Most of the time, ecommerce sellers employ translation agencies or freelancers, either remote or local. No matter who is doing the job, some issues may come up.
When it comes to language, it can be difficult to accurately translate certain things. Sometimes, translators must play it by ear when it comes to syntax like idioms and metaphors.
A more relevant problem arises in how the product content is managed. Unfortunately, technical issues come up when there’s just so much content to work with. For example, accidental repetition is a big one. In other cases, missing information could be the culprit. Either one results in a dramatic loss in conversions. Understandably, in the process of translating and sharing content, it’s hard to keep track of every detail. But when left unchecked, your localized content will seem unprofessional, insulting even, and may avert many shoppers.
Conquer translating challenges with PIM
With a PIM that includes localization features, you can avoid all of these technical issues. It becomes possible to oversee product page completion – localized or not. This means that you can ensure your content is accurate in another language. If anything is missing or duplicated, the interface points it out.
With such stressors resolved, you can focus on the real essence of a localized, conversion-worthy product page.
The solution lies in not only PIM’s localization but also its experience-focused features. A PIM like Catsy, for example, stands as a PXM (product experience management) software as well. As such, you provide the highest caliber of customer experience with locale-tailored content marketing.
“All cultures have different drivers to get them to purchase something. It isn’t just about having the technology and infrastructure to sell across borders. Make sure you understand the consumer as well.”
Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media
As your business grows, you will be sharing content across more touchpoints. This means sharing content with translators. It also means transmitting freshly localized content onto your sales channels.
As mentioned before, there are multiple types of translating teams. Some sellers with a larger enterprise may have an in-house translating team. Other sellers benefit more from outsourcing the job to freelancers or remote translators. No matter the case, localizing our content will take a lot of communication, teamwork, and sending content back-and-forth.
Let’s say you have a reputable translating team, perhaps for several languages. That means it may take a while to securely send your content. Especially if you hope to localize to more than a few countries – then you have to share with multiple people in multiple locations.
What content do you need to share?
Product content encompasses a few things. Content is all the things that make up an elaborate, strong product page. This includes descriptive text, imagery, features, copy, specs, and dimensions, etc. Most evidently, your translators will require textual aspects.
The struggle in sharing content is in the gathering and compiling. Much like the usual product data woes, localization is also time-consuming. There’s a laborious process of compiling all your spreadsheets before sending because translators will need to translate units and pricing information. Next, come the copying and pasting of product descriptions of many product SKUs. After that, you need to format everything neatly for clarity.
Even after all that, there continues to be a necessary back-and-forth between seller and translators. Additionally, much research is necessary. What hits home to your local consumers – in terms of content – might not do so well with other locales. Research may involve finding out the consumer patterns in that locale, for example. Needless to say, the process might take a few tries before the content is ready.
Keep up with global scalability with PIM’s content sharing
Just as PIM eliminates the need to manually update sales channels, it does the same with sharing content. As a source of product truth, it already holds all the veritable information your translating team needs.
View and track changes
Due to PIM’s auditing feature, the software tracks all content created. Localized versions of content can be side-by-side with the original content. As a result, you cut out the unnecessary time wasted sharing things back and forth.
Because PIM shows all the edits made by the translators, you essentially have full oversight. Nothing can pass you by. PIM’s workflow fosters a notification-driven productivity system. Whenever the translations are done, you are signaled to view and authorize the task’s completion.
On PIM, you have control over who does what. Many sellers may feel hesitant about letting external users onboard software that basically holds their business afloat. Fortunately, PIM maintains role-based access. As the seller, and by default the administrator, you choose what new users can do on the platforms. Not anyone can just go gallivanting around on the platform, editing this and tweaking that.
Save time, distribute content faster
Finally, the time-saving benefits are the highlight of PIM – global scalability takes a lot of time, after all. The preparation, the translating, and other processes are quite intensive. By streamlining these processes, you can share localized content faster. As such, you can jumpstart your localized storefronts as soon as possible. It all amounts to less time wasted, higher return-on-investment.
3. Transform digital assets as you scale
Before the ecommerce boom of the 2010s, selling online was more manageable, more controlled. Today, many sellers have multiple platforms on which they sell items. There are more of the same products competing against each other. Customers want more images to deepen their understanding of a product. Using video is a marketing hit. Let’s not even get into the practicality of 360 spin images.
Furthermore, sellers attempt to display products on more than one marketplace, from Amazon to Instagram. What this implicates is a new need to adapt product media to each platform’s regulations. Needless to say, the enrichment of new media is extremely valuable.
On the flipside, to access that value requires a lot of work, a ton of digital asset files, and sometimes even many variations of the same image. The management of it all can be too much to handle.
Organize digital assets at a global scale
It may seem simple, but it hasn’t always been like this. Without PIM or DAM, you’re forced to upload many different versions of a single photo – thumbnails, various aspect ratios, etc. Now, just one or a few product images suffice – PIM automatically transforms them according to each channel. That means PIM automatically generates a version of a product image that complies with regulations on each platform. This is what makes scaling so simple. Digital assets can keep up with your growth, as you add more products, and as you sell on more platforms.
Hence the importance of using a PIM with DAM functionality. Although this significance may initially seem unrelated to global scalability, the connection is more obvious than you’d suppose. Before you enter global markets, not only must you ensure that digital assets comply with all sales channels, but also oversee your digital asset metadata.
What is Digital Asset Metadata?
Digital asset metadata is data that describes the object in question. Specifically for multimedia, data would be the descriptive values of that file. For example, the date of creation, the file name, who created it, where it is stored. The purpose of metadata is to make digital assets searchable and findable.
This ease is fundamental to a PIM system. It cuts the time of gathering product media files. The organization is great for any ecommerce establishment, global or not. But what about optimization? How will prospective consumers in other locales find your products?
After all, multimedia is a powerful SEO tool. Videos, images, graphics, and more – they all hold opportunities for keyword population.
Optimize Digital Asset Tags
An image tag is the entire line of code describing an image. The tags are made up of metadata. This data includes the file source, the alternate text, and the actual title of the image or file.
<img src="file-name.jpg" alt="alt text here">.
The most important parts of the image tag HTML snippet is the filename and the alt-text. For example, an image of a chair product would have a filename of “dark-brown-wooden-chair.jpg.” It should be descriptive, with the main keywords used to attract the right customer to your product.
The hidden alt-text is what search engines can read to identify the content of an image. The alt-text is perhaps the most important element of image SEO. Best optimization practices include describing the product image in great detail. For example: “Dark brown wooden chair in a living room.”
<img src="dark-brown-wooden-chair.jpg" alt="Dark brown wooden chair in a living room">.
Why are we discussing product digital asset SEO? Well, it’s something many sellers forget. Localization will need a complete translation of image metadata.
Localize digital assets tags
Using product information management (PIM) is the key to digital asset optimization. You can tailor product image tags to locale on PIM. The alternative to this would be manually researching, populating, and optimizing alt text across various channels and locales. Clearly, this is far too intensive, throwing many sellers off from attempting to sell globally.
Furthermore, PIM supports global scalability by cutting time and saving energy. Tagging your digital assets makes all multimedia searchable. That way, it’s a faster process to find and publish product images through PIM.
Many sellers considering global scalability are overwhelmed by the intensity of the work required. But it’s not as much about doing a lot of work as it is about learning to adapt new, streamlined modes of organization. In other words, an easy tool like PIM software is built for global scalability. No need to waste time or energy with scattered digital asset files.
4. Manage currency conversions
People won’t read what they can’t understand. On the same token, they won’t buy in a currency they don’t know.
Along with product content, it’s also necessary to convert currency. This goes without saying, but limiting currency options will avert many potential customers.
If a prospective customer doesn’t find their locale’s currency, it’s highly unlikely that they will buy anything. Doing so might take more effort on the consumer’s side: researching currency conversions, doing the math (mentally or with a calculator). Not only that – even if someone chooses to buy from your store, they’ll come across a tragic consequence. Many payment systems, be it a mobile wallet or a credit or debit card, require an extra fee to convert currency. Unfortunately, this may prevent any repeat purchases, even putting you at risk of shopping cart abandonment.
The truth is, why would people in other countries bother with your products when they can find the same without having to go through the currency conversion issues themselves.
Multicurrency ecommerce makes sense. You can’t claim to offer a localized shop without localizing currency. By giving people in other countries the currency they use, you prevent losing potential customers.
At least 35% of people globally report shopping on online stores outside their own country. In 2019, at least 848 million people in the world shop cross-border. At least 67% of customers prefer shopping from other countries due to lower prices. According to Forrester Research, 25-30% of westerners (in the United States and Europe) purchase from outside their home countries. What does this mean?
Well, these statistics tell us that ecommerce is a more competitive playing field. Increasingly more companies are selling globally because consumers are buying from outside their country. If you aren’t there with them, you’re missing out on many potential customers.
Multicurrency is vital to globalizing your store. That’s obvious. Now, how does one go about doing that efficiently?
Manually editing currency options is the first thing to come to mind. While this is a viable answer for smaller companies, larger stores with tons of products won’t be able to hold out for long. Imagine localizing multiple products, each with more than one locale – it’s too much.
One of the hardest aspects of breaking into global markets is the manual additions of currencies. It’s necessary to keep track of all the currency edits you’ve completed, and missing one can cause destruction. In ecommerce, one small but critical mistake on a product page can cause much damage.
Fortunately, there does exist software that helps manage and translate currencies. Such platforms can simplify global payments, reducing customer fees, and offering different currencies. The issue then becomes matching the currency localizations to the products.
A solution to multi-currency challenges
Just like ecommerce growth can be a lot to manage, so is the process of offering multi-currency options. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The clear solution is to automate currency conversion. Automatic currency conversion simplifies the process, for both you and your customers.
For global scalability, PIM is the answer to multicurrency solutions. A PIM is the source of all your products. No matter how many sales channels or localizations you have set up, PIM pushes one form of product content across all of them. In other words, it eliminates the need to add the same information on each channel. Because it provides localization capabilities, you can automate that as well.
Unify currencies on digital (and print) catalogs
When it comes to catalogs, you might need to send out to various retailers or manufacturers globally. Many PIM software connects to InDesign, automatically populating the templates with product information. As such, this allows for easy editing and translating of currency for each product price.
That’s why PIM is fit for global scalability. It’s meant to slash the time and costs needed as your company grows bigger.
5. Speed up market time with PIM automation
Speed and automation are prominent themes here. When you don’t manage how fast you’re pushing products out, you hinder your chance to grow. When scaling your business, the demand for your products may flourish. Customers want more, so you need to sell more.
Automation is important when it comes to global scalability. The more your business grows, the more time you will need to spend. With a plethora of products, perhaps multiple stores, and tack on localization – it becomes time-consuming.
The drawback to this is incurring a slow market time.
Slow market time hinders growth
Getting your products to market can already be a cumbersome process. There are a plethora of administrative tasks involved in going global.
- Setting up payment methods
- Dealing with foreign regulations
- Managing international shipping and handling
Tack on global expansion, high demand, and increased locales – it definitely takes a much time to prepare for global deployment. After all of these tasks, it’s important not to waste time any further. Doing so drains unnecessarily monumental costs from your budget.
Enter global markets faster
To save your business from the loss that scaling can have on time, PIM uses automatic bulk-editing features. This cuts much of the time-intensive decision-making and tedious tasks. In fact, by establishing PIM, you can vastly reduce time to market by about 400%.
Benefits of PIM automation:
- The software uses formulas that compute currency in live time
- You can use workflow to streamline tasks
- Automatically update all localizations across sales channels
The global economy is a dynamic thing. Currency exchange values are shifting on a daily basis. It can be stressful to keep a handle on all of the changes to continue providing an authentic localized experience.
The good news: You don’t have to do it on your own.
What PIM offers is a chance to slash all these normally complex tasks that go under global scalability. Being able to market faster is critical in upholding a competitive position in the global sphere.
6. Collaborate on workflow
Global scalability is the goal for many. At least 94% of companies admit that selling internationally is on the agenda. The interesting – or perhaps unfortunate – part of this is that half of them are hesitant. What is so daunting about scaling globally in ecommerce? And how can PIM help make the global scalability journey smoother?
Creating content and copy is already a difficult feat, even without the translation process. It takes copywriting skills and marketing specialization. Time is critical in order to truly see how the content is performing, how the SEO is doing, and if visitors are actually converting. And now all of that has to be translated without losing its essence?
Quality translation requires collaboration
The best way to nip a colossal localization project in the bud? Employ people who know what to do. Although helpful, implementing automation (with machine-translation software) would sacrifice the authenticity of the language. So, by having a collaborative team that knows the ins-and-outs of a locale, you can produce quality localized product pages.
The question now is: How do you effectively collaborate with the translating team? Many sellers chose to hire adept translators abroad, sometimes freelancers. If you do so, you need to be on the same page as the translators, making sure the content still conveys the original message.
Workflow: the Answer to Global Scalability
Workflow is a system that streamlines productivity. More specifically, it comes in the form of software on which users can manage the many tasks in a certain work process. For example, a workflow makes the tasks in a project sequence clear. Once each step is complete, it continues on to the next step or team member. The more your business grows, the greater the need for a workflow solution.
All the product content already exists on PIM. What that means is there’s no need to format and send files of product page content manually. No need to prepare messy item load sheets for manufacturers and retailers. No longer must you burden yourself with uploading products from Excel documents.
Instead, all you need to do is affirm access to any external team or user you want. The translating team is able to view and edit the content, creating localized versions. The admin oversees everything – the implemented changes, the users, the complete audit history. In other words, PIM is the perfect collaborative, secure nesting ground for productivity. With its built-in workflow, you have to power to authorize tasks and notify members of the next step in the process.
Overall, PIM offers several supportive features for global scalability. It provides structure, automated workflow that connects the translating team, and prevents any possibility of mistakes. So even if translating isn’t automatic, you still optimize for an orderly process.
7. Don’t forget SEO localization
“You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed you have to create traffic.”
Joel Anderson, CEO of Walmart (source)
SEO is greatly important for all brands with an online presence. It not only ensures that your stores rank well on search engines, but it also contributes to a better experience for visitors. After all, excellent content and knowledge make up a large chunk of a well-optimized store.
Once you’ve localized your stores, the work isn’t complete until you’ve optimized them. All your work will be for naught if you don’t receive the desired traffic.
What is international SEO?
The meaning of SEO doesn’t change, whether local or international. Localizing SEO entails translating critical keywords for a country-specific storefront. It’s the same as regular SEO – it drives traffic, ramps up visibility, and increases your rank on SERPs.
It’s easy to forget that search engines exist in different languages. Fascinatingly, more than 50% of searches on Google are actually in non-English languages.
People in other countries are not only searching in a different language but different terminology as well. For example, the French word for ‘search engine optimization’ is quite unexpected: Référencement or Optimisation pour Moteur de Recherche. They use ‘le SEO’ as well, but if you neglect the longer keyword, you won’t be maximizing your potential.
A multilingual SEO strategy
How does SEO localization work? How can PIM help with SEO for global scalability?
There are several steps in the process, the major parts of which include:
- Setting up multilingual domains
- Keyword research dependent on locale
- Integrating keywords on- and off-page
When you have a storefront for many locales, what differentiates the sites is the domain name or URL. This is the address used to identify the website, with different endings (i.e. -.com). After that last dot, the ending is called a top-level domain (TLD). Depending on where you are in the world, you could use a different TLD.
For example, Amazon’s website comes in a wide selection of different languages. On the Britain Amazon site, the address becomes amazon.co.uk. The Mexico Amazon site becomes amazon.mx.
Making sure each localized version of your store adheres to the TLD is critical in establishing the brand in another country.
Before embarking on a localization strategy, you need to do SEO research. Translating your original keywords is a good place to begin. But it isn’t enough. You must find the best keywords for which locale-specific consumers are likely to search. The research may uncover great differences in consumer patterns from region to region.
After doing all your research, you now have the top keywords you want to attract the right searches. Now, it’s a matter of populating the keywords on all possible components of SEO.
That means localizing and optimizing the following:
- Rich snippet
- Headline, subheadings
- Image alt tags
- URL slugs
When you see all the components on the SEO-localization to-do list, it seems unfeasible. That definitely is the case – assuming you have multiple languages, it can become a depletion on time, on energy, and on your budget. When done in a chaotic manner, or without a scalable plan, you risk mistakes and inconsistencies.
In the long-term, suboptimal SEO is unfit for global scalability. Your efforts may amount to less web traffic than you need. Even if you update your SEO efforts, it can take months to actually witness the results.
Start by centralizing product data
With product information management, you oversee everything in one place. What that immediately solves is the chaos. From there, you can oversee all content, allowing you to then facilitate the localization process. The commencement of global scalability begins on PIM.
With bulk editing, you can fill in information quickly, without worrying about missing anything. Essentially, PIM allows the SEO strategy to manifest as brilliant results.
One source of product information
How can you ease into the global scalability with SEO? The best place to start is on PIM.
For one, PIM helps in the process of populating keywords. Because it centralizes all channels and outlets, that includes localized versions of your storefronts. It allows you to input the keywords you researched per locale, automatically dispersing them throughout the product pages.
- Save money, time, and resources
- Prevent long-term risks to revenue
- Optimize for traffic without expending more costs
- Achieve sufficient ROI for your efforts
To be built for scale is an amazing accomplishment. In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to see companies venturing on an international commerce expedition. Even the largest, most prominent third-party marketplaces have circled the globe, from Amazon to eBay, Alibaba to Rakuten.
That being said, it’s increasingly more vital to get up there and take the world by storm. Managing the foundation of your business, your product information, with PIM is the first step to global scalability.
How have you been able to scale your business?
Catsy has been providing unique value to the product information industry since 2003, allowing businesses a way to achieve high-quality product content. Our product information management (PIM) software centralizes all product data, so you can manage and share data with internal teams, retailers, and multiple platforms. Revolutionize your business with Catsy’s accuracy, automation, and optimization. To learn more, visit us at https://catsy.com.