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E.g., 09/29/2020

Will Localization Be the Key to Delivering True Hyper-Personalization in eCommerce?

By: Pauline Farris

04 June 2019


This has been a hot topic among marketers in recent years.  

Some call it a strategic innovation, others see it as a new, logical strategy to meet growing customer demands, while others still think of it as just another buzzword in online marketing.  

Well, it doesn’t take a lot of time to figure out whether it’s something that you should pay attention to.  

Just ask yourself whether you like it when businesses provide a personalized experience for you as a customer? For example, you receive an email that informs you that a price for a product you’ve recently viewed has dropped. Would it be more enticing to make a purchase compared to an email promoting a product which you never use? 

This is just a simple example of the kind of personalization that most businesses use today. It typically involves using a customer’s name, purchase history, company, industry, title, etc. to make offers that suit their needs. The need for personalization was born out of necessity to understand customers’ preferences and needs on a more personal level, which is something people appreciate.  

In fact, this Deloitte report found that: 

  • One in five customers interested in personalized products or services is willing to pay a 20% premium to get them. A slightly higher price for personalization is not that big a deal for many, apparently 
  • 22% of customers are willing to provide some data that can help businesses create a more personalized product or service 
  • People over 55 are much more likely to buy a personalized holiday than those aged between 16 and 24. 

Evidently, many customers want products and services that meet their expectations with personalization, so it makes perfect sense to engage and start collecting their data to create amazing offers.  

Unfortunately, personalization might not be enough for businesses to meet the growing needs of customers today. Putting a name into an email subject line is so 2015, and this created the necessity for another, more advanced level of personalization: hyper.  

It takes personalization one step further and takes such factors as localization much more seriously.  

Hyper-personalization: A Must for International Businesses?

Let’s suppose you have an app for your international coffee selling business. A user from, say, Italy, downloaded the app, browsed it to find coffee beans from Kenya, explored some choices, but eventually left without adding anything to the shopping cart.  

You sent them notifications that were read but succeeded at convincing them to return to the website only once. Still no purchase. 

That’s useless, right? 

Not exactly. By analyzing the activity of that user in your app, you can get some pretty amazing insights into their product preferences, including: 

  • Knowledge of quality and taste of coffee beans from Kenya 
  • Possible knowledge of brands of coffee that use this specific kind of coffee 
  • The time with the highest chance of convincing the user to return to the website via a notification 
  • An affinity for purchasing coffee stored in a specific way (metal containers, glass containers, clear plasticware, etc.) 
  • The geographical region where the customer resides. 

While all of these are incredibly useful for businesses in terms of creating customer-centered offers, let’s take a closer look at the last point in the list. 

The geographical region.  

Shopify recently carried out an excellent study on global eCommerce trends and found that language was critical to international businesses to sell. In fact, they discovered the following: 

  • 67 percent of customers preferred navigation on the site and “some” content translated into their native languages (remember that one country has different languages and language versions, too); for example, businesses planning an expansion into China should consider exploring Mandarin, Cantonese, and “Simplified Chinese” 
  • 59 percent never or rarely buy from websites that have only English versions 
  • 75 percent expressed the desire to purchase products in their local language. 

Amazing, right? 

Wait. So maybe the lack of the local language was the main reason why that Italy-based user of your app decided to leave without buying anything? 

It’s certainly possible.  

But how come 54 percent of websites out there are in English when English is just the third in terms of the estimated number of first-language speakers? 

Well, one of the reasons for this rather bizarre situation is that hyper-personalization is just getting started. This is backed up by research: for example, the Hyper-Personalization Strategies report from Ascend2 found that only 9 percent of marketing professionals completed the development of a hyper-personalization strategy.

Credit: Ascend2

This means that the importance of proper localization – and translation as a part of it – will significantly increase in the next few years as more and more eCommerce companies will try to reach diverse audiences by using translation services with international certification standards like TheWordPoint.

Is Localization the Key to True Hyper-personalization in eCommerce? 

So, we know that people prefer to buy from websites that are translated in their native language, which, combined with traditional personalization techniques and behavior data, can really make a difference for businesses.  

The abovementioned report from Ascend2 supports this. When asked about the top priorities for their hyper-personalization strategy, they said that improving customer experience and understanding customers better were among the most important goals.

Credit: Ascend2

Hyper-personalization in the form of localization and applying customer data to create more tailored offers can easily help with achieving most of these goals.

How to Achieve Hyper-personalization with Localization?

Many people make a terrible mistake by thinking that localization is limited by translation. Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth because translation is just a part of the overall strategy. To make it clear what proper localization is, let’s explore the techniques involved.  

  • Website translation. As we already know, international customers prefer to buy products and services from websites that are translated into their language 
  • Content translation. Blog articles, videos, social media posts, you name it, everything needs to be properly localized to convey the original meaning in a way that local customers will understand 
  • Multilingual chatbots. There’s good evidence that chatbots are helping businesses with customer support and content marketing (multilingual chatbots included), so translating the scripts to adopt your chatbots to local audiences makes perfect sense 
  • Using predictive analytics to personalize a customer journey. By using your app, website, and other digital products, customers are providing you with tons of useful materials that can be used to improve personalization (the list of potential insights includes preferred customer support channels, the time when customers are more likely to be engaged via app notifications, etc.) 
  • Using artificial intelligence. Many of the tasks above can be completed by using such technologies as machine learning, so the impact of AI-powered solutions for localization and hyper-personalization will increase in the next years (take one more look at the image from Ascend2 report and you’ll see that many marketers are already planning to increase the use of AI).

Time to Learn and Adapt

Clearly, doing everything listed above to achieve true hyper-personalization won’t be easy but it’s something that you have to do to win  in the international market. But at this point, it’s becoming increasingly clear that hyper-personalization can be a major source of competitive advantage and a powerful tool to drive customer loyalty for international businesses.  

Hopefully, this article inspired you to discover more about localization as a part of online marketing and an effective method to deliver a truly personalized experience for your customers regardless of their location in the world.