Ecommerce is on the rise around the world. Both individuals and companies can create online sites and sell their products without retail storefronts. Studies have shown that eight in ten European internet users perform online purchases through some form of ecommerce storefront.
This trend shows no signs of stopping, especially in the younger demographic and millennials. However, online business carries its own share of problems and conundrums to resolve. Even if you implement ecommerce software through a platform like BigCommerce or Magento, you will still have a lot to plan for.
International customers are likely to contact you with wishes to buy your products. Even if you implement a multi-currency ecommerce solution like Shopify, the problem is that many people still won’t speak your native language, whatever it may be. Multilingual customer service and user experience (UX) can amend that shortcoming. Let’s take a look at what you can provide for your customers when it comes to multilingual customer support and enhanced UX overall.
Benefits of multilingual UX
Before we dive into multilingual customer service for ecommerce, let’s take a look at the benefits regarding the process. After all, every upgrade or addition to your site should bear some form of positive outcome.
According to CSA Research, 75% of worldwide customers prefer buying online goods through sites with their languages featured as an option. This number is too high to ignore, so let’s take a look at several benefits of implementing multilingual support on your ecommerce website.
Better customer engagement
Just over 26% of internet transactions on the global level take place in English language. This fact is even more alarming when you take the global number of internet users into account.
Providing a multilingual ecommerce storefront will allow for better user engagement globally. People from different corners of the world will be much more likely to use your site to order goods and spread positive word of mouth about your practices.
Return on Investment (ROI) is on every ecommerce website owner’s mind – and for good reasons. Hiring professional translators or outsourcing your localization through Pick Writers and their translation services reviews costs money. However, the return on investment connected to the initial expense is tremendous.
Mobile ads which lead to online stores fare 86% better if they offer localized marketing content to their readers. No business model will save you from the simple fact that people like to be met halfway when languages are concerned.
Good SEO ranking
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a huge role in how your site is perceived through search engines and their algorithms. Google has modified the SEO algorithm to detect and promote websites which offer accessibility and original content above all else. This means that implementing a multilingual approach to your ecommerce will lead to resounding success, especially if you pursue more global languages such as Chinese, Russian and German.
Multilingual customer service in ecommerce
As with any addition to an ecommerce website, multilingual support should come in stages. Let’s take a detailed look at how you can implement multilingual customer service into an existing, live ecommerce website.
1. Research popular languages and demand
Every industry has a certain target demographic which makes it tick. The same goes for children’s toys, books, car equipment or anything else. In order to pinpoint the perfect languages for your website, you should take a look at supply and demand in the industry.
Scour through popular competition and their websites. Ask your existing customers about their preferred language offering through email surveys. Do anything you can to eliminate unnecessary languages and add any which might be out of the usual plethora of French, Italian, German and Spanish.
2. Work with an international shipping company
Since you plan on expanding into international waters, you should look for shipping companies which can meet your clientele’s demands. International shipping companies come in two varieties; some focus on sea transportation while others (more commonly) prefer air shipping.
Look for the best international shipping options in your country and see if you can settle for a mutually-beneficial contract. After all, there is no point in shipping internationally if you don’t break even at the end.
3. Site translation and localization
As we’ve mentioned before, site localization should be done in-house or outsourced to a professional translation service. Outsourcing is especially viable if you intend to offer multilingual support in numerous languages not only in content but customer support as well. Add new languages in waves and don’t overreach. You have all the time in the world to slowly and methodically add languages one by one and gauge the public interest in doing so.
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4. Machine-learning chatbots
In the early days of your website’s multilingual customer service, you can rely on chatbots to get things done. Chatbots are AI algorithms designed to provide rudimentary customer support and learn as they go along.
Some of the better quality chatbot algorithms can be found in the app stores for platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento. These prolific ecommerce support websites also offer numerous plugins which can make the transition into multilingual services much easier and user-friendly.
5. Hire or outsource support agents
There will always come a moment where your chatbots won’t be able to deliver on their promises. This is especially possible in their early days, while they are still unaware of the customers’ patterns on your website.
In order to offer full customer service despite this shortcoming, you can hire full-time agents or virtual assistants to act as support agents. With some rudimentary training, these employees and freelancers can help you deliver multilingual customer service without you personally speaking the languages.
6. Ongoing product description support
Multilingual customer service is a long-term commitment. Each product you publish on your ecommerce website will have to be updated with corresponding descriptions and texts in each language.
This raises the question of whether you should hire full-time translators or stick to on-demand freelancers. Make the choice that works best for the volume of products you intend to publish.
7. Create and emphasize feedback channels
Ecommerce or not, you will want to talk to your customers on a constant basis. Create dedicated a dedicated email address for feedback and comments. Collect data from your chatbots and have human support agents go through them.
Gather feedback constantly, and make sure that your customers know that every bit of criticism is welcome. That way, you will always have an insight into how well you are doing your job. You will also know whether or not you should refocus your multilingual customer service efforts one way or another.
Whether you opt for DIY localization or assisted ecommerce development with a platform such as Shopify, you should always do it on demand. Never assume that a language is necessary on your website by hunch alone. Add new language support options on a constant basis but back those actions up with research and feedback as you go. Only then will you strike the perfect cord with your audience and find a middle ground that works for both parties.
This is a guest post by Kristin Savage, a freelance writer with a special interest in how the latest achievements in media and technology can help to grow readership and revenue. You can find her on Facebook and Medium.