While the Internet’s global infrastructure has connected billions of people across continents, a big hindrance to the openness and effectiveness of communication remains: language and culture. For global brands or for emerging businesses struggling to gain traction, the need to localize is stronger than ever.
Here are three big reasons for you to localize your content in order to reach a broader audience.
#1 – A Growing Smartphone App Market
According to a recent study by PEW Research Center, smartphone usage in emerging and developing nations is “rising at an extraordinary rate,” which means that demand for mobile applications will likewise grow in mostly non-English-speaking nations.
One specific example is India. With 353 million Internet users, about 36 percent – or 127 million – prefer local language usage. According to the Mobile Association of India, this booming market for locale-specific content will see a 47 percent year-on-year growth.
The same can be said for Japan and South Korea, which have surpassed the U.S. in terms of app downloads. Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe are also considered growth markets when it comes to demand for locale-specific applications.
Having access to the next billion—as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg calls the booming market that is the emerging economies—will play a big part in ensuring a steady flow of loyal users to your application or website.
#2 – Improved Customer Retention and Loyalty
With any digital application, user experience is a strong driver for repeat usage. According to a study by retail monetization platform Balihoo, a consistent and localized user experience will help foster loyalty among customers. This, in turn, leads to repeat sales.
With the retail experience, localization goes beyond language. Rather, the entire local context is taken into consideration. This means not selling winter clothes when your target market is a tropical country, for example. For a digital business—whether you are selling goods through e-commerce or offering a free ad-supported mobile app—localizing with your specific customers in mind will help a great deal in establishing a feeling of ownership and mindfulness among them.
#3 – Enhanced Business Intelligence
Data drives success for both brick-and-mortar and digital organizations. An effective business intelligence strategy draws on the use of various inputs, like customer demographics, market data, and other actions a customer does while going through the sales funnel. By effectively targeting the customer messaging through localization, you can gain better insights in terms of latent customer responses and feedback through their actions.
This, of course, becomes more complicated the bigger your business becomes. For an international retail chain, for example, localization will involve optimizing inventory such that the products that you sell will be the most appropriate for each locale. For a digital business, it could be as simple as determining the amount of content you produce for each particular country or language set. At the very least, localizing your content can ensure that people are actually using it—and that you are able to adequately collect data from this usage.
Having a global mindset does not mean a business should be as generic as possible. On the contrary, establishing a global brand presence and engaging a global audience will require having a deeper understanding of local contexts, in order to more effectively engage these audiences. This, in turn, results in improved loyalty, customer retention, and the ability to execute a solid business intelligence strategy.
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