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Exploring Foreign Markets

Posted on 8th June, 2017

How to explore foreign markets with your online shop without spending a fortune on website re-development


Technology is making it possible for consumers to buy anything, anywhere and anytime.

And with society spending more time online to search for and meet its needs, brands need to understand how best to attract foreign markets when selling online.

It’s all part of a bigger picture. The Government is committed to supporting international growth and has set an ambition to get another 100,000 companies exporting by 2020, while doubling UK exports to £1 trillion.

One stumbling block in Britain is how online businesses can market effectively to customers in other countries without having to re-develop their website for different languages.

There is a mistaken assumption, our native arrogance, that English, being seen as THE international language, is spoken and understood everywhere. That’s not the case. Even in the Netherlands, where the population of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and The Hague is impressively multilingual, there are still entire provinces where English speakers are few and far between. And anyone who holidays in France will be aware of that dreadful embarrassment when your O level French suddenly doesn’t seem like an impressive academic achievement.

But it’s more than competency. It’s about courtesy. Any European – or resident in any country worldwide – who can speak and write good English, will nevertheless be impressed when efforts are made to speak, write and understand THEIR language. So it’s a way to get one step ahead in business.

The answer for online retailers is to create branded microsites or landing pages with the correct regional suffix (e.g. .nl for Netherlands) and properly translated content, but then direct the shopper back to main site for transactions.  It’s the cheaper option, allowing a company to dip its toes into foreign markets without massive investment.

The key is accurate translation. Many exporters fall into the trap of using well-known phrases in their email communications. While an English-speaking audience would understand them, they could mean nothing, or something very different – or even inappropriate – in an overseas market.

Online translation services are too basic and can often lead to comical but potentially disastrous mistakes. Our team is working with expert translators to create a package for you, along with our own expertise in developing your online shopping site, and any required microsites.

Please do give us a call if you’d like to learn more. It could be your first step to a bigger and more rewarding future.

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