Why B2B2C Companies Need Website Localization
More and more, business-to-business (B2B) companies are embracing business-to-consumer (B2C) approaches to conducting online business. In addition to directly selling to buyers and distributors, at least 60 percent of manufacturers and wholesalers now use e-commerce platforms to sell directly to consumers, too.
Leveraging B2C best practices helps B2B companies stay innovative and competitive. Transactional websites, social media content, and mobile applications are just a few ways B2B companies can create engaging “B2B2C” customer experiences, which generate brand awareness and loyalty from new customers.
And as B2B companies generate new revenue using B2C methods and technologies, many are looking for the next frontier of opportunity for B2B2C. This frontier is global markets.
International customers expect to complete transactions in the languages they prefer. This means that companies must localize their digital customer experience (CX)—especially their websites—to successfully sell in global markets.
Why Localization Matters
Twenty years ago, over 80 percent of all online users were native English speakers. Today, that number is less than 25 percent.
According to a 2014 Common Sense Advisory study, 75 percent of global customers prefer to buy in their native language. Another study found that 90 percent of European customers always choose their native language online when the option is available.
This same study also found that 40 percent never purchase products and services in other languages.
For companies expanding into international markets, a localized digital CX is no longer a “nice to have”—it’s what global customer expect.
A localized CX generates more conversions and revenue in global markets than an untranslated CX. Other major benefits include:
Engagement: Localized product descriptions and conversion funnels are critical for increasing time on-site and reducing bounce rates. B2B2C companies can also boost engagement with language-detecting technologies that greet online customers in their preferred languages and direct customers to localized sites.
Brand trust: Localized content proves your company’s dedication to international audiences. This encourages customers to get to know, purchase from, and stick with your brand.
Other ways to build customer trust include highlighting local holidays and offering market-exclusive promotions.
Discoverability: Translated, SEO-rich content helps multilingual international customers find your brand online, which increases your website’s organic traffic. Localized omnichannel content, Twitter cards, and Open Graph data can also boost referral traffic.
Many B2B2C companies face challenges localizing their digital presence, because their lean teams can’t handle the extensive workloads and ongoing technical burden associated with website translation.
However, there can be challenges to finding the right vendor as well. That’s because:
- Some vendors’ heir translation solutions were built for simple offline documents—not complex websites, digital multimedia, and omnichannel content
- Their solutions don’t mesh well with CMSs and other back-end technologies, requiring significant IT development—generating even more costs and delays
These shortcomings often result in a “mixed language” online experience, where some content may be localized, but other content remains untranslated. Further, when webpage templates aren’t optimized to accommodate longer translated content, serious design issues arise, affecting navigation, headlines and other UX elements.
Besides looking unprofessional, these websites may not function correctly. This frustrates international customers. They can abandon the site without transacting and are unlikely to return.
B2B2C companies, including B2B companies with B2B2C aspirations, need a stellar digital experience to gain the attention and loyalty of customers worldwide. Finding the right translation partner can help to make the localization experience go smoothly and, in the long run, will help businesses bring in more international customers.
Craig Witt is the chief revenue officer at MotionPoint, a company that solves the operational complexity and cost of website localization. He has 28 years’ experience in building, leading and scaling high performing go-to-market teams at global enterprises.
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