Going global through localized pages and custom content

June 23, 2016 by
Janine Nothlichs

Raising conversion from 9 to 17% through localizing website content for a new market- this is what many retailers would wish to achieve when internationalizing their e-commerce business. Overstock.com shared its experiences with launching a website in Canada.

“Overstock.com is 16 years in the business and we still consider ourselves a baby in this industry. We are still learning, we are still growing,” said Tami Ostmark, Director of Global Business Marketing and Operations at Overstock.com during her presentation on globalizing the business at the eTail Europe 2016 conference.

Overstock.com, is an online retailer based in Cottonwood Heights, Utah in the US, which was founded in 1997 and launched in 1999. The company started off selling surplus and returned stock but has recently moved towards selling new products.

Overstock.com ships to over 100 countries worldwide and recently kicked off its globalization efforts by localizing website offerings in specific markets. Right now, the brand has launched a localized Canadian website (O.ca), and is ready to launch the UK and Mexico in near future.

“The initial question was: We have one single website, how can we go global with it? How can we localize it?” explained Ostmark during her presentation. “We have 3mn SKU on the site and we are supplier to many marketplaces in the world, but we wanted to build a global brand on our site.”

The key factors Overstock identified were:

  • Localized pages
  • Custom content
  • Driving emotional connection
  • Porduct selection
  • Pricing
  • How to get a team that focuses on understanding different countries

A couple of years ago, explains Ostmark, the Canadian landing page would feature content targeted at the US, a 4th of July promotion and a US checkout. “Things needed to change,” said Tami Ostmark. Overstock added customized content, adapted the landing page, added Canadian customer reviews and started working with bloggers and influencers to create more outreach and community participation.

“You need to find ways to engrain yourself into a market and community,” according to Ostmark. “It's not yeat perfect, we are still evolving,” she adds. On top of that, Ostmark stresses the importance of continuously sparring and exchanging thoughts with your customers on  how they perceive the website and what could be improved. “We invited customers for dinner, showed them the site and let them comment on it,” Ostmark tells us.

Questions Overstock posed to focus customer groups included:

  • Is this enough to feel we catered to you?
  • What other critical information is important to a customer in the process of making a purchase?
  • If its not great, is it good enough?

Overstock has yielded results of its localization efforts in Canada: Visits increased 19% y-o-y, page views went up by 12%. The conversion rate increased from 9 to 17%, revenue increased by 15.5% and the average order value soared from $128 to $145.


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