New report identifies online localisation opportunities for UK and US retailers

November 22, 2016 by
Janine Nothlichs

Cross-border ecommerce benchmark report shows a clear direction for retailers who want to create customer-centric localised websites for their key international markets.

London, 10th November, 2016 – Practicology has collaborated with eShopWorld and TranslateMedia on a benchmark report to show both UK and US retailers how their localised international websites compare to the competition.

The Localisation Report 2016 looks at four markets each for UK and US retailers, and assesses their localisation efforts in a number of areas including: use of language across the site; merchandising and offers; mobile optimisation; search engine optimisation; social media; customer services; delivery and returns; pricing and payment.

The research focuses at localised sites for Australia, France, Germany and the USA operated by UK retailers.

For US retailers, we analysed sites created for Australia, Japan, Mexico and the UK. 

Key findings for UK retailers include:

  • Only 32% of UK retailers definitely provide customer service to Australian online customers within Australian business hours
  • UK retailers are fairly sophisticated in their merchandising and promotions on their US localised sites. 72% show different homepage merchandising content on their US site compared to their UK one, and 64% display US-specific offers and promotions.
  • Creating a mobile-optimised site for international customers is favoured over launching a localised or translated app. Just 16% of UK retailers reviewed have created a German app, but 88% offer a German mobile or responsive site for customers using smartphones.
  • Average standard delivery costs and timeframes for UK retailers selling to France and Germany are highly competitive. The mean standard delivery cost is €4.45 for France and €3.98 for Germany. Meanwhile the mean maximum standard delivery timeframe is 5.4 days for France and 4.6 days for Germany.
  • Localised payment options have yet to be widely adopted by UK retailers. Only 20% of French localised sites specified they accepted Carte Bleue cards, while 32% of German localised sites accept payment by invoice.
  • There is little standardisation in terms of URL structure for sites in most markets. For example, we found six different URL types among the 25 UK retailers whose Australian localised sites we reviewed.
  • The standard of language localisation on UK retailers French and German websites was, in general, better than that of their sites for Australian and American customers. Only 76% have fully translated their US site’s navigation to US English, and just 60% have fully translated their Australian site to Australian English.

Practicology Head of Internationalisation Nicola Huet said of the report findings: “We have seen both UK and US retailers invest in localising their international websites in the last few years as a way of driving cross-border online sales growth. However, we feel that there are clear opportunities to localise further, and provide a truly localised customer experience for their international customers in key markets.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

All images are extracted from the report and owned by the publishing parties.

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