Thursday, 23 January 2014

Localisation gets strong endorsements

Suddenly the news seems a whole lot better about the UK. And some really good news for digital retailers came out of a recent report, The global retail e-mpire by OC&C strategy Consultants and Google that analysed three years worth of online retail across the US, UK, Germany, the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and France.

The UK is apparently the world's top ecommerce exporter. It comes down to a level of trust that consumers have about UK retailers. (See New Media Knowledge, E-commerce and trust: It is time to think more about Localisation (30.12.2013). The consumers believe that they will receive the goods they pay for from the UK while they are not so sure about other countries, even their own.

The analysis links this trust to the history of the UK retail market and to effective localisation strategies employed by the top digital retailers. It may surprise you to find that some of these top e-tailers were digitally born and bred, while other traditional brands have made good on their reputations. (See Media Week, UK leads world's ecommerce exports as fashion brands travel well, by Arif Durrani, 20.1.2014)

It's not easy to localise effectively. Phillip Rooke of Spreadshirt, quoted in The global retail e-mpire at OC&C, highlights several of the aspects of localisation strategies such as working across many and varied tax and law jurisdictions, across languages, across currencies, across several dispersed factories and offices.

Scott Heimes, in the New Media Knowledge article mentioned above, gives many points about how localisation needs to fit the consumers' expectations which vary according to country and culture. Perhaps his strongest point is this:
Failure to localise for each region can result in a sales loss of 30 percent or more. Companies that get it right, however, will be able to capitalise on the growing generation of online shoppers, wherever they may be.
So, there are challenges to make good on the hope that the report brings for UK e-tailers. But we have got a head start and that's quite something in the digital age.