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How to overcome top 5 localization struggles in eCommerce

Olena Teselko
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Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.

Scaling an eCommerce business and expanding into international markets always comes with challenges, no matter how good your strategy is. One of the major challenges that businesses face during this process is localization. Multiple aspects of localization may not go as planned.

This article will guide you through the top five most common eCommerce localization struggles and ways to overcome them.

Top 5 most common localization challenges and how to overcome them

1. Accurate location detection

The problem: Precise location detection is crucial for delivering personalized experiences, yet it sometimes presents a considerable challenge. Accurately identifying users' geographical locations can be complex, as users can access websites from various devices, network connections, or even VPNs. 

The solution: Using multiple data sources will significantly improve accuracy. By combining IP geolocation, GPS coordinates, browser geolocation, and Wi-Fi positioning systems (WPS), brands can cross-reference and verify users' locations more precisely. This approach ensures that users are directed to the correct locale to get tailored user experiences that resonate with their geographic context.

Armed with a headless content management system such as Storyblok, brands can also easily integrate multiple localization tools, such as third-party location detection services. Combining them with analytics tools that monitor user engagement and behavior based on geographical insights, brands can optimize their digital presence for global audiences, driving conversion and increasing retention rates.

location detection illustration

2. Managing multiple languages

The problem: Multilingual content management might be challenging if multiple team members are involved in the eCommerce localization process. You need to coordinate translations and ensure consistency across languages. How do you organize that? 

The solution: Since you manage all the content in a CMS, you need to choose one that offers rich translation features. For example, in Storyblok, you will get field and folder-level translation functionalities that allow for granular control over multilingual content. 

Additionally, Storyblok's user roles, permissions, and the possibility to create custom workflow help smoothly coordinate team members, simplifying efficient content localization across multiple languages. Another helpful feature is version control capabilities, which enable teams to track changes and revisions across different language variants. 

SEO is also an essential part of building authority in new markets. With Storyblok, you can customize language-specific URLs, meta tags, and other SEO attributes, optimizing your digital presence for global search engines.

Last but not least, if you need even more features, you can always integrate specialized localization (and other) tools via API.

3. Providing suitable payment options

The problem: Depending on the countries and regions your store operates in, you might need to manage many payment options. These include local currencies, banking cards, "buy now, pay later" services, and even post-delivery payments. 

The solution: Before setting up your payment system, it's important to understand the market and local customer behavior in the particular region you're targeting. Different countries have different payment preferences; some prefer credit cards, others prefer PayPal, and some even use cryptocurrency. Depending on the payment preferences in the region, you'll need to choose the appropriate payment services to integrate into your system.

If you use an eCommerce-optimized CMS, particularly a headless one, you can integrate various payment options through flexible API capabilities. By combining different payment gateways, brands can cater to users' unique payment preferences worldwide, making customers more likely to make a purchase.

ecommerce localization illustration

Real-time currency conversion helps to ensure transparency and convenience for international transactions. This feature allows customers to experience a seamless and localized checkout process tailored to their market, even if they visit your site from a country where you don't have a physical presence.

4. Managing inventory

The problem: The more locations you serve, the more challenging it becomes to manage inventory across them and ensure that the availability status is shown consistently on the website. 

The solution: Integrate advanced inventory management platforms with a CMS or an eCommerce platform (which can also integrate with a CMS) to streamline inventory synchronization across various locations. These tools allow you to manage product inventory, update stock levels in real-time, and ensure accurate availability data is displayed on the website. 

Another practice is to use inventory forecasting and demand planning tools, which allow brands to anticipate customer demand and adjust stock levels accordingly. By leveraging predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms, these platforms help minimize stockouts and overstock situations, maximizing revenue potential while reducing operational costs. 

Additionally, seamless integration with third-party logistics (3PL) providers and fulfillment services will help to manage order completion and shipping across different locations. 

By combining all these methods and tools, you can forget about supply chain issues (which still sound painful after COVID-19, right?).

5. Cultural sensitivity

The problem: Adapting content to resonate with diverse cultural preferences while maintaining brand identity can be tricky and time-consuming. You need to consider colors, imagery, language, messaging, and much more to avoid misinterpretation or offense.

The solution: Storyblok empowers brands to easily navigate cultural sensitivity complexities. By creating composable components within Storyblok, brands can customize content elements such as colors, texts, photos, and layout to align with specific cultural preferences. This modular approach allows content editors to maintain brand identity while tailoring content to resonate with local audiences. 

Furthermore, you can always extend your comprehensive localization capabilities by integrating personalization tools. For example, Optimize, one of our localization tech partners, allows brands to adapt translatable content dynamically based on user demographics, interests, and behaviors. By leveraging advanced personalization algorithms and segmentation strategies, brands can deliver hyper-targeted shopping experiences that resonate with individual users on a cultural level. 

Additionally, Storyblok provides advanced content authoring that includes collaboration, custom workflows, roles and permissions, and an approval process to ensure that culturally sensitive content is reviewed and approved before publication. 

Wrapping up

In conclusion, overcoming localization struggles involves combining strategic planning, leveraging the right technology, and understanding your target market's unique needs. 

It's important to remember that localization is not just about translation but adapting your brand to resonate with different cultures and preferences. There are so many details to consider that it might seem better to skip some steps. However, when done right, localization allows brands to succeed in new markets, not just be present.