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What is a Localization Strategy? Benefits to Consider

What is a localization strategy?

A localization strategy is an overarching plan for adapting a product to meet the purchasing behaviors, language preferences, and cultural norms of people in a particular geography.  

Business environments differ from one country to another. When a company enters a foreign market, it may face several challenges related to language, supply chain, compliance, culture, local competition, workforce, and so on.

A localization strategy may not address all these challenges, but it will surely make your offering relevant and tailored to the potential customers in your target market. It will help you address the language and cultural barriers and recreate the product to provide a seamless and personalized experience throughout the customer journey in new markets.

Creating a suitable localization strategy is not an easy task. Businesses should put a lot of effort into researching the market, gathering and organizing resources, and recreating the product to successfully implement localization strategies.  

This article explores more about planning a localization strategy and the benefits it brings to businesses.

What goes into planning a localization strategy?

The vital aspect of planning a localization strategy is evaluating the preferences, tastes, cultural differences, and localization needs of people in different markets.

Language preferences

Language is the major barrier to international expansion. There is a high possibility that your target foreign market may speak a different language from your host country’s language. So the first thing you should do is to check the language preferences.  

The following questions may help you understand if there is a real need for translating your product into the target market’s native language:

  • What is the population size of the local market?
  • What is their native language?
  • Do they speak any other language than their local language?
  • How many native speakers are there?
  • In which language do they use the internet?
  • How many people use the internet in their native language?

Cultural Norms

The success of a product depends on how effectively it meets the cultural expectations of the global audience. The cultural norms of no two countries are the same. For instance, Americans are friendly and outgoing while French people are private. It is very common for people in America to go on dates with strangers, but people don’t date in France. So carefully evaluate the local cultures of your target foreign markets and adapt your product to meet those cultural norms.

Purchasing Preferences

People in different countries have different purchasing habits. For instance, the credit card penetration in Germany stands at 7.2 cards per 100 individuals. It means Germans are averse to credit cards and debt. If you are planning to localize your product to Germany, you should incorporate other payment methods such as debit cards, PayPal, and online banking.

The following questions may help you gain an understanding of purchasing preferences of people in your new target market:

  • What are their browsing preferences? Do they use mobile or desktop?
  • What payment methods do they use?
  • What currency options are popular in the country?
  • Does user-generated content such as reviews and social media opinions influence their purchase behaviors?

Benefits of a Localization Strategy

A successful localization strategy will help you enter new target markets, gain a competitive edge, enhance customer satisfaction, and build a loyal customer base.

Business Expansion

The market research you conduct as part of the localization strategy will help you identify the potential target markets for your products. Upon identifying the new target markets, you can simply translate the product-related content into the target market’s native language and modify the functionalities of the product to meet its preferences.

Here is the approach you can use to build a localization strategy for business expansion:

  • Make both internationalization and localization a part of your overall marketing strategy.
  • Collect as much data as possible about the target audience and make data-driven decisions.
  • Develop clear and measurable objectives for your localization strategy.
  • Identify target markets and define their language preferences and cultural nuances.
  • Create a roadmap for the localization process. This may include determining style guides and quality assurance checklists.
  • Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for your localization team.
  • Create a review and update process.

Gain a Competitive Edge

Two factors play a crucial role in an organization gaining a competitive edge: brand differentiation and consistent brand positioning.

  • Brand differentiation: The competition in global markets is getting fierce, with both the local and global brands competing with one another to gain market share. The best way to differentiate your brand in this intensely competitive environment is to localize your product. Localization helps you differentiate your brand from international players who don’t localize their products and gain an edge over them. Moreover, it creates a level playing field to compete with local players and capture their market share.
  • Consistent brand positioning: Branding messages that align with the cultural norms and preferences of local people will give your organization a unique brand identity, which translates into a competitive advantage over a period. By providing glossaries, terminology repositories, and a context for the localization, a localization strategy will help your localization experts come up with branding messages that are consistent with brand positioning as well as the cultural norms of specific regions.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Customer experience and customer satisfaction go hand-in-hand. Products with superior user experience (UX) features will increase customer satisfaction rates significantly.

So how do you create superior UX? The answer is the localization strategy!

For instance, an effective localization strategy will improve the UX of your mobile application by adapting its menus, images, colors, date formats, currencies, and payment methods to the preferences of local people. It personalizes the app experience so that the users will find it useful and engage with it more. Higher engagement leads to improved customer satisfaction rates.

Greater Brand Loyalty

People trust companies that provide information in their native language. For instance, 40% of people never buy from websites in other languages due to a lack of trust. An effective localization strategy helps you gain customer trust by accurately translating your e-commerce websites and mobile apps into the customer’s native language and creating meaningful relationships with them. The trust factor motivates people to stick around with your products and become true advocates for your brand.

Include OneSky in Your Localization Strategy

The main aspect of the localization strategy is to understand the language, culture, and purchasing preferences of people in foreign markets. Thorough market research and data-driven interpretations will help you improve the efficiency of your localization efforts and fuel your ambitious global growth.

OneSky is a localization services provider that can translate your products into 50 languages across 70 countries in the world. It offers a translation management system (TMS) that can automate your localization workflows and streamline traditional translation processes.

The main features of OneSky’s TMS are:

  • It enables you to directly communicate with translators and provide them with the context for the localization.
  • It comes with an automated technical validation system that ensures your translated content does not have any missing placeholders.
  • It supports over 19 file formats for your mobile app, video game, marketing materials, and website localization.
  • It provides a dashboard from where you can manage all your localization projects.
  • It offers on-device localization testing that enables you to identify inaccuracies in the localized content before releasing the product to the actual market.
  • It facilitates integrations with popular development platforms for a seamless localization experience.

Want to make OneSky a part of your localization strategy? Sign up for free today!

Mandy Fong

Head of Sales, OneSky

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