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5 ways to improve international e‑commerce success with SEO, UX and CRO

For e-commerce businesses that want to expand to several markets, a localised online experience can make all the difference. Proper localisation helps you to ensure your website is turning as many visitors as possible into buyers. Every time you lose a potential customer, you’re leaving money on the table.

Optimising conversions is a difficult task in one market. When you’re selling to customers all over the world, the challenge compounds.

To improve conversions across markets, your Serch Engine Optimisation (SEO), Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), and User Experience (UX) need to work together. They must complement each other to bring people to your site, make customers feel at home, and encourage conversions. Building the best global digital processes into your marketing workflows will help you to make decisions based on data, not hunches.

Here are five tips to help you boost conversions in global e-commerce:

 

1. Attract the right audience with localised SEO

Your business relies on new customers finding your products online. However, your international customers may search in entirely different ways to your home market buyers. And that’s not just because they speak different languages.

Different audiences will use different keywords and search engines and respond to different online prompts. Localising your SEO and PPC strategies for international markets can give your traffic a huge boost.

The more traffic you get, the higher the number of possible conversions!

 

2. Create market-specific content

Many UX and usability best practices are pretty much universal: make sure your page loads quickly, prioritise one fundamental task or call to action (CTA) per page, make it clear what you want a user to do — the list goes on.

But CRO for multiple international territories demands even more UX considerations.

You need to get the simple things right — like making sure Arabic text is aligned right to left, the opposite of Western scripts. But there are all sorts of other things you should test to find out what converts best: different colours, images, tones of voice, and CTA positions on the page can make a huge difference.

Insights from our LIMEs (Local In-Market Experts), have shown us that in the UK and US, customers may prefer a clear, direct CTA—such as a button that says, ‘Get Quote’. However, eastern cultures tend to be more polite and formal and may respond better to a less demanding CTA like ‘Request Quote’.

What works for UX in one market may not work at all in others. If you can, you should test everything that is relevant to your users’ goals.

 

3. Think visuals

Engaging images and videos can drive online sales. But certain types of visual content in foreign markets can potentially put off customers, if not downright offend them.

Producing unique visual content for each of your markets for every single product may well pose a budget challenge. So where possible, choose images that are appropriate across cultures that don’t need to be customised.

Where that’s not possible — or for particularly high-profile images, such as on your homepage — it comes back to testing and using your knowledge of preferences per market. For example, images of individual people tend to work better in US and UK markets, while countries like India or China tend to respond better to pictures of groups.

 

4. Make sure people can pay

For e-commerce marketers, there’s nothing worse than customers getting all the way to the end of their journey only to drop out at checkout.

Make sure you cater to the different payment preferences in various markets and test which payment methods your users prefer. We’re not just talking credit and debit card payment options; alternative payment methods are rising in popularity across the globe. More and more consumers are using digital wallets like PayPal and Alipay or real-time transaction systems like iDEAL.

Also be aware of different international regulations that exist for security and data collection. You may need to deal with several levels of compliance rules from broad regulations such as the European Union’s GDPR (which comes into effect in 2018) to the laws in individual countries or even states.

In a German court case, for instance, a judge ruled that the CTA ‘Send order’ wasn’t clear enough when making a purchase. Now e-commerce companies in Germany must use the term ‘Zahlungspflichtig bestellen’ (“Order with an obligation to pay”) on their buy buttons.

 

5. Test, test, test and test!

The number of changes you’ll have to make to your e-commerce website may feel overwhelming, but you don’t need to (and should not) do everything in one go.

Prioritise critical changes and test which ones bring you more conversions, more revenue, or both. Apply those improvements that are most aligned with your goals and then keep testing.

Tests not only quantify how much your conversion rate has increased, but they also tell you what works for your users. Ensure you keep a record of your results: you may need them for further redesigns in the future.

 

Feeling overwhelmed? Let us help

Optimising conversion rates for your global e-commerce operation requires planning and a set of dedicated processes—especially if you want to do it continuously, and at scale.

You don’t have to meet this challenge alone. If you’d like more advice on optimising your conversion rates in all your markets, we’d love to talk: