By: Augustin Prot, CEO and co-founder of Weglot
Local businesses are starting to blossom online – somewhat ironically due to the continued dominance of ecommerce giants such as Amazon.
63% of UK consumers favour shopping at local stores according to one study, even when it’s less convenient or means paying more money.
A tough economic environment has helped create a tight-knit community of shoppers looking to support local business owners and help them grow.
Small, local and startup companies typically choose to expand locally first and build a base of loyal customers, but there is a huge untapped market of international opportunity waiting to purchase new, exciting products.
UK businesses are limiting themselves in this respect, with an opportunity to scale globally, rapidly, without losing the personal touch that sets them apart from the competition.
Globalisation takes localisation
Consumers are becoming savvier. They don’t want to simply buy the cheapest product in the quickest way possible anymore – they want to buy from trusted, socially responsible companies who put them first.
And due to spending months under lockdown measures and working at home, quite often alone, today’s customers want brands that can make them feel like part of a community.
Growing a local brand into a global one comes from placing itself at the heart of their customers needs, wants and even personal beliefs.
For example, much like the planet, sustainability in the ecommerce industry is becoming hotter by the day, driven in large parts by consumer demand.
More and more brands are taking steps to outline their sustainable practices on reducing waste, plastic use and CO2 emissions.
By investing in businesses that are more environmentally conscious, consumers also feel they are also contributing to a greener world.
Customers often stop feeling an affinity towards large corporate brands, so give them something they can connect with.
IKEA’s vision, for instance, is to “create a better everyday life” for its customers. It’s such a simple yet accessible idea which its customers can relate to.
Similarly, Nike’s “Come run with us” campaign is based around the idea that everyone, regardless of where they live, can feel a part of a community, creating a connection between the brand and its customer base.
It pays to stay connected
So not only does it make good business sense to invest in retaining your loyal customers, but that they also want you to.
A personal touch means providing products, offers and content aimed directly at certain segments of a market. And while this may seem difficult for businesses just starting out, there are tools and technology available for those wanting to create and build tailored experiences for their customers.
For example, businesses looking to expand internationally may look at translation and localisation tools to help them appeal to new markets.
Localisation is key in building trust and that community feeling consumers want nowadays, and everything in between, from project management tools to payment software, can be provided for businesses looking to build, expand and conquer.
No matter their size or location, staying connected with local customers will allow businesses to be embraced and welcomed across the world.
Make it personal
The website is a business’ number one sales tool, and as online sales will only continue to increase in the future, it’s important businesses use it to their full advantage.
Cross-border ecommerce is an opportunity for growth, allowing businesses to build new relationships while providing customers with a local community feel.
Language is one of the most important and obvious barriers, as research shows around half (49%) of UK consumers wouldn’t buy a product if the website wasn’t in English.
But it has to be more than just simply translating something.
Understanding local markets takes hours of research into currencies, backgrounds, cultures, and even religion. Because if you’re to appeal to local consumers, you have to do more than just speak their language.