L2’s Digital IQ Index: Localization finds that there is a tradeoff between the number of sites operated by a brand and the percentage that are translated into the local language. For example, Tumi, Lacoste, and Clarins have translated 100% of their e-commerce sites into the local language. However, all three maintain a relatively small number of country-specific e-commerce sites around the globe. Net-A-Porter, on the other hand, translates less than 50% of its e-commerce sites to regional languages, and is able to serve a relatively large number of countries with e-commerce. L’Occitane and Sephora excel in this regard, translating close to 100% of their e-commerce sites to the local language without extensively sacrificing their global online presence.

localization-2015-global-brand-sites-worldwide-with-e-commerce-and-local-language-translationsThis is not to say translation and investments in localizing brand sites are unnecessary or counterproductive. It simply highlights the challenges of keeping up with global e-commerce for brands with finite resources.

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