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.
This 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.