The U.S. is no longer the biggest market for e-commerce. In China, e-commerce accounts for 15.9% of retail sales, more than twice the percentage in the U.S. But while brands have eagerly expanded in China and other growing Asian markets, they have been slow to create localized content. Global brands with sophisticated websites in the U.S. have far more basic offerings in Asia.

Global brand site sophistication by country

Customizing content based on region is far more extensive than translation. For example, investing in video is crucial in South Korea, where digital video viewer penetration is at 96%.

Digital video viewer penetration by country

However, most global brands present in the country have failed to capitalize on localized video’s potential. Only 15% of global brands tracked in L2’s upcoming Intelligence Report: Localization feature Korean-language videos, while 9% have produced videos with Korean subtitles or dubbing. A handful of brands have gone above and beyond: Converse and Sketchers produced shoppable music videos with local K-Pop groups.

Loyalty programs represent another missed opportunity in Asia, where luxury e-commerce is rapidly expanding. A growing base of increasingly wealthy consumers prize personalized VIP treatment, but only one-third of brands offer loyalty programs in South Korea. That number is even less in China (26%) and Japan (19%). Exceptions are Estée Lauder, whose Chinese loyalty program includes access to a personal beauty consultant, and L’Occitane, which offers Japanese loyalty program members exclusive shopping rooms and consultations.

Estee Lauder's China loyalty program

One of the least localized features of Asia-specific brand sites is user-generated content. In China, close to 6% of brand sites feature local user-generated content; in Japan, not a single one does. Unlike look books and videos, user-generated content is easy to create and could help brands localize their image without significant investment.

 

Which site features are most likely to be localized

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