The quality of global brand sites fluctuates significantly across regions. While U.S. sites have the most sophisticated features, Brazil and Russia have the least due to infrastructure challenges, according to L2’s Intelligence Report: Localization.
The study makes clear that the U.S. has the most sophisticated sites because the country is home to most digital resources: 49% of enterprise digital teams are based in the U.S. Additionally, merchandizing features like content and guided selling tools are typically launched in the U.S. before being syndicated to other regions.
Meanwhile, fundamental infrastructure challenges make Brazil and Russia lower priorities for global brands. Brazil has seen sluggish e-commerce growth, with expansion hindered by underdeveloped transportation systems and high taxes. Nearly half of Russia’s e-commerce purchases are made in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where many global brands already have a sizeable brick-and-mortar presence, deterring them from further growth.
Between these extremes, brands often miss opportunities to leverage existing experiences. For example, Hugo Boss uses a different platform and architecture for its China and Japan sites than its U.S. and Western Europe sites. While the latter include full product pages and merchandizing, those in China and Japan– where e-commerce is not yet available – function like a lookbook, with store locator buttons replacing product pages.
In contrast, the study shows that the top brands at localization use consistent information architecture across regions, allowing them to syndicate sophisticated features. For example, L’Occitane incorporates videos and interactive tools into the primary navigation menu across all of its country sites, ensuring that Chinese users get an equally sophisticated experience as those in the U.S.