E-commerce Localization in the Age of Covid-19


In the age of Coronavirus, almost nothing is quite as it used to be. Many companies changed the entire business plans to stay afloat. Having an online presence is now more crucial than ever, meaning e-commerce localization, new offerings, and innovative marketing campaigns need to be implemented.

As lockdown eases around the world, we look at how companies transformed long-term e-commerce strategies.

The stats: Covid-19 impact on businesses around the world

  • In Japan, 97% of companies felt they had been somewhat affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • In Italy, online revenue for the retail industry between February and April 2020 reportedly went up 40% when compared with last year.
  • In China, 64% of surveyed customers said they had changed offline to online purchases of hygiene products.

With this upward spike in online revenue and becoming a beacon of hope, e-commerce trends are closely monitored around the world. Industries, including games, toys, clothes, health and beauty, sports, and more, could profit from online strategy changes, including utilizing e-commerce translation services.

However, the impact of COVID-19 isn’t uniform, and businesses are taking industry-specific approaches, and even forming special partnerships, to combat the obstacles they face. Below, we’ve created an overview of several big-name brands’ e-commerce strategies, including diversification, app growth and e-commerce localization.

Amazon and Walmart’s strategy shift

Amazon: eCommerce leaders

Amazon’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been multifaceted. Aspects include postponing Prime Day (amazon’s promotional discount day each year) from summer to fall and prioritizing essentials, including groceries, health, household supplies, and pet care products.

Moreover, Amazon went beyond its usual remit to create a unique partnership with Vogue. The company will showcase independent luxury designers on its website, where shoppers can browse by brand, price, or by “new arrivals.”

This initiative is linked to the Common Threads program that raised over $4 million in response to the worrying decline of industries specializing in luxury and high-end goods. Amazon also donated $500,000 to the program.

Walmart: top of the App Store

Walmart has been working hard to become a top contender in the e-commerce business. Its main advantage lies in its existing breadth. Thanks to large-scale operations, including a huge number of international stores, Walmart has a strong relationship with certain brands, manufacturers, and suppliers that can meet demand.

Additionally, TechCrunch reported that Walmart’s grocery app became the top US shopping app on April 5, making it 20% more popular than Amazon. This shows a shift in the company’s operations that could continue.

E-commerce localization: the key to online sales

Global brands need global strategies. Industry giants like Amazon and Walmart use e-commerce localization as a way to resonate with their audiences. This means that webpages aimed at users in different locations look different, which helps to engage local customers and make branding and messages clear and attractive.

Simply put, e-commerce localization is the process of adapting an online store to be culturally, visually, and linguistically appropriate for customers in the target country or region. This can include adapting the text, imagery, units of measurement, terminology, and more to suit the tastes and consumer habits of the locale. Making an online store look and feel local to customers can boost sales, increase retention, and improve customer satisfaction.  

Zara’s e-commerce localization mission

In response to major disruptions to in-person shopping worldwide, Zara created a drastic new plan that will see the closure of 1,200 stores globally. The clothing brand, owned by Spanish retail giant Inditex, will instead increase its efforts in growing its e-commerce platform.

To successfully create an online-focus for its brand, Inditex will need to work carefully on Zara’s e-commerce localization strategy to capture the attention of potential customers worldwide. Their overall online plan includes a $1 billion e-commerce investment and a target of 25% online sales, which would be an increase of 14% compared with last year.

How to succeed in e-commerce?

At Future Trans, we have been leading e-commerce localization for over 24 years. As an ISO 17100 certified company, we follow the highest quality standards and work with top companies to help them reach international audiences across Africa and the Middle East.

Future Trans can work with you to ensure your e-commerce store is well translated and localized, providing advice on budget optimization. Our specialists are experts in both our industry and yours, so send us a message to find out how we can help.

To read more about localization, take a look at our article on how to avoid marketing localization mistakes.

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