Friday, 30 July 2010

Web Hints – Copy Creation for Selling Internationally

chris black and white for blog Just in case you hadn’t already noticed, global online retailing by both larger and smaller brands and independents is growing at an alarming rate.  This should of course be a no-brainer - ‘have website = can sell anywhere’ but, and this is a huge but, you have to put a bit of extra concentration in and get it right for the specific domain into which you want to market.
Classy pictures and clear navigation will work everywhere, and wherever you ship you need to be aware of the delivery options from standard to high speed, duty or sales tax and whether it will be applicable or not and make your returns procedure absolutely clear and as easy as possible.
One thing that many European online retailers, even some large ones, do not focus on is good copy.  If you’re a UK site selling into the US you can get away with well written ‘English’ copy unless you’re going to take it really seriously, in which case a US centric website will undoubtedly convert better and you will need to take in all the language differences, such as Autumn = Fall, Clothing = Apparel, Delivery = Shipping, Lingerie = Intimates (most of the time), Trousers = Pants.  You need to get to know them all.

The other thing of course that you need is a currency converter.  Whatever currency you are aiming at needs to be the currency that shows.  Most overseas customers, unless they are ex-pats, will not want to be bothered with turning pounds into dollars, or euros into anything else.  They will simply leave the confusion and go off to somewhere that does it for them, quickly and efficiently.
The area of overseas selling that seriously causes me a problem is the copy.  Having looked recently at no less than three major German online fashion retailers wanting to sell to both the US and the UK I have been astounded, no - quite simply flabbergasted by the totally appalling lack of attention to detail within the copy, even on the home page.  And no I am not, again, going to name and shame.  The message is clear for wherever you are;  make sure that the person who is writing your copy for an overseas market is from that country and can write colloquially in that language.  Then get it properly edited, again from a correct language speaking person who understands website copy.
If you don’t you will quite simply have a reduced conversion rate and find it hard to be taken seriously.  Lazy copy is a serious mistake and a trap which so many retailers fall into.  Ouch.

This has been a crazy week with three days worth of meetings in London and kids going off everywhere.  I now have surround sound in my gym courtesy of one son and no camera courtesy of the other and I have just had to send John Tovey’s quick hollandaise ingredients to the daughter who is down in Cornwall when sent a ‘MUM I NEED IT RIGHT NOW’ message.  I must learn to get the priorities right………………
Roll on my summer holiday…………………………………….