Expanding beyond your home marketplace is a great way to extend customer reach and generate further sales. However, every market comes with its own requirements, challenges, and differences. With Amazon present in over 20 marketplaces, it is important for any business entering a new market to localize their product for that specific country and audience.

Most people will refer to localization as adapting content to suit a specific market, but it covers so many more areas that often get overlooked. This is why so many businesses expanding internationally run into issues and don’t see the sales they had hoped for. Localization applies throughout a business’ international journey, from identifying demand all the way to ensuring products are compliant, with content that appeals to the native audience. 

Understand the demand in the local market

As a first step, you need to decide on the marketplace you wish to enter. Avoid bundling countries together, such as Amazon Europe. That consists of 9 countries and counting, each with their own requirements, language and nuances. When deciding on the marketplace, you need to check there is actual demand for your product. You might be having success with your products in your home market, but that doesn’t automatically mean there is demand for your item in another marketplace. For example, you sell swimming pool filters, which are a hit in the US market particularly in those hotter states. Hoping for a similar success in the UK, where few people own swimming pools in a cooler climate, unfortunately, is not going to happen. This may sound obvious, but we see it happen, where businesses launch into new markets without doing their research.

The key here is to identify whether demand exists, research if the product is already being sold on Amazon and what the competition looks like. There are third-party tools available that provide you with market insights to get an idea of the potential sales you could achieve, as well as spy on the competition.

Confirm your product is fully compliant with local laws

Once you have decided on your marketplace and identified demand, you need to ensure your product legally complies with that country. Some product categories are more regulated than others in certain countries, whereby labeling, and packaging needs to be managed at the country level. This may mean, having to localize your product labels and even adjusting your ingredients in some categories such as sports supplements or grocery. Failure to comply, and you’ll be heading into all sorts of trouble.

Check your brand name doesn’t already exist in that market

Once you have a product that complies with the market you are planning to enter, you need to do one final check. Make sure nobody else has the same trademark. An example is Unilever. They launched the brand Axe in France, and then when it came to launching in the UK, they faced a trademark issue and so went with the name Lynx. You’ll also need to check if your brand translates well into that country and doesn’t mean something in that language that could have a negative impact on sales and potentially be seen as offensive. If that is the case, you will need to create a different brand for that market.

Personalize your content to the local audience

This is when translating and localizing product page content comes into play. The translation piece is only part of it, you also need to adapt the content to the local audience. Each country will have their own values, customs, lifestyle and spending behavior, a direct translation will not capture this. Even if the markets have the same language e.g. the US and UK, the content will still need to be localized. Make sure you capture misspellings and words that have different meanings, such as, ‘colour and ‘color’ and ‘sweets’ and ‘candy’.

This is when market-specific keyword research is imperative. Keywords do not translate, and some products can have multiple meanings in one language compared to another. Miss out on this step, and you’ll fail to tap into the potential interest in your product. Doing local keyword research will also ensure you are focusing on the right search terms for your sponsored ads to drive stronger, and more efficient results.

We strongly suggest you hire translators who are experienced in managing content for Amazon as they should incorporate keyword research and localization in their work. Avoid machine translation at all costs, they will not drive optimal results. They translate, they do not localize. When it comes to managing ads, if a budget is available, have someone manage your ads that is a native speaker or at least proficient in that language. If the budget is tight, have a proficient speaker do the keyword research for you and review your search terms from time to time to ensure you are bidding on relevant terms and have all major keywords captured.

Invest for long-term success

For international success, businesses must invest in localization. It may come at a cost, but that investment will pay off over time. It’s that or running into a series of problems and not driving the desired results. Localization provides a personalized shopping experience for that market’s audience, tap into the market like a local, and you will see stronger engagement, conversion, and overall sales.

If you are looking to expand internationally and looking for a helping hand, eCommerce Nurse is there to support you. We help sellers and vendors expand from the US to Europe and vice versa. We know what is needed to drive international success on Amazon.