Global Expansion and Product Data

Product Information Management

If you can’t read it, don’t buy it. CSA Research and Kantar came to this conclusion in their study Can’t Read, Won’t Buy. If you want to expand internationally, you need more than just English and your native language in your own online store. In this blog article, we take a closer look at the topic and reveal that translation and localisation are two different things. We also show how PIM systems can make translation and localisation projects child’s play.

Key Findings from the Study

Many companies underestimate the importance of a comprehensive language experience. This language experience is critical to effectively engaging a global audience while building brand, reputation and trustworthiness. This becomes clearer when you look at the findings of the Can’t Read, Won’t Buy study in detail. As part of the study, CSA Research, together with the survey panel specialist Kantar, surveyed around 9,000 consumers in 29 countries about websites and languages in 2019 / 2020.

  1. 65 per cent prefer content in their own language: Understandable, because after all, it is easier to understand what you are reading if the texts are written in your native language. One interesting realisation is that the availability of a translation is often more important than its quality. Ergo: It is better to translate a website than not to translate it at all.
  2. 73 per cent want product reviews in their own language: When buying online in particular, customers attach great importance to the product meeting their expectations and do not just rely on product descriptions. That’s why they often consult product reviews to find out the opinions, experiences and satisfaction of other users. As with the content presented, they also favour their own native language for customer reviews, as this is particularly meaningful for them.
  3. 40 per cent do not buy if the content is not in their own language: This shows once again how language barriers become real barriers to purchase. If a shop visitor does not understand what they are buying, then they are not prepared to buy the product. Without content in the local language, there is no need to place expensive adverts for the online store, because if the product descriptions are not in the local language, visitors will quickly leave the online store.
  4. 66 per cent use online translation tools: If the online shop is not available in the local language, some shop visitors even go as far as translating the content themselves. The problem is that users rely on free translation tools such as Google Translate or DeepL and if these do not translate correctly, then you as the shop owner have no influence on the content that is output. It is therefore advisable to translate the content yourself and have full control here.
  5. 67 per cent tolerate mixed languages on a website: Tolerating does not necessarily mean that something is accepted. For this reason, it is better to focus directly on multilingualism instead of offering a mixture of everything. This way you can be sure that your content will actually be accepted instead of just being accepted.

The study clearly shows that it is essential to offer the online shop in multiple languages if the target group is in other language areas and you want to expand globally. In this context, however, it is also important to distinguish between translation and localisation.

Symbol image with world map for blog article Global expansion and product data

Translation is not Localisation

Even though the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a significant difference between them. Because localisation can only take place once the translation is available:

  • Translation: The texts are translated faithfully into the target language. The content is correct and unchanged.
  • Localisation: During localisation, the translated text is specifically adapted to the cultural characteristics of the readership.

In the case of specialised texts, a correct reproduction of the content with a pure translation is usually sufficient, whereby homonyms should not be ignored. The situation is different with emotional advertising copy. The content must be adapted to the customs of the respective country if you really want to achieve the intended effect. The translation must therefore also be localised. And according to a recent study by DeepL, 96% of respondents (marketing experts) report a positive ROI on localisation projects. This once again underlines the added value of localised content.

Sounds challenging? But it’s not, if you have a PIM system!

Admittedly, English is still the most widely spoken language in the world. But as we have now realised, providing an English online store is not enough to expand globally. Depending on the target market, the target language is also required. Only when the local language is available do adjustments to logistics and payment processing make sense. The online store must not only be designed in the target language, but also localised at the same time. Stumbling blocks such as currencies, units of measurement, size specifications, data formats and cultural factors quickly arise. Not to mention the imagery. This can quickly dampen the euphoria. Not if you are equipped with the right tools or have a PIM system in use. Here are some key ways in which a PIM system can support you in your endeavours to establish a global presence:

  1. Centralised Data Management: A PIM system enables the central storage and management of all product information in one place, including language variants. This is particularly advantageous if your company is active in international markets. With a PIM system, you can ensure that all necessary product information is consistent and accessible at all times, regardless of the market in which the product is offered.
  2. Automated Translation: Some PIM systems, such as OMN PIM, have AI-based services that automatically translate the product information into the respective language (e.g. Google, Microsoft, Deepl and Systran). Simply select the target language and the text will be fully translated by the AI. The translation takes place in real time and does not require a translation service provider or manual maintenance of the translations received.
  3. Efficient Localisation: The localisation of product information goes beyond simple translation and includes the adaptation of product descriptions and specifications to local conditions, such as cultural characteristics or legal requirements. For example, the unit of measurement gram becomes the unit of measurement pound. If there are different terms for the same item, such as pancake, donut, or fritter, that’s not a problem either. A PIM system can significantly simplify the localisation process through integrated workflows and the ability to maintain specific information for different markets.
  4. Faster Time to Market: By using a PIM system, you can drastically reduce the time it takes to bring new products to market. As all product-relevant information is stored centrally and easily accessible, products can be translated more quickly and adapted to the conditions of new markets. This leads to a faster time to market and a competitive advantage.
  5. Consistency and Quality of Data: PIM systems help to ensure that product information is accurate, up-to-date and consistent across all channels and markets. This is crucial to gaining and maintaining the trust of customers, especially when they come from different parts of the world. Correct, up-to-date and consistent information is also important to ensure compliance with local regulations and standards.
  6. Integration with other Systems: Another advantage of PIM systems is their ability to integrate with other systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), online stores and e-commerce platforms. This integration facilitates the seamless exchange of data, making the management of international product lines more efficient. And since the product information is not managed on a channel-specific basis, you can use the data in any other channels (print catalogues, mobile apps or at the PoS) that are relevant to your customer journey.
  7. Text and Image in Harmony: By combining a PIM system with a DAM, which was developed for the management of digital content and is the ideal partner for PIM systems, you can adapt the visual language to local conditions. This not only ensures that potential buyers will recognise themselves in your texts, but also in your images, videos, supplementary documents and other digital assets.

AI has developed to such an extent that it enables precise translations and nuanced localisation. Nevertheless, it is particularly important during the implementation phase that a human being monitors the quality of the translated content. This includes the training of your translation data and the implementation of glossaries to ensure the correct translation of your specialised terminology. Later, during operation, integrated workflows ensure that you can proofread and validate the translated texts. This makes teamwork much easier. Find out more about our AI service for translations. You can find details on our AI Translate page.

Final thought: Global Expansion and Product Data

The use of a PIM system is almost essential for companies striving for a global presence. It not only provides the tools for effective management, translation and localisation of product information, but also supports agile, market-oriented corporate management. By implementing a robust PIM system that is also AI-enabled, you can ensure that your product information is accurate, consistent and culturally appropriate in every market you operate in, ultimately leading to a stronger global brand. And you can simply reuse the data for other touchpoints without having to reinvent the wheel.

It is now even possible to create entire product descriptions with the help of AI. To do this, the AI uses the structured content from your PIM. Based on your data, any amount of channel-specific content can be generated in real time. Whether advertising, SEO or product texts, the AI can not only translate automatically, it can even generate automated texts for you using text robots. Just like our OMN PIM. See OMN PIM for yourself – free of charge and with no obligation: Request a demo

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