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What is multilingual Conversion Rate Optimisation? And should you be investing in it now?

Knowing when to invest your optimisation budget on your international sites, and which ones, is a key business decision. As a guide to whether it’s worth your time and effort to optimise some, or all, of your international sites, try answering the following questions:

  1. What is the rate of ecommerce growth in your domestic market and the international markets you operate in? The aim here is to get a good understanding about the wider context in which this decision is being made and help you identify where the biggest opportunities lie.
  2. Who are the dominant online players in your international markets, and what is their rate of growth? This enables you to focus on the wider context and project the levels of growth you could see from your investment.
  3. How likely are consumers in your international markets to buy online from a non-domestic brand? Research shows that UK online buyers are nearly twice as likely to buy from a ‘foreign’ website as French or German consumers. Understanding these cultural differences can help you to identify the size of your opportunity.
  4. What is the difference, in absolute numbers, of online buyers in each of your markets? Not all markets are equal. This allows you to get perspective about the importance, and priority, of each international market in comparison to your domestic one.
  5. How do your key metrics – traffic levels, device usage, conversion rate, average order value and revenue per visitor – compare between your markets? How well are you currently performing across your portfolio of international sites? Are there any obvious leaders? Any common themes or anomalies?
  6. What would make you more money – a 20% increase in revenue per visitor from one of your international sites, or a 5% increase from your domestic site? This allows you to see just how much could be added to your bottom line as a result of optimising your international sites and whether multilingual CRO will deliver a good return on your investment.
  7. To what extent are the results of your domestic site optimisation still growing? If optimisation results on your domestic site are beginning to plateau, it may be time to switch focus on other sites. On the other hand, if they’re still delivering good levels of increase, you may not want to pull resource away from this to optimise international sites.

There are no right or wrong answers here. The questions, and your responses, are simply designed to guide your internal discussions. But simply considering these questions is likely to give you the answer to the first question we posed: What is multilingual CRO?

If you manage any foreign sites, you’ll already be keenly aware that optimising is not just about translating. Each territory has a different audience with different needs and different cultural expectations. Many successful international ecommerce sites have different, localised, traffic acquisition strategies for different languages and cultures, but this doesn’t always follow through to on-site optimisation strategies.

Multilingual CRO – a definition.

Conversion Rate Optimisation can be defined as “the continuous process of improving a website to gain higher revenues and a better customer experience.

Multilingual Conversion Rate Optimisation is broadly the same. However, rather than improving one website, it improves a portfolio of websites each aimed at different languages / nationalities. And rather than just delivering a ‘better’ customer experience, the focus is on delivering a ‘culturally optimised’ customer experience.

Many of the same processes and principles of single-site CRO are still applied:

  1. Installing tools to your site which allow you to gather both qualitative and quantitative data, and run split tests.
  2. Research & analysis – Using a range of data sources to generate insight into your website visitors. For multilingual CRO this involves using foreign language speakers to support your optimisation team in translation, analysis, running usability studies and liaising with visitors to your international sites.
  3. Prioritising the opportunities – For multilingual CRO this not only involves prioritising the opportunities on each individual website and device type, but also looking for themes which are common across nationalities and those which are nationally unique, as well as prioritising the order in which to optimise each individual websites.
  4. Planning – Creating a roadmap of hypotheses you would like to test based on your earlier prioritisation.
  5. Split testing – Designing, getting feedback on and running split tests which address the opportunities and hypotheses you identified. Again, foreign language speakers are best involved at this stage to gather user feedback on your proposed solutions.

People may speak a different language, and have different cultural expectations, but fundamentally they still buy the same way so following a systematic CRO process is just as effective regardless of the language of the site being optimised.

It’s time to invest in multilingual CRO – what are the next steps?

Having optimised a number of international websites, AWA has first-hand experience in multilingual CRO and delivering substantial improvements across a portfolio of multinational websites, and we’d be happy to talk to you at any time about any queries you have about your international websites. Just call Dan on 020 7887 2695 or complete the form on this page.

Alternatively, if you want to double your CRO success but not specifically through multilingual CRO, you can read our ebook below to find out how a focus on three power metrics can double your CRO success.

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If your CRO programme is not delivering the highest ROI of all of your marketing spend, then we should talk.