Once you choose to take your ecommerce business global, you will have to decide how to present your products.  There are four basic vehicles to use:

  • Marketplace
  • Company-owned website
  • Direct to each third-party website
  • Websites through master distributors 

Each choice will dictate your content localization and language strategy.

Marketplaces

The content on marketplaces is generally limited in space, which makes translating fairly inexpensive.  The seller is responsible for the content.  The cost to hire a professional translator for the amount of content needed is affordable.  A marketplace is also the easiest way to enter a market.  There is a built-in audience, so the cost to gain an audience is also manageable. 

Company Owned Website

This is the trickiest and most labor-intensive project when it comes to translating.  There are so many decisions to be made here including:

  • What languages do you translate into?
  • How much of the content do you translate?
  • You must also budget for marketing in the language of the country you are in, not just your website

Direct to Third-Party Websites

In this case, some of the platforms will assist you in translating, as part of their marketing commitment to you.  But there will be a charge for the service.  In exchange, they know what will work for you based on their experience.

Sales through Master Distributors

Selling into a market through a Master Distributor has its advantages.  One of them is the familiarity of their market, culture, and language.  Most likely, they specialize in the type of product you are selling, like food, or electronics.  Because of their knowledge, they usually handle all of the translation and marketing activities for you as part of their dedication to making your product a success in their country.  It is in their best interest to make you a success.  However, there is a level of control you give up using them. 

You May Not Have a Choice

Depending on the public’s familiarity and demand for your products, a large ecommerce website or Master Distributor may not want to take on your line.  They tend to gravitate to the more well known, in-demand products.  You may want to start on Marketplace.  The investment is low, and if you are successful, you may be invited to sell directly.  A distributor in that country may discover you and ask to carry your line. 

There are so many variables and scenarios that can happen.  But, it all begins with how you enter the market.  Your success is determined by the ability of your content to sell your product.  And that will be affected by the choice of your decision to translate. 

Perry Goldstein
Perry Goldstein

Perry Goldstein is an electronics industry veteran, with over 40 years of experience in manufacturer sales and marketing in both the consumer electronics and Pro A/V spaces. He has managed sales in both B2B and B2C markets.