How to unlock the power of localization in your business strategies

Why only translating your website isn’t enough to thrive in Latin America? Why displaying product prices in US Dollars may fail? Here are the answers!

August 27, 2020
8 min read

Why only translation is not enough to win the Latin American market? Why displaying product prices in American dollars is not the best idea? Why are your killer marketing strategies not working in LatAm? Here are the answers!

The Internet has changed the retail rules for good, that’s a fact. In a connected world, there are no barriers to find the most qualified consumers and the most profitable markets, however, globalization doesn’t solve all the problems, just the opposite, localization is who plays the key role in order to leverage results and build an efficient international e-commerce strategy.

You can have everything ready in terms of a platform to start selling online to Latin America. But, if you do not pay attention to understanding the local market and the culture, results might take longer than you would like.

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about localization and how to apply it to your business strategies.

What is the localization strategy?

Let’s keep first things first: the localization strategy is more than translating a website, it means to go deep on understanding the specific opportunities of each market and being able to take full advantage of them by knowing the consumer behavior.

So, in order to have a localization strategy applied to your business, you’ll need to make sure that you are carefully analyzing a few aspects. Things such as: having an efficient sales plan according to the retail dates and billing calendar of each country, an optimized checkout considering the specific need of each country, the price displayed in local currency, and a UX strategy that could support the user journey in each country, are crucial.

The localization applied to your business strategy: selling the right product in the right date

What is the biggest sales date for retail in Latin America? If your answer is Black Friday as the only option, you’re wrong! Obviously, Black Friday is indeed an important date, but in Mexico El Buen Fín is even bigger and in Chile, the Cyber Days have a sweet spot. For your brand to reach its full sales potential, the key is to advertise and sell at the right time. Make sure your sales and marketing teams set their strategies accordingly.

Sales Dates in Brazil. Source: EBANX

Also, having a strategy focused on bringing local knowledge to the center of decisions means goes further than only building a sales date calendar, but has all about knowing when your consumer has more purchase power. Do you know, for example, when Brazilians or Mexicans are used to receiving an extra salary? Or how the vacation works in each Latin American country?

Having in mind how your consumer plans his purchases can completely change the way you manage your sales and benefits, starting with offering products on the moments that your consumer is willing to buy it because they have the purchasing power to afford it.

Why isn’t translation enough to have an efficient localization strategy? 

What would be the cross-cultural world without Google Translate, right? In your daily routine, not only this app but also the most professional ones could definitely solve several problems. But to rely blindly on the statement that translation is enough to make consumers from another country trust your brand is a common mistake.

The translation is very important, indeed, but it is just the top of the iceberg. First, because there are language variations among countries, so the most used expressions in Spain are completely different from Mexico at the same time that the Mexican Spanish will probably sound weird for an Argentinean.

It is known that using the same translation for consumers from all these countries can cause a negative impact, as users may not feel represented, get confused or suspicious, or even assume that the website does not sell to their country.

Moreover, other aspects might have all to do with localization and could be game-changers in terms of conversion. Going deep on each topic that could impact on localization means being one step ahead of the competition.

The localization applied to your website: UX & Checkout optimization

A retail e-commerce was unhappy with his conversion rates in Brazil, several improvements were made, and nothing changed. However, taking a deep look, the website was announcing the available payment methods since the first pages, but not all of them: only the credit card was highlighted, the boleto bancário was only highlighted by the end of the checkout.

Result: going deep on consumer behavior, the brand understood that boleto was an important method in Brazil and highlighting the boleto payment option since the first page, alongside credit card and installments, increased the e-commerce conversion rate in Brazil by 13%. This is a case study from an EBANX merchant, but it shows how knowing the local consumer behavior can guide the right UX improvements in order to move the needle of your results.

Giving a more abroad perspective, there are a lot of aspects in which UX can support you on the mission of having a successful localization strategy, such as how to build the menus according to the navigation behavior of each country, how to display prices and installments, how to highlight products and sales in the most attractive way, or even how to make your website look like a reliable option for consumers.

However, there is another UX optimization that deserves to be in a sweet spot: how to build an efficient checkout. In general rules, there are good practices that are part of common sense globally in terms of checkout, such as having as few fields as possible during the process, but in order to ensure that your checkout is not making you lose sales, you will need to go further than that. Each country has its own way to highlight important information during the checkout, the mandatory fields are different, and the way consumers navigate through the fields are also unique for each culture. Understanding that and building a checkout that considers a local behavior first, can put you several steps ahead of competitors.

Starting from the basics, just knowing how to optimize the mandatory fields in each country can already boost your approval rates. As a practical example, in Brazil, the mandatory document required during the payment process is the CPF and by June of 2019 invalid CPF was responsible for 26% of the payments declines regarding the business rules of an EBANX retail merchant. After adding the CPF mask in the checkout in order to check on how reliable the data that the user was providing in real-time, this number dropped almost to 0 in the following months.

The same applies to all Latin American countries. Considering this same merchant, for instance, it didn’t apply the documentation validator in Chile’s website as well and, as a result, in the previous 9 months more than 2,173 payment transactions were denied regarding wrong RUT information. So, the first step is to make sure you completely understand the mandatory field in each country and how you can optimize your checkout to ensure that masks are being properly used to avoid transactions denied.

Furthermore, you can use a benchmarking analysis based on local players to understand how to better use the space for information in your checkout in order to make the essential data clear to users, especially regarding taxes or shipping costs, and avoiding any surprise that could make your consumer give up on buying. And here we have some tips to guide you on this mission:

  • Organize your checkout properly: Organize and separate the steps like personal information, delivery address, and payment summary in your checkout flow. It is simple but very useful to enhance user experience.
Example of an optimized checkout for Brazilians. Source: EBANX

  • Make sure the number of fields is optimized: Put your efforts on the mandatory fields and use the autocomplete tools, when it is available, to reduce the time needed to fill in the whole checkout.
Example of an optimized checkout for Brazilians. Source: EBANX

  • Present your payment methods clearly: For credit cards, show the accepted brands and explain what a CVV is and where to find it and when the user finishes a purchase using cash payment methods make sure the message is clear, highlighting the value, code bar, and expiration date.
  • Certificate your website’s checkout: Having your checkout page SSL-certified decreases cart abandonment significantly by making customers feel comfortable providing their sensitive information on your website. Following the practices required by PCI-DSS, it is mandatory to be SSL-certified when offering checkout with credit card. 
  • Localization always plays a key role: Most Latin Americans don’t fully understand a checkout in English and they won’t feel comfortable finishing the purchase. The most recommended is to translate all the fields to Brazilian Portuguese and displays the price in local currency.


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