Pants or Trousers? Retail Localization Tips to Consider

Let’s get one thing straight: pants and trousers are exactly the same thing. They’re from exactly the same language with the same dictionary and the same grammar rules. So why does one sound American and the other sound British? That’s the quirky part of language.

But in the world of business, it boils down to this: When you want to sell pants to American consumers, you’ll be more successful if you use the word “pants.” But when you’re selling to British consumers, the term “trousers” is far more ubiquitous (and “pants” is slang for underwear), even though they’re all native English speakers.

It might sound too simplistic, but your native language that you use to communicate in your home country is one of the things that makes it feel like home. So it only stands to reason that if you’re trying to sell online to people in different countries or regions, you should embrace retail localization.

In fact, according to Retail Insider, localizing your text will boost your conversion rates by turning more of your international traffic into buyers. But beyond changing the names of your products, what else is there to do to localize based on geographical language preferences?

Localized Product Reviews

One of the best ways to increase your e-commerce sales in a particular region is to gather and highlight product reviews from customers within that particular geographical segment. Chances are, their thought and speaking patterns will be more aligned with the others you’d like to target, so a decent review from a local customer goes a long way. You can even incentivize the first handful of reviews with a product promotion to get your company started.

Content and Ad Text Tailored to Your Buyers

Content marketing draws people into your site and down a sales funnel, which is a big deal for any international e-commerce company.

Say you offer a virtual stylist service along with a line of fashion pieces in your e-commerce store. To attract the right people, you’ll want to give them a taste of how effective it is up front, and you can talk about that via branded content. But using the same copy from one geographic group to another—even if they do speak the same language—could be a waste of time (and money).

Online shoppers, especially those who would subscribe to a virtual stylist service, want to work with someone who “gets” them and their tastes, and one of your first attempts to relate in this way is using the same colloquialisms.

Tailoring the In-App Purchase Process

Localizing your buying process means localizing every medium and everywhere it can take place—even within a mobile app. Use holistic translation software to translate website content for the desktop site as well as mobile.

Next, make sure that payment options popular with your intended audience are available. PayPal is common, but in some regions, people are more comfortable with other solutions.

Localize Social Media

Even though platforms like Facebook are now charging businesses for spots in their current and prospective customers’ newsfeeds, social media is still one of the best places to source new clients and show off your latest sale to past customers.

You can’t please everyone on a single account, though. Creating a separate page for each of your target locations will work wonders in relating to your audience in their own dialog and time zone.

Retail Localization for Customer Experience

Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

The same goes for e-commerce localization. To create meaningful, emotional connections that make people want to interact with and invest in you more often, you need to speak to more than just their brains. When the web is their marketplace and they can easily buy a similar pair of “pants” elsewhere, they’ll go with the one that gives them a better, more enjoyable, and more relatable shopping experience.


About Chelsea Baldwin

Chelsea Baldwin is a professional business writer and online marketing consultant who specializes in helping business grow their brands and optimize their sales funnels with effective content. She used to hold a corporate position in international marketing, but gave it up to work more closely with companies while traveling the world.