What’s In Store for Global Commerce in 2018

With 2018 accelerating forward, we’ve continued to see different technologies poised to transform the nature of global commerce. Many of these have been around awhile, but new applications are emerging that can improve the way retailers and ecommerce companies create delightful shopping experiences.

Although many of us are tired of hearing the buzz word, at this point we all agree that artificial intelligence isn’t going anywhere and we are seeing several compelling applications of the technology across the commerce verticals that shouldn’t be dismissed. Increasingly more businesses will embrace ai-powered chatbots and automated customer service software. With personalization top of mind for almost all businesses, it’s no surprise that customer service is becoming personalized service, using machine learning to power that effort. With AI, all the mountains of demographic, psychographic and behavioral customer data—all of which retailers already collect—can be scrutinized and compiled to better predict preferences and personal tastes. By better understanding the customer, smart businesses will be able to better forecast what new products to develop before the demand even exists. This will have tangible implications for product planning and supply chain management that will require their own solutions involving machine-learning systems to support compressed production timelines.

What other technologies support personalization? Voice search and voice-activated shopping is interesting. The rules for search and discovery are still new and the optimization requirements are still not fully baked, especially because different devices have varying rules and paid search structures. However, it will be compelling to see how voice will play into the omnichannel arena to add another dimension of personalization to an already media-rich experience.

These tools and many more are used to give the customer what she wants. And so often when we talk about personalization, we focus on how to figure out what the customer wants so we can give it to her. However, it can be easy to overlook the simplest customer preferences that we didn’t even know were there, even though the data is clear. The most glaring example is the preference of viewing a website in her native language.

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According to a Statista report from 2017, only 22% of the world’s population speaks English. In other words, 78% of your potential market might not understand your website or product because they can’t read it. And furthermore, according to Common Sense Advisory, 75% of buyers agree or strongly agree that they are more likely to buy a product if the information is in a language they understand. For those of us who have made our way onto a website in a language we can’t read, this seems obvious. If you don’t translate your content, you’re missing the opportunity to capture the other 78% of market share. Translation, quite simply, is a competitive advantage.

But when it comes to building that one-on-one relationship with your customer, language translation is also personal. It builds trust. Think about it: buyers who are more likely to buy a product in their own language not only understand what it is they are buying, but also have the opportunity to connect with your brand and its guarantees. This might include special offers or important information for product safety, shipping, returns, and more. They can understand your brand promise, personality, and values.

Content for global commerce is already very complex. There are more types of content than ever before, with new technologies enabling the creation of more content requiring translation. And if you’re truly serious about communicating with your customer on that personal level, you can’t dismiss the importance of language and how it plays into your customer personalization strategy. After all, if your shoppers can’t understand you, then why would they stick around when your competitor a few clicks away speaks their language?

Learn how Smartling’s powerful tools help global ecommerce brands translate their content and products to grow their business.