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Brands: What to Do Now to Prepare Websites for 2012 Holidays

By Kristina Knight

BizReport - October 26, 2012

With the 2012 holiday rush just over a month away, many brands are fine-tuning holiday campaigns, targeting and messaging. But, if the website isn't also fine-tuned, there could be a disrupt between ad engagement and website conversions. Here's what you can do to prepare:

First, keep the messaging localized, especially for local retailers with online reach.

"Keep in mind that "holiday" has different meanings for different consumer groups, and your website, social media presence, mobile sites and apps, and advertising campaigns should give a nod to those differences," said Liz Elting, president and co-founder of TransPerfect. "Know the markets you are targeting and understand that a simple translation is likely not enough if you don't want to appear as an obvious outsider."

Second, make sure content is translated correctly for different regions and countries.

"Online shoppers have the expectation that they will be able to interpret content. However, just being in-language isn't enough. If a consumer visits a site with the intent to purchase and instead encounters poorly constructed content, not only will they then leave the site, but there is a small chance that they will ever return," said Elting. "Be mindful of cross-cultural content in order to reach and engage a multilingual audience. Consider issues like product mix, tone, and imagery to appeal to each market most effectively."

Finally, make sure the sales lifecycle is covered. Ensure the shopping cart is simple to use, that checkout processes aren't too long and that return policies are clearly stated.

"E-commerce is about more than online campaigns and websites. Consumer comfort with a retailer is driven by more than quality; not every transaction is a textbook click-and-ship process. If you want to target a market with in-language content, be prepared to support consumers with in-language customer support by phone, online chat, or email," said Elting. "Potential customers who are invested enough in the transaction to find their way to your support centers are serious buyers, and not having in-language resources accessible to them can jeopardize an otherwise likely sale."