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Three Global e-Commerce Trends for 2013

By Liz Elting

Business 2 Community - December 12, 2012

This past year, we learned that in the digital era, e-commerce moves as quickly as the latest technology will allow. Social media, mobile shopping, and personalized online content are the three biggest retail trends of 2012, and they redefined the shopping experience in exciting and complex ways. As retailers enjoy a record-breaking holiday season, they are already casting an eye to the horizon to prepare for the coming year. Here are three key trends to consider:

  1. Quality content gets the brass ring.  In 2013, there will be a shift in how companies approach search engine optimization and marketing.  Businesses would do well to avoid the same old bag of tricks, such as clogging the Internet with weak content that is chock full of keywords. Instead, the focus should be on your target audience, their shopping behaviors, and what it really takes to create successful online marketing.  Marketers who produce quality content—using a variety of applicable keywords—in both the source and translated languages, will be rewarded by Google with higher search rate results.  However, Google’s latest algorithm update is designed to penalize marketers who duplicate content or have poorly-translated content on their websites.
  2. Celebrate local culture to attract consumers. In 2013, emerging markets will proudly export symbols of their national and cultural heritage. Traditional preferences, local customs, color preferences, and logos are being proudly displayed and mass marketed, serving as a source of pride for domestic consumers as well as points of interest for global consumers. This is especially true of the recently designated “BRIC” countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Expect to see more consumer goods emblazoned with their flavors and marketed to global customers. As a result, both domestic and global consumers will require accurate translation and localization of this content to maximize its authenticity. For example, what is marketed as “the best” product in one culture will be marketed as a product from the “most long established company” in another.
  3. Going native with sponsored content. The biggest shift in e-commerce will be seen in sponsored content.  This trend began to pick up steam in the last half of 2012, and will continue to evolve and expand 2013. Rather than displaying advertisements online such as banner ads, companies will sponsor embedded content on websites. This is also known as native advertising. Think sponsored stories on Facebook or sponsored tweets. Even media publications such as the Atlantic are diving into native ads. This trend will cross borders, and as such, native ads will need to be accurately translated and localized to preserve the original meaning while presenting local content in a way that puts international consumers at ease with the brand.

While these three trends may not appear to be key to your marketing effort right now, it’s likely that they’ll come into play very soon. Smart marketers will spend the last few weeks of 2012 aligning themselves with the most effective localization partner to successfully leverage these trends.