Product Localization: How to Design Experiences for Users Worldwide

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Bartosz Białek

Apr 25, 2024 • 9 min read
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How to unlock the opportunities behind regional markets and succeed globally by leveraging the power of product localization?

From mobile apps to websites and physical products – localization allows businesses to go global while adapting to the different needs and cultural contexts of local markets.

A well-thought-out process helps build trust in the product within new audiences and increases your chances of thriving in the new market.

The question is - what it takes to localize different products and succeed in local markets based on best practices and victorious localization examples.

What is product localization?

Product localization is the process of adapting your offer to the local culture.

It can involve anything from altering language and user interface, all the way to adjusting your services or products to fit local market requirements and address customer needs.

The process is all about understanding the specific cultural contexts of different countries or regions and translating them into a dedicated experience for your customers.

Localization as the key to success in local markets

Why is product localization so important? After all, English speakers make up an astounding 1.5 billion of the population.

Well, 19% of the whole population is a lot, but it’s not everything.

According to CSA Research, 76% of online shoppers prefer to buy products with information in their native tongue, and 40% will never buy from sites in other languages. In another survey conducted by Unbabel, as much as 84% of marketers reported that content localization has had a positive impact on revenue growth.

With that in mind, we need to remember that language is just the tip of the iceberg. The cultural context can also vary from region to region, which may influence your sales and the interest in your product within the specific groups. Make sure you take that into consideration.

Key benefits of product localization

If you’re truly committed to going global, localizing your product is the best way to tap into possibilities coming from other markets. It can help you with such goals as:

  • Addressing local needs
    Depending on the markets you’re entering, the needs of local customers may be different. For example, for food chains, it might mean introducing a local taste to the menu. Adjusting your offering to the market will help you win local consumers, expanding your business.
  • Refining user experience
    User experience is crucial in any product. In the case of a localized one, it’s important to understand that users in different regions might have distinct requirements regarding digital products, including such elements as language, graphic design, and UI/UX. Adapting your product to specific markets will help you ensure a better experience for all your customers.
  • Improving engagement
    Localizing your offering will also allow you to further engage your audience. Creating an experience that resonates with locals is very important to the overall success of the product. In the case of a streaming service, these engagement drivers will, for example, include introducing subtitles to movies and uploading local content to the platform.
  • Increasing the revenue
    Finally, product localization done right will affect your conversions. Whether you’re expanding your fintech app, or introducing a café franchise into other markets, localization helps you build trust and win over new audiences in an unknown territory.

The process of localization: from product to marketing

localizing your product is not only about translating copy. This is about what elements you should keep in mind to successfully launch a product to the new market.

(Actual) product localization

The first step of localizing your product is taking care of the actual product. All other localization efforts won’t matter if the product itself doesn’t fulfill the needs and requirements of the local clientele.

From UI elements, in-product copy, and tooltips, to currencies, units of measure, and dates – make sure it all makes sense to your new audience. Missing some parts may lose you customers who won’t trust a website with problematic UI or incorrect date formats.

Last, but not far from being least, while localizing the product make sure you’re in line with local legal requirements. These may vary depending on regional or country laws, so make it your priority to understand the local rules and regulations.

Landing page localization

Your website is the first place your customer “lands”, when showing interest in your product. You got their attention, now it’s time to convert. At this point, it’s crucial to keep your customer engaged and address their needs – both product and content-wise.

Here, you need to focus on translating all textual content (such as microcopy and product descriptions) and visual elements (including any images, videos, and infographics).

Marketing localization

Having your product and website ready, you can move on to yet another important aspect of localization: marketing.

If you’re trying to reach the local audience, you need to understand their needs and cultural nuances. This will help you translate your message in a way that resonates with locals.

You’ll have to develop a market-specific key message that will guide the creation of all other materials, including slogans, banners, social media ads, and more.

Be prepared that, in some cases, localizing your marketing may mean you will have to adjust your brand identity to suit the likings of your new audience.

Additional content localization

Lastly, you’ll need to localize any additional content, including such elements as documentation, product manuals, FAQs, how-to content, and more.

All to make your customers feel at ease while choosing your product.

Successful product localization examples

From major leaders to smaller players – companies are adapting their products to fit the local markets. Here are some of the most successful examples of product localization.

Netflix

Netflix, the global video-on-demand service operating in more than 190 countries, is an excellent example of a victorious localization process.

Launched in the 90s, the platform started by covering the U.S. clientele alone. Entering the international expansion process in 2010 from Canada, it has grown to over 40 countries just a year later. How did they do it?

One of their secrets was a heavy investment in the localization process. From adapting its UI to introducing local dubbing and subtitles, the platform has translated its content to ensure it addresses specific markets’ needs.

Did it pay off? Well, the digits speak for themselves. Now, Netflix serves more than 260 million paying subscribers worldwide, and the number keeps on growing.

netflix users by quarter

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/250934/quarterly-number-of-netflix-streaming-subscribers-worldwide/

KFC

Another interesting example of a successful localization is… KFC. While not offering a digital product, but a very physical one, the company offers a lot of lessons for businesses willing to take their digital product or service globally.

KFC took the world by storm by allowing local franchises to embody local cuisine and culture into their menu and communication. They adapted their product and everything that comes along, including marketing, websites, social media, and more.

Catering to local tastes and preferences, the brand is a winning global player with whooping 24,000 locations in over 145 countries.

Make the most out of product localization

Successful case studies from worldwide leaders prove that what going global actually means is… going local.

If you want to take your company to another market, you need to understand it well.

Know your audience and translate your product – both language and requirements-wise, to suit the needs of your new customers.

Bear in mind that, depending on your business, localization can mean anything from adjusting your marketing strategy to introducing an updated offering.
Above all, make sure you choose the right partner to enter this journey with you. Experienced consultancies will help you get there faster and ensure everything is in place while entering the new territory.

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