When a business sets out to enter a new foreign market, a typical starting point is to take the UK product and apply it in the same way to the new market, using the same channels and the same technology.
If a market approach works well in the UK – and the country you are targeting shares similar consumer attributes and preferences – why choose a different approach? For lots of reasons, is the simple answer.
Each country needs to be thoroughly researched to identify where differences to the UK might exist; technologically, legally and culturally.
This blog is the first in a series looking at market entry. It focuses on the important role of Technology in reaching your overseas market.
Key areas to consider in your Technology due diligence:
Does your target market have the necessary infrastructure in place to support your chosen approach? How does the reliability of the country’s infrastructure impact customer choice of device?
Online material was once only available through desktops or laptops in the Western world. It was only later that the majority of users chose to access online content via their phones or tablets. Not so in the developing world where mobile devices have been far more prevalent from the earliest stages of the technological journey. A staggering 98% of Internet users in China and 80% in India already access the Internet via their mobile devices.
Firstly, there’s the website, postings on social media and any apps to consider. Does your chosen technology support the target language, e.g. are cyrillic characters displaying correctly?
Secondly, you may wish to offer an online chat function as you do in the UK but your existing Customer Services team may not be equipped to respond – either because they do not have the required native language skills or because time differences dictate that they are unavailable.
Where does your chosen audience ‘hang out’? You may get great traction from your LinkedIn posts in the UK but German speakers across the DACH region are more likely to use the Xing platform.
Although censorship of social media platforms in countries such as China and Iran is well documented, what of countries that might impose temporary bans? Sri Lanka has on more than one occasion over the last year imposed a blackout on Facebook and associated platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram, citing the spread of misinformation and religious hatred as reasons for this decision.
If you offer your customers the option to purchase goods online, what payment methods will be the most trusted? Again using Germany as an example, consumers are far more reticent than in the UK when it comes to using their credit cards for payment.
Whilst online payment services like PayPal are quick and secure, the financial cost of conversion fees should be factored into your overall product cost.
Behaviour – purchasing
How a consumer buys can have a big impact on your business. In Germany, it’s far more acceptable to order items in bulk – whether that be in different colours or different sizes – with a view to also returning in bulk. This purchaser behaviour needs to be factored in to your cashflow modelling and stock levels.
Changes to product
Have you considered that your product might also need adapting? If it requires a power supply, what voltage applies to that country?
Consider too if any app you deploy in the UK will require amending. Voice menus will need to be updated from English to the target language. Of course, your chosen language or dialect might also vary within a country. In China, for example, Mandarin is the majority Chinese dialect whereas Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong.
Are there elements of your instruction manuals or service agreements that also need to be changed? Like most of the world, Europe adheres to the metric system of measurement (kilometres, kilograms and Celsius) whereas the US still uses the imperial system (miles, pounds and Fahrenheit).
At Peak Translations, our work is as much about translating for a country – with all its cultural and other nuances – as it is translating a language.
Why not put our 40 years’ experience to the test when engaging with a new foreign audience? Contact me or a member of my team on E: firstname.lastname@example.org or T: 01663 732 074.
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