Globalize Your Website






The Internet has unlocked a wide array of markets and
knocked down barriers that previously prevented merchants
from marketing their products on a global scale. There are
a number of ways to ‘globalize’ a website and broaden a
businesses general appeal to an international audience.

1.) Payment Options – vary from country to country,
therefore offering flexible payment options are important.
While PayPal might be a good option for consumer-oriented
products, this service is not widely used by businesses and
is only available to customers in specific countries. In
order to attract global customers, businesses must provide
a variety of payment options that customers, in different
countries, are familiar and comfortable with.

2.) Currency Distinction – provides added convenience to a
potential customer, and shows an understanding and respect
for global audiences. A currency converter is a good
option, especially for large companies who may be dealing
with many countries. When listing prices clearly indicate
the country currency, such as between US dollars and
Canadian dollars. This distinction will prevent
misconceptions and prevent customer dissatisfaction.

3.) Contact Information – should be given for a country
code, along with the area code, when listing phone numbers.
It should not be assumed that customers know the numbers to
dial foreign calls. Since the standards of address formats
can differ from country to country, ensure that the mailing
address listed on the website is properly formatted. In
this time of rapidly expanding use of numbers, if your area
code changes, don’t forget to change the information on
your website.

4.) Delivery Options – should make sense for all customers.
Ensure that they have full knowledge of shipping
information to avoid delay and error. If a shipping option
is not available for a specific region be sure that is
clearly stated on the website. Provide estimates as to when
the product will arrive to various regions, so that
customers have appropriate expectations about delivery time
frames.

5.) Order Forms – when creating order forms use terminology
that is universal; if possible, where relevant, refer to
postal codes rather than zip codes. The terminology on the
order form should support the fact that the company sells
to an international audience.

6.) Payment Policy – clearly state payment policies on any
order pages, if purchase orders or wire transfers are not
accepted from specific countries be sure that the policy is
clearly stated. Prepare an explanation as to why the
policies are in place. Customers understand that foreign
purchase orders are not legally binding and will not feel
alienated if an explanation is offered and clearly stated.

7.) Spelling – can vary, so avoid using terminology on the
website that would cause confusion or look like careless
spelling mistakes. Be clear and concise as many customers
may be viewing your website in their second language. A
website that can be viewed in different languages is all
the better for communicating with foreign customers.

Ultimately the goal is to make purchasing the product or
service easy for a customer. A website that respects
cultural differences, as well as the nuances of language
and terminology, will go a long way in attracting an
international audience.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc.
http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in
alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at
http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com, http://www.rss-specifications.com and http://www.small-business-software.net