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10 Essential E-Commerce and Retail Industry Trends

Adjust your retail strategy to accommodate a growing global market and achieve increased digital sales 

In an increasingly digital and connected world, keeping up to date on the latest e-commerce trends is essential to optimizing your online business. Lionbridge’s end-to-end B2C and B2B e-commerce services ensure that you can connect with consumers around the world, no matter what language they speak. Our expertise in localization and content creation and transformation means that you can meet customer expectations in any market. As you embark on or expand your global retail journey, discover our essential trends for e-commerce success.

Cross Border Commerce

Global e-commerce growth is slowing amid a backdrop of the pandemic, climate change, soaring inflation, and war. Despite these concerns, cross-border commerce is still experiencing dramatic growth — amounting to 13% growth year over year, according to a report from Juniper Research. More consumers than ever are buying from brands based in other countries: Consumers are expected to buy $1.9 trillion worth of goods in 2022 and $2.1 trillion in 2023. Thirty eight percent of online sales are also expected to be conducted across borders next year.

Considering this growing trend, you may consider a cross-border strategy for several reasons, including:

  • Your growth aspirations are larger than your borders
  • There is demand for your good or service in new markets
  • Your goods have a global appeal
  • You are looking to gain efficiency
  • You want to diversify risk

Cross-border commerce does not require immediate investment in Direct to Consumer (DTC) strategies or finding retailers to work with. Marketplaces can serve as a great entry point into new markets to test the market. Social channels can provide a similar solution.

How Lionbridge can help:

As cross-border e-commerce accelerates, the opportunities to expand into new markets are greater than ever before. Lionbridge creates compelling local content that builds connections with global customers — regardless of their preferences, language, or nationality.

Voice Search

Over the past decade, phrases like “Okay Google” and “Hey Siri” have entered all of our lives. Voice search has revolutionized how we get information while multitasking or on the go, and the industry shows no sign of slowing down. 150 million smart speakers were sold in 2020, and 65% of 25–49-year-olds use a voice-enabled device at least once a day. Additionally, 30% of web browsing conducted in 2020 was screenless.

This trend is in no small part driven by the rise of browsing from mobile devices. With over 4 billion unique mobile internet users around the world, voice search makes mobile browsing uniquely accessible to consumers who are driving or otherwise unable to look a screen.

What does the rise of voice search mean for your e-commerce strategy? The good news is that a voice search strategy is a natural extension of SEO best practices. Keep these essential tips in mind:

  • As you aim for position 0, create content that answers a question in the way most people interact with voice technology. For example, when trying to target consumers asking, “Where can I get the best deal on sunglasses near me?”, be sure to include “best deals on sunglasses” in your content.
  • Smart speakers use a variety of search engines to answer questions. Make sure to optimize your content for multiple search engines instead of solely relying on Google.
  • Most voice searches come in the form of a question. Focus on answer who, what, where, when, why, and how for the goods and services you are marketing.
  • Conduct specific keyword research for voice search, including keywords, phrases, and fillers. Incorporate long-tail keywords as well.
  • Get your technical SEO right. Ensure your site structure, navigation, schema, and sitemap are all set up properly.
  • Leverage semantic search strategies in addition to keyword-driven strategies. Create topic clusters around topics users may want answers to.
  • Focus on natural language based on in-market research. For example, consumers based in different parts of the world may prefer the word “sneakers” over “trainers,” or vice versa.  
  • Ensure your location information is optimized, and keep this information rich and up to date.

How Lionbridge can help:

Our voice experts can help you create dedicated in-market content to boost your rankings and discoverability, connecting you to more customers.

Mobile Commerce

Around 55% of all Internet traffic came from mobile devices in 2022. Mobile e-commerce sales make up a striking 72.9% of online purchases, and consumers may spend hours prior to a purchase conducting research on a phone or tablet. Therefore, mobile-optimized digital experiences are essential for online success.

Brands need to adopt specific strategies for mobile access, including investing in mobile web design and mobile-specific SEO strategies. Prioritizing mobile approaches is particularly important around seasonal peaks when mobile shopping sees a dramatic increase.

Mobile strategies are also crucial for other methods of user engagement, such as email campaigns and SMS marketing. When creating content, consideration of the medium in which the content will be consumed is essential for content creation and localization. Long form content can serve as an important content marketing tool, but consumers are increasingly expecting and responding to short form written, audio, and video content.

How Lionbridge can help:

Lionbridge’s translation, localization, and transcreation services ensure your content resonates, no matter in which language or on which device it is delivered. Additionally, our mobile app localization services accommodate the cultural and linguistic preferences of each of your target markets, giving your app a truly global reach.

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According to one study, companies that use video marketing grow 49% faster than those who don’t. 90% of customers say that product video helps them make buying decisions, and according to HubSpot, video is the top investment for B2B brands in 2022.

Video content can help at every stage of the buyer journey, but be sure to conduct in-market research and discover local preferences in target markets. For example, in the U.S. and Germany, most customers prefer image-based ads to video-based ads.

The video content arena is a highly fragmented space, consisting of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, among other social media platforms. Therefore, it is necessary to create a strategy for multiple video channels. Many platforms now include commercial capabilities, driving engaged users directly to the online shopping cart. However, a successful video strategy isn’t all about conversion — delivering a great user experience is also critical in helping customers form a positive impression of your brand, which is essential for all stages of the buyer journey.

Video content also provides many options to track and measure user engagement, making it easy to make data-driven decisions when it comes to how to best use video for B2B and B2C marketing.

When creating video, consider subtitling, voiceover, and localization in the production process to boost your content reach. 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, highlighting the importance of delivering a strong user experience even without audio.

Optimizing multimedia content is another essential component of your SEO strategy. On average, Internet users spend 88% more time on sites with video, and effective use of video increases your chance of being ranked on the first page of Google by 53 times.

How Lionbridge can help:

Lionbridge offers end-to-end video translation, localization, and transcreation services. From locally relevant images to accurate subtitles and studio-quality audio and video production, we help you expand the reach and impact of your multimedia content.

Customer Experience

Providing a great customer experience includes all stages of the customer journey, through checkout and including any later customer service experiences. Consumers want a personalized experience, but they only want to tell you necessary details once. Therefore, it is important to use all available data to customize every stage of the buying journey.

How brands approach issues and problems is also an important opportunity to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Despite best intentions, missteps are always possible — it is how these missteps are handled that are critical to customer advocacy and recommendation.

Customers remember and tell their friends and colleagues about their best and worst buying experiences, so it is essential to create the best experience possible for each customer. Consider the following checklist and your progress in each category:

  • Simplifying checkout
  • Using data to refine and optimize buying journeys
  • Delivering relevant content for each stage of the buying journey
  • Personalizing content to each user, including creating content in their native language
  • Facilitating omnichannel experiences
  • Creating device-specific designs
  • Helping users find answers on your website quickly
  • Delivering content in multiple formats, including video
  • Making contact information easy to find

In a cookie-less world, first-party data is crucial. Tying your customer data to your user experience, and ensuring that this experience is optimized across devices and channels, is a key factor in meeting users’ expectations of a positive customer experience.

How Lionbridge can help:

Access our translation and over-the-phone interpretation services to increase the reach and efficiency of your customer service team. GeoFluent, our SaaS-based, real-time translation platform that spans all communications channels, enables multilingual online chat solutions.

Frictionless Shopping Journeys

A usual shopping journey can create many points of friction, which can lead to abandoned shopping carts. Around half of shoppers abandon their carts because they were just browsing. However, those with a genuine purchase intent tend to abandon their cart because of:

  • Being asked to create an account
  • Having to use a complicated checkout process
  • A lack of payment options

Minimizing these friction points can help ensure more customers complete purchases. Consider these factors that can lower cart abandonment:

  • Delivery tracking
  • Reasonable shipping times
  • Refund and return simplification
  • Relevant payment methods
  • Different shipping options
  • Localization of product and delivery information

By creating a convenient shopping experience, inspiring confidence in the customer, and speaking to the customer in their native language, it is possible to optimize the shopping journey and convert more customers.

How Lionbridge can help:

Lionbridge crafts compelling local content in every language to help global retailers deliver an exceptional shopping journey anywhere. For a German luxury fashion retailer, we translated up to 1,000 product descriptions (SKUs) per week into languages like Chinese, Korean, Latin American Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Arabic. We injected previously researched keywords into the copy to assist in their search engine optimization.

Environmental Social Governance (ESG)

Consumers are increasingly making decisions about which brands they buy from based on their impact on the planet, how they treat the communities they rely on for producing their products, their attitude towards their staff, and how inclusive they are.

Ensuring your content, stores, and products can be accessed by those with disabilities is crucial: Beyond being the right thing to do, ensuring an inclusive experience for all also addresses a significant part of the market.

Over 90% of business leaders believe their company has a responsibility to act on ESG issues, and customers are in agreement: 83% of millennial consumers and 73% of consumers aged 35-54 say it is important to them to buy from companies that align with their values.

These areas are also fundamental to employee engagement, as employees want to work for conscientious employers. Beyond engaging employees and customers, ESG is essential for businesses to act in good conscience as global citizens.

One significant upside is that consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services that are healthier, safer, and more environmentally and socially conscious.

Communicating your ESG philosophy, progress, and activity is essential, and making sure these values are available to everyone in your markets should be an important aspect of your communications strategy.

How Lionbridge can help:

Lionbridge’s translation and localization services ensure you can communicate your ESG policy in any language — winning the loyalty of customers from around the world.

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Content Marketing

Almost half of all buyers will view three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a sales representative. The content marketing market is seeing substantial growth for a reason: Your content should be your best salesperson.

Video content was the most popular format for content marketers in 2021. In recent years, the cost and complexity of producing video assets has decreased, making the format an accessible medium to most brands. Videos can also be used to diversify content: After creating a video, it is easy to create additional audio and text content from that video.

However, blogs are still critical in educating and informing customers. They are also easy to incorporate into an SEO strategy, as fresh, regular content provides more search discoverability and enables a greater reach for your brand.

Case studies, reviews, and recommendations serve as additional key content areas to focus on — these forms of content enable consumers to develop trust in a brand. By bringing different content together through tagging and linking, consumers are able to access relevant information in the format they prefer. Content clusters help with brand resonance, conversion, and customer loyalty.

How Lionbridge can help:

World-class content marketing goes beyond creating great content: It is also important to optimize your website for multilingual visitors. Hear more from our Global Search Subject Matter expert.

Product Content

Product content is a key differentiator for online shoppers. A survey by InRiver shows that 83% of shoppers said product information was essential or very important.

Low-quality product content has also proven to have a strong negative effect on consumers: 51% of customers would prefer to shop elsewhere when confronted with bad product content, while 45% would be left frustrated and 34% would be angry. Clearly, product content is a defining factor in e-commerce.

Product content must convince a consumer to choose your product. 78% of product searches on Amazon do not include a brand name; instead, the product description must be compelling and information enough to prompt a purchase.

When it comes to product descriptions, 39% of shoppers prefer written content, 24% prefer images, and 19% prefer customer ratings and reviews. Shoppers between 18 and 25 years of age even more strongly favor the latter category.

In a fiercely competitive online world with so many choices for consumers, it is essential to keep your product content up to date, accurate, and on-brand. Adding multiple channels and languages to a high number of SKUs is also necessary to achieve a multi-market or global presence. Creating this product content in a consistent way is vital to ensuring quality and efficiency throughout the content lifecycle.

How Lionbridge can help:

We help global retailers reach consumers through effective translations. Read our case study on how we helped Dorel Juvenile, the leading retailer supplier of children’s goods, achieve a consistent brand voice throughout its target markets. We delivered translation and transcreations for six divisions in 11 languages, including translating product descriptions for online shops on Amazon.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is more essential than ever: With over 4.62 billion social media users globally, social media channels are a way to build real connections with your audience. Short-form videos and live content are the most effective ways to connect with customers, according to HubSpot.

Given the fact that you have a limited budget and resources, it is important to focus on the channels that really work for you. After researching buyer personas and your target audience, zero in on your buyers’ behaviors and where they spend time online. Depending on which social media platforms you’re targeting, influencer marketing can be leveraged to access new markets and engage customers.

How Lionbridge can help:

Lionbridge’s multimedia translation and localization services ensure your videos connect with customers around the world. Our transcription, subtitling, and voiceover capabilities enhance the social media user experience and maximize the reach of your content.

Ready to get started?

Lionbridge offers end-to-end support across the full e-commerce lifecycle, helping businesses achieve increased digital sales and win new markets. Visit our dedicated e-commerce resource page to learn more. 

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Rishi Ramsamy and Jamie Dickson
Rishi Ramsamy and Jamie Dickson