ECOMMERCE STHLM offers a network to develop, enhance and improve the digital world. The ECOMMERCE expo was recently held at Kistamässan right around the corner from AAC’s office, so we took the opportunity to learn more about the latest trends in e-commerce.
Since traditional and digital commerce seem to be merging more and more as time goes on, the ECOMMERCE and SHOP expos were combined this year. Physical bricks and mortar stores that still lack e-commerce generally aim for digital commerce, and the current trend is for e-stores to open bricks and mortar equivalents. The concept of e-commerce thus continues to expand, and its current import will probably change entirely in the future.
Optimizing language management processes is every bit as relevant.
It is said that consumers no longer distinguish between digital commerce and bricks and mortar stores, but rather tend to window shop online even if they subsequently choose to make the purchase at a physical store. Consequently, customer flows between physical and digital sales channels go in both directions, rather than only in the direction of the Internet.
E-commerce can provide added value such as increased brand awareness, and it is a good channel for presenting the offer.
Bricks and mortar stores enable the company to meet and interact with customers on a personal level. They also give customers the chance to squeeze, smell and look at the actual physical products. Another development is that cell phones are increasingly being used to make purchases – especially in Sweden, as compared to the other Nordic countries. The younger the consumers, the more important their cell phones are in their lives (something to which most parents can attest).
This year’s expo focused on marketing innovations, core technologies, consumer experience and e-logistics. Exhibitors included companies and suppliers that provide most of the products and services needed for both online and bricks and mortar sales.
Examples of these products and services include packaging, plastic and paper bags, payment solutions and web tools, advertising and marketing services — and translation services, of course. Professional translations to other languages are generally a requirement for any company interested in expanding outside the domestic market.
TRENDS — ECO-FRIENDLINESS AND RESOURCE OPTIMIZATION
The exhibitors operate in several different industries. Many of them offer packaging solutions, which are naturally important in terms of achieving clean freight alternatives, but they are also important for achieving esthetically pleasing packaging for products ordered online. Several printing firms had packaging samples on display with impressive and attractive printing.
A number of businesses also had pretty gift packaging and paper bags on hand. One such example is Bong Retail Solutions, which has an eco-friendly profile and uses raw materials from the local Swedish forest for its paper. Avisera was another exhibitor. The company replants trees in Colombia for products with the ÅterBära label; the label guarantees that the products are completely climate neutral.
GöteborgsTryckeriet had some cylinder-shaped paper containers on display that looked like charming little colorful men, as well as some beautiful and stylish boxes.
Storeteam also has an eco-friendly profile. Storeteam markets entirely recyclable shopping carts whose climate impact is three times lower than that of regular metal shopping carts. Some of the products were manufactured from composite materials that contain residual wood fibers.
One important aspect involves offering solutions that simplify the purchasing process — a process which can sometimes be perceived as complicated, even to the point that the customer might decide not to complete the purchase. Tellus Talk offers message services to businesses, which enable SMS messages, emails and faxes to be sent and received anywhere in the world without the necessity of installation. Samsung Pay enables simple mobile payments, while Masterpass facilitates secure online card payments.
Web agency Krokedil was also there. Krokedil specializes in WordPress and WooCommerce — the world’s most utilized platforms for online publication and digital commerce. WooCommerce is an open source platform which is installed as a free WordPress plug-in.
Video as a medium is becoming increasingly useful for many channels, and Vpitch, which uses video to visualize its clients’ business concepts, was also at the expo. Vpitch’s service allows its clients to see when potential customers have watched the video, after which time they can be contacted — thus eliminating the need for cold calls and information emails: demo.
Heymo offers a website builder that helps customers construct their own websites. Could an integration solution perhaps be feasible in the future for translating texts that are published on all of the websites?
One wonderfully colorful exhibitor was Rodeco, which markets easy-to-assemble playgrounds in several European countries. The company already has marketing materials in several different languages.
Translations can and should also be optimized
Many products and services related to e-commerce aim to simplify processes for customers and consumers in various ways. On offer are time-saving solutions that enable websites to be built at lightening speed, payment processes to be simplified and stocks/picking/assembly/packing of orders to be optimized. Streamlining language management processes should be every bit as relevant.
At the beginning of their expansion to the international market, many businesses initially translate their printed materials. Presentation materials and brochures are generally the first to be translated, and websites eventually need to be translated as well.
Make sure you convey your message in a consistent and professional manner — in all of the languages in all of your markets!
It is not unusual for a business to attempt to resolve its initial translation needs by translating its materials in-house with the assistance of multilingual employees and distributors in the countries where the products are marketed. This is a common practice, and up to a certain level and volume, it can work tolerably well. However, more mature companies sometimes also attempt to translate their materials in-house, despite the difficulties and obstacles they encounter along the way.
Disadvantages of in-house translations
- Businesses that translate their materials in-house generally lack a structure for organizing the content that is produced in the various languages. Files might be spread out at the different local offices and lack coordination.
- The employees who translate in-house may work in different file formats and generally do not utilize translation tools, which means achieving consistency in terms of style and terminology is problematic. When it is time for the texts to be updated at a later stage, the process generally has to start from scratch since the previous translations have not been stored in a translation memory.
- A translation agency engages reliable and professional translators who only translate to their native language — an important aspect which is generally difficult for a business to live up to that utilizes its own employees for its translation needs.
- Even if the company’s employees translate to their native language, they are generally not trained writers or translators with industry-specific expertise; rather, these employees generally work in a completely different area.
- Another issue is that it usually takes a layperson much longer to translate a text than it does for a professional translator. And as we all know, time is money. Even if companies feel like there is no extra expense involved when translations are performed in-house, this is not really the case since the time spent by an employee on translations is not free of charge.
Why invest in professional translation services?
Translation agencies have the resources available to engage multiple translators, speed up the process and reduce time-to-market. All of this can make a major difference in sales since a website can potentially be launched several months earlier if a translation agency is involved.
Many businesses are pleasantly surprised to learn how a translation agency uses translation tools to recycle any recurring segments in the material and to achieve consistency in the style and terminology of the translated material, even when the translations are performed at different points in time, by different translators and to and from different languages.
Each customer of a translation agency has one translation memory per language pair. This working method greatly facilitates terminology management, which is otherwise frequently cited as a problematic issue by companies that translate their texts in-house. As long as the customer is available to answer questions regarding unfamiliar company-specific terms and designations, a professional translator can cope with material from most companies, regardless of their operations.
Approved terms can be entered into a termbase which can contain as many languages as necessary, thus enabling professional terminology management and uniform and consistent translations.
As is the case in most businesses, the longer the cooperation, the greater the opportunities to provide truly great service —in this case translations. All companies today need to communicate their brand in a uniform manner, and language is one of the most important tools we have at our disposal. Surveys show that visitors to websites written in the local language tend to trust those sites more and stay on them longer, and are consequently more inclined to purchase items through them.
Make sure you convey your message in a consistent and professional manner — in all of the languages in all of your markets. Learn about the benefits of linking your content management system (CMS) to our translation service in our special blog, and download the free infographic!