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Why Localization Is So Important When It Comes To Ecommerce


For nearly a decade, ecommerce in the United States has grown at a yearly rise of over 15%. In 2018, global web sales neared $3 trillion. While every American has Amazon in their favorites, they are not alone in their use of the internet for shopping. China is the world’s leading ecommerce market and will not be slowing down anytime soon. In China, online global sales increased by 28% from the previous year.

The rest of the world is near the same level or working their way there. According to Roy Morgan, 9.4 million Australians purchased something online within just one year until March 2018. Australia had not seen this much growth in the ecommerce market since 2014. The significant jump in online shopping indicates that trends won’t be changing anytime soon.

India represents a huge potential for online sales. Indian consumers spent $38.5 billion online in 2017, and in 2026 they are projected to spend $200 billion. Less than 65% of the country has an online connection, but the reach of the internet is expected to double by 2021. By 2034, experts believe India will be the second-largest market for ecommerce in the entire world behind China only.

Given the worldwide trend towards ecommerce, it comes as no surprise that international retailers are growing 1.3 times faster than those who sell only in a single country. Experts project that, through 2020, international ecommerce will grow twice as fast as domestic online shopping. Recent research has revealed that 67% of online shoppers in the top global markets have made a cross-border purchase within the past 6 months.

With online shopping becoming increasingly global, the importance of localization has come to the forefront. The customization of a domestic site may not be optimally adapted for a foreign one for a host of reasons. Language quickly comes to mind when one thinks of localization.

While translating a site for local speakers is important and can increase online sales, the truth is that localization involves so much more than that. There are many factors involved in tailoring a site for the customers of a specific area and these will have a huge influence on the success an online retailer enjoys.

Address Forms

The United States has zip codes, which are required for shipping, but not all countries do. Furthermore, not all zip code formats are the same in countries that do have them. In China, zip codes are six digits long. In Canada, Ireland, and the UK, zip codes include both letters and numbers.


Many shoppers will abandon their carts when they discover that prices are not shown in their local currency. Furthermore, the expectations of how prices are displayed (i.e. if they are rounded to a whole number or end in a .99 or .95) changes from country to country and within countries as well.

Retailers need to be able to customize the shopping experience down to the cent. The difference between $15.99 and $16.00 can be the difference between a customer feeling like they’re shopping from a domestic site and not an international one. This may seem small, but combined with other factors, could lead to cart abandonment and a drop off in sales, which is why retailers need to test all these details across their sites.

It is important the brand builds trust with their customers by presenting their websites in a way that adapts to local cultural norms. Creating a local experience goes a long way to create customer loyalty and boost retention.

Culturally Appropriate Visuals

Different populations will deem different items offensive for a variety of reasons. It is important to learn about local customs so as not to offend your customers in a foreign market. For example, in more conservative countries, consumers could be offended seeing product imagery with a model and might prefer seeing visuals that only show the product.

Additionally, a logo or image that is perfectly acceptable in one region could be offensive or taboo in another. Beyond that, certain colors may work better in one part of the world than another depending on their cultural significance or meaning.


Shopping holidays vary from country to country, and missing out on an important holiday in one region could be a missed opportunity. The United States has Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November around Thanksgiving, and while these holidays are gaining ground in other parts of the world, these are not necessarily the biggest shopping days worldwide. In Australia, Click Frenzy Day began in 2012 and is on the third Tuesday in November.

Similar to Cyber Monday, buyers can expect deep discounts, and ecommerce sites should expect heavy website traffic. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day might be important in the U.S., but in China, they celebrate Children’s Day. In contrast, Eid-Al-Fitr is an important Muslim holiday. It is important that global ecommerce merchants plan their promotions to coincide with the major holidays in each market where they have a presence.

Duties and Taxes

Collecting taxes can be tricky as well. In the U.S. and Canada, prices represent the base price before adding sales taxes.

However, in Great Britain and France, the listed price usually includes all applicable taxes. A British shopper may see the sudden addition of tax as a sneaky surcharge. Unexpected surcharges can be a key factor influencing cart abandonment.

The Importance Of Localization

Localization is an important way to connect with your customers and increase your online sales. It can be a challenging process, with different aspects to consider. Many of these factors are not obvious and come as a surprise to online retailers when they decide to take the plunge and enter a new market.

It is usually best to partner up with an advanced cross-border ecommerce platform to localize your site for global shoppers. The investment will be worth it in the end, as your retail reach broadens with your customer base.

It all comes down to the experience. In fact, it’s best to think about customizing the shopping experience for each country. This is because when shopping online, everything from pricing to taxes, shipping and payments, and especially customer service, is part of the experience.

A global ecommerce business will not be as successful without localization. However, localization can be challenging. With global sales increasing dramatically over the next few years, a successful ecommerce business cannot afford to ignore it. Leading technology platforms like Flow are worth the investment for ecommerce businesses with global aspirations that are serious about seizing international opportunities.

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Tips For Launching A Successful Multi-Vendor Ecommerce Marketplace

Today, you can buy and sell anything online. Amazon is one of the best examples of an online platform where you can buy and sell both physical and digital products. Inarguably, digitization is the superpower behind this on-going trend.

According to BrizFeel’s 2018 research report, 57% of people prefer to shop online. There are several reasons why people prefer online shopping over the offline option, some of which include price transparency, better customer service, and convenience of ordering.

For the aspiring entrepreneurs who are still dreaming of becoming a successful entrepreneur in the ecommerce industry, building an online multi-vendor marketplace is a profitable and prominent business idea. The idea is even more lucrative if you don’t manufacture any special and unique goods.

The unprecedented success of multi-vendor marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba isn’t hidden from anyone. According to Internet Retailer’s report, the sales on these multi-vendor marketplaces accounted for 52% of global online retail sales in 2018.

However, starting a multi-vendor ecommerce marketplace is not a walk in the park. Entrepreneurs face two major challenges when building a multi-vendor marketplace—1) when finding a cost-effective platform and 2) when figuring out ways to attract vendors to their marketplace. I will discuss in detail about the two challenges in the later part of this post.

First, let’s understand how a multi-vendor marketplace business model is better than a single-vendor ecommerce store model.

Benefits of A Multi-Vendor Marketplace Over A Single-Vendor Store

What are the benefits to the Marketplace Owner?

  • No inventory management headache
  • Plenty of sellers with different products
  • Large customer base
  • Commission on each product’s sale

What are the benefits to Sellers?

  • Personal dashboard for each seller
  • No web-store setup cost
  • No headache of marketing
  • Wider target audience means more sales

What are the benefits to Customers?

  • Variety of products from different sellers
  • Purchases at competitive prices with comparison of products’ pricing at different sellers
  • Better shopping experience
  • Improved customer service

Types of Multi-Vendor Marketplaces

B2B Online Marketplaces

On B2B online marketplaces, businesses sell their products or services to other businesses at wholesale price.  Alibaba is a reputable B2B marketplace.

B2C Online Marketplaces

Amazon, Flipkart, and MakeMyTrip are a few of the well-known examples of B2C online marketplaces. On B2C marketplaces, sellers from different industries or regions sell their products or services across demographics.

C2C Ecommerce Marketplaces

C2C marketplaces are those where customers sell directly to other customers. OLX is one of the best examples in this category.

Horizontal Marketplaces

Horizontal marketplaces can be B2B or B2C. On a horizontal marketplace, you can find products under different categories from different sellers. Amazon is one among the best examples of a horizontal marketplace.

Vertical Marketplaces

Vertical marketplaces can also be B2B or B2C but on these kinds of marketplaces, you will find a specific category of products from a particular seller.  The audience size on vertical marketplaces is narrower as compared to that on horizontal marketplaces. Uber & Airbnb fall under the category of a vertical marketplace.

Revenue Models for Multi-Vendor Marketplaces

One question that every multi-vendor marketplace owner asks is, “How will I earn money?”

Therefore, I’ve listed below the best possible revenue generation channels for a multi-vendor ecommerce marketplace:


You can charge a monthly or yearly subscription fee from sellers to sell on your marketplace.

Feature Products

You can charge a certain fee from sellers who are interested in featuring their services or products on the home page of your website.


Amazon or Flipkart use this revenue model. It helps you earn commission on every product sale from a seller.

Sell Your Own Products

Again as Amazon and Flipkart do, you can start selling your own products at your marketplace.

Advertisement Channels

Apart from the above, you can earn big bucks by adopting different advertising methods such as Affiliate Products, Banner Ads, and Adsense Ads.

How to Start a Multi-Vendor Marketplace?

Once you find your ecommerce business niche, the next step is to build the online marketplace.

There are many tested solutions in the market for starting a multi-vendor marketplace. If you have time, money, & sound technical understanding, you can hire a web design and development company to build your online marketplace.

However, many startups and entrepreneurs prefer to choose a ready-to-launch multi-vendor marketplace platform instead of hiring a custom web development company. Readymade marketplace solutions are a cost-effective, scalable, and easy to use option, especially for those who don’t have time to deal with programming and technical matters.

YoKart is one of the best multi-vendor marketplace platforms that provide a number of built-in features while ensuring great flexibility. Among all the readymade multi-vendor ecommerce platforms, YoKart is the most cost-effective marketplace solution. Before making a final call, you must choose to try a demo.

Basic Features of a Multi-Vendor Marketplace

  • Order tracking
  • Single page checkout
  • Coupons/ discounts
  • Multiple payment options
  • Mobile apps
  • Location-based search
  • Reviews & ratings
  • Import & export (for sellers)
  • Vendor dashboard
  • Product catalog (for sellers & Admin)
  • Analytic & reporting
  • Multiple administrative accesses

Note: The feature list can be expanded as per a business’s requirements.

How to Attract Vendors to Your Multi-Vendor Marketplace:

Once you have launched your ecommerce marketplace successfully, another big challenge is how to attract vendors to your multi-vendor marketplace.  I am sharing a few quick tips that will certainly help you to get more vendors on your marketplace:

  • First, run surveys through online polls or go to the market yourself to understand sellers’ pain points in the traditional market.
  • Share your business idea with sellers. Help them understand how your web platform can solve their problems.
  • Show them the other benefits such as wider audience reach and increased sales.
  • Start running social media or email marketing campaigns to approach sellers who are already associated with other web platforms. Highlight to them the benefits of selling on your ecommerce marketplace.
  • Conduct training sessions to make the sellers aware about your marketplace features.
  • Offer zero subscription or commission charges in early days.
  • Share your sellers’ success stories on different platforms to encourage other sellers to partner with you.
  • Try other offline marketing techniques like distributing pamphlets, investing in hoarding ads, and attending trade fairs to build relations with other merchants.

If you have any other tips to share, write to us in the comments section.

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AOV vs. LTV: Why Customer Lifetime Value Matters More Than You Think

a couple of weeks ago

There’s no question that most marketing techniques are focused on making sales larger and more frequent. Offering free shipping increases sales, bundling boosts order size, and ad retargeting brings your eCommerce audience back into the fold.

These are all great marketing tactics, and they work toward the same goal. But there’s one eCommerce metric that often goes unaddressed in marketing and sales: increasing the lifetime value of your customer.

The lifetime value (LTV) of a customer often goes overlooked because it is more complicated to incorporate into eCommerce metrics. But it is well worth your time, since LTV can better account for your long term profitability.

Short Term Boost of Revenue or a Long Term Boost of Profitability?

Average Order Value, or AOV, is the average amount of an individual customer order in your eCommerce store. In contrast, Customer Lifetime Value, or LTV, is a measure of the revenue or profit generated by a single customer over the course of their lifetime with your company. Gross LTV refers to the revenue from a single customer over their lifetime, while net LTV measures the profit earned from during that lifetime.

AOV is important because the higher your AOV is, the less effort you need to spend on finding new customers. You need fewer customers overall to make the same amount of profit. However, focusing solely on AOV can be a mistake since it gives a picture of short term revenue rathre than a long term boost of profitability.

LTV is important for eCommerce brands because it determines the worth of a customer over time rather than the worth of an individual purchase or interaction.

Companies with high customer LTVs need fewer customers to make a profit. This can help determine how much money can be spent on marketing geared towards new customers, as you’ll know how much they’re worth long term.

You’re more than likely already well versed in optimizing your storefront and marketing to boost AOV. But what can you do to maximize LTV?

8 Ways to Maximize LTV for Your eCommerce Brand

Make brand loyalty a primary business goal

If you start with the question “How can we keep customers coming back?” the potential answers will span marketing, sales, customer service and everything in between.

Make marketing channels more efficient

You don’t want your marketing efforts to feel like marketing to current customers. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t efficiently bring customers further down the funnel. Any marketing efforts should add value to customer interactions with your brand — birthday wishes and special offers in a targeted drip campaign comes to mind.

Make customer feedback a closed loop

Even negative reviews can lead to better ratings if they are handled correctly. Take the time to respond to reviews, find ways to make it right with dissatisfied customers, and incorporate feedback into your processes and products.

Make personalization a key part of your martech

Personalization is all about making the customer feel known and understood — by design, this keeps them coming back. If you don’t already have the tools in place to deliver personalized landing pages, drip emails and special offers that’s your first step.

Make customer service a business pillar

According to a recent survey, nearly 90 percent of companies expected to compete primarily on the basis of customer service. Customer experience is the new marketing. Your business with a customer isn’t done once they checkout — you need to continually show them why they should come back.

Make customer transactions easy

An easy checkout process will help increase AOV and an easy account creation process should increase LTV, as it gives you a foot in the door for returning customers. It’s as simple as that.

Make use of your customer data

 From how far down the funnel they make it to demographics, you have customer data at your fingertips. You should bring all of this together on a customer data platform to realize the benefits of acting on data in real time will offer your eCommerce brand. On the other side of the same coin, you should be using data analysis and big data to assess how each tweak you make — from paid campaigns to personalization — affects your profitability.

Make an investment in high quality content

 If you’re paying for SEO content on your website, you’re probably hoping to increase page clicks and views. But if you’re doing SEO writing well, you’re also creating a wealth of high-quality content related to the products and services you provide. If readers are coming to your site for accurate and in-depth information, they’ll also come to your site for products and services that they trust.

AOV and LTV is not necessarily an either/or conversation for eCommerce brands. The real question is which you should be using at any given time or to make any given decision. Both metrics have their time and place in most companies.


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Common Mistakes That Startups Should Avoid

3 weeks ago

It is natural to commit mistakes when you start with a new venture. No startup founder knows exactly what to do, and we all learn while working on the job.

I have worked for several startups and I have seen them make some common mistakes. If these mistakes are not avoided, they can lead to failures further down the line.

Here is a list of some of the mistakes which should be avoided by startups.

Fear of failure

When you start with a new idea, the biggest fear is the fear of business failure. The pressure of failure can lead you to make mistakes. Do not allow fear to take over — you can overcome it by talking with friends and other startup founders.

“The success rate can only be estimated when you start implementing on your business idea.”, says Piyush Jain, founder of Simplam, a top mobile app development agency in DC.

Not doing proper planning

A proper business plan provides you with a path to guide your business. You need to plan by keeping in mind the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of the business and the risk associated with them.

The plan should be flexible, means it should be continuously updated. You should create a business plan update it as you progress — this is what drives success.

A good plan defines goals for short term and long term. The predefined goals and time-barred targets of an organization are helpful in its long-term survival. You need to differentiate between the long- and short-term goals of your organization.

Many entrepreneurs make mistakes by setting time-barred goals, ultimately meaning they lack the resources to meet their goal. Thus, your pre-defined targets should be in SMART format i.e. Simple, Marketable, Achievable, Reliable and Time-bound.

Not doing detail market research

Your idea can be unique and you might create a benchmark for small businesses and startups. But when you start with a new venture, it is beneficial to have complete knowledge which can be gathered with detailed market research.

When you conduct market research, you learn about current market trends, customer likes and dislikes, and the expectations of your target consumer. Through these, you can adopt possible changes in your business idea to make it more effective.

Not looking at competitors

Startups and small businesses always have competitors, and you should always look at what they are doing. Search for companies who provide similar products/services to yours and consider their pricing structures, customers and activities. By studying your competitors’ drawbacks and flaws, you can address or avoid those in your own product.

Customers tend to buy products with new features and designs, elements that are missing from your competitors’ offering. Looking at competitors can help you design the right product/services for your customers.

Not taking feedback from customers

An entrepreneur should not only focus on selling the product/services in the market. They should also focus on collecting feedback from customers. When you sell your product, you should reach out personally to customers to get the feedback.

Even if customers are not very happy with the product, they would appreciate the fact that you reached out to them to get the feedback. This can help you to retain even unsatisfied customers.

The most successful startups have focused on changing the product based upon the feedback gathered in the initial stages. It becomes an ongoing process in your company. While adopting the changes, you should ensure that the core objective of your product is not sacrificed.

Avoid over-expenditure

Failing to conduct sufficient financial planning is the biggest mistake in the beginning stages of a startup. Most startups are launched with limited funds and it becomes difficult when costs stack up and you exceed the budgeted amount.

Consequently, do not spend more than your allotted budget just because you have the funds. Be cautious with your spending and try to get tasks done at the minimum cost possible. When you are looking for vendors or services providers for your startup, negotiate to keep your cost down.

It is a fact that businesses do not start making profits from the starting phase and it takes them time to break even. Consequently, you should plan your day-to-day expenses and check on unwanted expenses of the organization.

Not working with experts

When you start on your venture, you should reach out to experts in the domain. It is easy to find and connect them. Linkedin is a great network for finding experts who have done similar things.

Always try to find experts who are local, who you can meet in person. Try to take them out for lunch, dinner or other activities to gain from them. Sometime you may want to hire an expert and they may be very expensive. Instead of hiring them full time, you can hire them part-time to avoid the cost.

You can find several sites and listing which provide experts you need for your startup. For example, one of my friends was looking for app developers in Chicago and they found this Chicago based app developer listing very helpful.

Not adopting new technologies

Adopting to new technologies helps entrepreneurs to conduct business activities faster and better. These days everything is moving into the cloud, including file sharing, data sharing, emails, and other related activities.

Adopting new technologies reduces the burden of work on your startup’s employees and its founders.

Not balancing marketing and sales

Many of the founders do not focus on synthesizing marketing and sales. Putting tons of money in marketing is of no use when your product is not having a sufficient demand in the market. Both the activities should be carried on simultaneously.

Many entrepreneurs think that they can easily put a truckload of money in marketing and reach success. Most of the time this has been a big reason for the failure of startups. You should spend some money on marketing and see how it converts into real sales.

In conclusion

These are just a few of the most common mistakes that startups make. Follow the tips above and put your startup on the path to success.

Author bio: Piyush Jain is the founder of Simpalm, a US mobile app and development company.

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