Interpro Speaks on Multilingual Websites at Prosper Show

by Ralph Strozza

photos at the prosper showLast year, James Thompson – one of the organizers of the inaugural PROSPER Show --contacted Interpro to see if we would be interested in sending someone to participate in a panel discussion at the show which was to take place in Salt Lake City February 8-9, 2016. The objective of the discussion was to provide information to participants who were interested in taking their on-line Amazon businesses international, including best practices for developing multilingual websites, providing international fulfillment, and optimizing shipping to various geographical locations around the globe. Given our multilingual website experience, I thought this was a good opportunity and decided to participate.

Multilingual Website Education and Research Best Practices

PROSPER is an organization focused on sharing best practice Education and Research materials to Professional Retailers Online and Solution Providers. This first-ever PROSPER event was focused on online sellers seeking to improve their business on Amazon. It featured over 10 ex-Amazon leaders and CEOs/General Managers of over 30 solution providers using a workshop and seminar approach to help sellers learn how to build better online businesses.

The keynote speaker was John Rossman, an ex-Amazon executive who was at Amazon in the early days with Jeff Bezos. The theme of his talk was “The Amazon Way”, and each attendee was given a copy of his new book titled The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company. The discussion  - and the book – both provide excellent insights into what drives the on-line behemoth, and why it works.

One of the hot topics was the panel I participated in: “Tools Needed To Prepare to Sell Internationally”. On this subject, it is interesting to point out that Amazon has 10 marketplaces in the world, located in key countries in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK), Asia (China, India, Japan), and North America (Canada, US). China is the largest marketplace in terms of overall revenue. In addition to translating their product information for Amazon,a multilingual website is essential for organizations looking to expand to diverse customers. 

Multilingual Websites Ensure a Positive Client Experience

If a company wants to sell on one of these marketplaces, Amazon requires that all product descriptions be translated into the language(s) of the marketplace(s) they want to sell on. Additionally, sellers are required to provide support in these languages. Everything Amazon recommends is geared to achieving high customer satisfaction. For example, to prevent a poor customer experience, communicating using machine translation is highly discouraged, as this may result in low quality translation and poor communication.

Amazon does offer language services, but companies who prefer to manage and control the process can of course do it themselves. Because of the linguistic requirements and the interest in increasing sales by providing content in the language of each seller’s target audience, there was a lot of interest in the topic of translation and an in-depth discussion of best practices sellers can follow in order to be successful.

It was emphasized in the discussion that having a multilingual website can go a long way toward connecting with your target audience. Common Sense Advisory, in an exhaustive 2014 research study (“Can’t Read, Won’t Buy[1], delved into how translation affects the web customer experience. Among other things, CSA concluded that international visitors spend more time on  and prefer to buy from multilingual websites where information is available in their native language.

It comes as no surprise that Amazon takes an avid interest in helping organizations sell on its platform, and offers a lot of assistance to ensure that they receive healthy seller scorecards.

This inaugural event was incredibly successful with over 750 attendees converging on Salt Lake City in order to find ways to increase their on-line businesses. Key to achieving a high degree of success in the international marketplace is for organizations to connect with their global audiences by providing their information in the languages of their clients. A good start is to make sure that they invest in multilingual websites to enhance their international eCommerce potential.

Copyright © 2014 by Common Sense Advisory, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Ralph Strozza

"I absolutely love foreign languages and technology. Being able to leverage that passion in order to assist our clients in being successful is what I most enjoy about coming in to work every day."