Product managers are the go-to experts to create and own the product roadmap, coordinate the development of new features, optimization ideas, and experiments validation on custom platforms. In addition, they often have to facilitate discussions with the higher-up execs with a primary interest in robust and highly scalable portfolios across international markets.
There are instances within product expansion scenarios where localization experience for a product manager is a ‘nice-to-have’ requirement. Your product solves a thorny problem but does it have the potential to disrupt your industry? Localization as a process is often underestimated and a major obstacle faced by product management teams – your software must speak the language of those you wish to target.
Implementing a product localization strategy will help you prepare your products for expansion into international regions.
But wait; what is product localization?
Localization ensures your online business presence is culturally relevant to the global, multicultural audience your business serves. Product localization adapts or modifies a product or service for a given language, culture, or region. Localization has significant business impact and success with regional and multi-market growth at scale will not be possible without it. There is certainly no getting around the need to develop and implement a sound localization strategy if you want to successfully enter new markets.
According to CSA Research, up to 60% of non-native English speakers rarely or never buy from English-only websites. Research undertaken by the European Commission found that 44% of European internet users felt like they missed important information when browsing websites in languages they did not understand. This study further found that only 18% of European internet users would buy products online if the website was in a foreign language.
There is no denying the fact that users have changed the way content is consumed and will abandon your product immediately if their expectations are not met. Multinationals such as McDonald's, Netflix, and Wal-Mart have expanded into new territories and captured market share through product localization. Many people think that this is just a translation job, but product localization happens on many levels. Of course, this can relate to website copy, marketing materials, and creating a consistent brand voice, but it can also include the colours you want to use, images and photography, website design, packaging, sales tactics, routes to market, and even specific product features. It is essentially how a company tailors its products and services to best serve international markets, taking into account language, culture, local trends, politics, and other factors. Most companies will implement product localization when they go global and strategize accordingly. However, the goal is to expand into new markets and attract new audiences without any negative impact on core business operations.