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Global E-Commerce's Language is Not English

Copy Blogger plucked an eye-opening stat from a J.P. Morgan-prepared report for the Department of Commerce: only 27% of online shoppers speak English.  It is a surprising finding, no doubt especially for U.S. small businesses that rely on the Internet to expand their market and assume that their customers are English-friendly.

The report noted that in South Korea, 99% of individuals with Internet access shop online and that 97% of British, Germans, and Japanese are shopping online, as well. The U.S. also has a high percentage of Internet users willing to shop online—94%. However, as Copy Blogger put it: "By neglecting to communicate with the rest of the non English-speaking world, you’re costing yourself a mountain of money."

Global E-commerce Sales to Hit $1.4T by 2015

Another indicator of the importance of the global market comes from Invesp, which predicts global e-commerce sales, which will total $680.6 billion USD this year, will grow 106% to reach $1.4 trillion in 2015. On a year-over-year basis, global e-commerce sales will rise 20.5% to $820.5 billion in 2012, and 17% to $963 billion in 2013.

Meanwhile, e-commerce sales in the US, which are expected to total $197 billion in 2011, should grow roughly 10% a year for the next four years, hitting $297 billion in 2015 (51% increase compared to 2011).

Global Tools and Resources

Fortunately, there is a wealth of tools and resources for firms that wish to localize their online presence to tap foreign markets. Google and Facebook have tweaked their search and page management systems recently to account for global users.

Google, in particular, offers several resources to global firms. Chief among these is Google Ads for Global Advertisers, which Google launched in December 2010. It functions as a central hub for Google's tools and tips for businesses looking to expand to foreign markets. This website offers resources to help businesses find the right market for their products and services, translate websites and ad text, find new customers with relevant online ads, and understand options for international payment, shipping and customer service.

Google also offers Global Market Finder, a free tool to help businesses identify markets with high demand for their products or services. The Global Market Finder automatically translates a keyword - Google gives the example of business suit - into 56 languages and then uses Google search trends data to see where in the world people search for the product or service.

For more information on this subject, read this MarketingVOX special report on global online marketing.

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