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Unleashing the Global Customer Experience

customer experience, online population, multicultural marketing, website globalization, international markets, human languages, multilingual websites

Wherever you go, people prefer their own language. It’s only natural. Last year Common Sense Advisory surveyed 2,430 web users in eight non-Anglophone countries (see “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy,” Sep06). That survey showed that online buyers prefer using sites in their own language. For this report, we looked at more than 500 websites spanning the world’s 15 largest economies. The 505 sites represent the largest companies and most popular sites in each country.
  • We evaluated each site against a checklist of questions to determine how well the largest companies and the most popular websites meet the demands of visitors from other countries. More importantly, how do they meet those demands? In which languages? We collected data and analyzed the results, providing a snapshot of language, design, and usage preferences for firms situated in each of the countries in our sample. This dataset provides guidance on what consumers from those countries will expect on the web.
  • We revisited the age-old question of improving the customer experience. We zeroed in on desired outcomes, such as converting a one-time visitor to a repeat customer. To this end we considered what international visitors to these sites might do. Our checklist for this analysis tested the minimum content and functions needed to satisfy online browsers, buyers, and help-seekers from other countries. We broke down the interaction between visitors and websites into seven distinct activities, which Common Sense Advisory calls “customer experience levels.”
This is our first report analyzing this dataset. Future reports will drill into aspects of the data that will help companies optimize their website globalization projects.

In General: Some countries matter more than others. While this is a painful reality for people who live in those countries, it’s also a critical factor in business decisions to globalize a website. This report helps business leaders determine where to best expend their online resources without wasting budget or staff on the nations or languages that cannot cover the cost of translation and adapting the site logic, shipping, customer service, and other costly elements of website globalization.

This is the first in a series of reports based on a very large data sample from companies in 15 countries. All of them are tied to questions that we get all the time from companies with long tenures in website globalization as well as those new to the topic. Future reports will outline how to maximize the total available audience for a website, how companies around the globe guide visitors through their customer experience, what countries and languages these companies support on their websites, and how you can benchmark against these sites.
For Buyers: This report will benefit two important constituencies, the people who represent the shareholders and the executives who run the companies. The former group includes members of Boards of Directors, company officers, and senior executives who set the strategy and hold ultimate responsibility for maximizing long-term financial returns to corporate shareholders. They need information to inform their decisions about where and when to fund market entry or market expansion. Understanding where and how to spend their budgets will help them pick winning strategies.
For Suppliers: Two groups of suppliers should benefit from reading this report: The external agencies that design, develop, and maintain a company’s web presence and the software vendors that supply the infrastructure. Agencies should be prepared to offer advice and direction on how, when, and where their clients globalize their sites. Software vendors need to understand the requirements for multi-regional deployments of their products.

Physical Details
Authors: Benjamin B. Sargent and Donald A. DePalma
Date: 01 November 2007
ISBN: 978-1-933555-45-4
Pages: 39

Baidu, Google, Haier, Heise, Hewlett-Packard, India Times, Megaupload, Photobucket, Samsung, SAP, Sony, Tiscali

Table of Contents
  • Topic
    • Meeting the Demands of a Global Web Audience
    • Who Should Read this Report?
      • The People Who Represent the Shareholders
      • The Executives Who Run the Companies
      • The Agencies that Do the Work
      • The Software Vendors that Supply the Infrastructure
  • Survey
    • Methodology and Data Sample
    • Our Hypothesis: There Is No Such Thing as a Global Consumer
    • How Many Regions, Countries, or Languages Offered?
      • Companies in Biggest Economies Offer the Most Locales
      • Corporate Information Sites Prevail Among World’s Largest Companies
      • Big Corporate Sites Split Attention between Consumers and Other Firms
      • Manufacturers Offer More Choices
      • Consumers Get Better Options
    • Which Languages Offered Most Often?
      • “Colonial” Languages Dominate the Web
    • Conclusions from Our Assessments of 505 Sites in 15 Countries
  • Analysis
    • Crossing the Geo-Lingual Divide
      • Grant Access to Visitors Using Language and Business Logic
    • Move Visitors Safely to Your Desired Outcome
      • CEL-One: Enter a Website
      • CEL-Two: Browse the Website
      • CEL-Three: Shop (Find Out How Much Something Costs)
      • CEL-Four: Opt In (Register)
      • CEL-Five: Buy (Make a Purchase)
      • CEL-Six: Get Support
      • CEL-Seven: Participate (Share with Others)
    • Unleashing the Global Customer Experience at Your Website
      • Serve Up Information in the Languages that Matter
      • Focus on the Countries that Give You the Best Return
      • Super-Size Your Available Audience

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