Rural e-commerce sales have been on the rise in recent years, driven by digital technology advancement and the growth of digital marketing. E-commerce is becoming more accessible and convenient for consumers, even in remote rural areas. However, to succeed in rural e-commerce, businesses need to understand the challenges and opportunities of this market. One key factor in reaching and engaging rural customers is localization.
Imagine walking into a store where everything is in a language you do not understand, and the prices are listed in a currency you are unfamiliar with. It is not a great shopping experience, is it? This is where localization will come in.
Localization is the process of customizing a product to meet the specific needs of a market or region. That includes considering factors such as language, culture, and consumer preferences. By doing so, e-commerce businesses can make their content more accessible and appealing to local customers. (Kasiouras 2021.)
Localization increasing rural e-commerce sales
According to a survey conducted in rural Vietnam, most respondents preferred to shop at traditional stores rather than e-commerce platforms. Lack of clear instructions, mistrust in e-commerce, and high shipping costs were the main reasons for this preference. By incorporating localization, e-commerce businesses can enhance the e-commerce shopping experience to increase sales. (Ngo 2023.)
Customer service and its localization is very crucial in remote areas. Rural customers often have specific needs and questions that require personalized attention. Therefore, providing a local customer service team can help build customer relationships and ensure loyalty. Additionally, localizing customer service ensures customers receive timely and effective support tailored to their specific needs.
Localizing language, content, and products on e-commerce websites could also help to build trust with local customers. By showing that the business values and respects their culture and language, customers are more likely to feel confident in the brand. For example, e-commerce businesses may cooperate with local stores to improve customer trust when rural customers can touch and check products.
Rural areas often face challenges in delivery services due to long distances. Businesses should find creative solutions, such as localizing pricing by partnering with a local carrier to ensure that their products promptly and efficiently reach their target audience at low costs. That not only improves the customer experience but also helps build trust and credibility with the rural community.
In short, localizing content, language, products, pricing, and customer service is essential for rural e-commerce businesses. Localizing helps companies better meet the needs of their local customers, increases customer loyalty, and encourages customers to buy from their business. By localizing their e-commerce business, rural business owners can ensure their business is booming in their local market and increasing sales.
Lâm Ngô is a graduating student at LAB University of Applied Sciences, Bachelor’s Degree Programme in International Business.
Sari Suominen works as Senior Lecturer at LAB University of Applied Sciences in Lahti.
Kasiouras, G. 2021. What is Localization? All you Need to Know. Cited 13 Feb 2023. Available at https://www.transifex.com/blog/2021/what-is-localization/
mohamed_hassan. 2023. Hassan, M. Mies-toimitus-kuriiri-7716120. Pixabay. Cited 23 Feb 2023. Available at https://pixabay.com/fi/vectors/mies-toimitus-kuriiri-7716120/
Ngô, L. 2023. Challenges and opportunities of e-commerce in rural areas in Vietnam. Thesis. LAB University of Applied Sciences, Bachelor’s Degree Programme in International Business. Lahti. Cited 13 Feb 2023. Available at https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-202302212631