Let’s start with a simple scenario. Your business is based in the US and you want to sell your existing products in the UK, France and Germany. The quickest solution (and in most cases the best) is to translate your existing website into French and German. This does not mean creating a different website for each country. Most popular website platforms are designed to allow you to create duplicate pages for each of your target languages. After completing the import of the translations, you will have one website which allows the user to select English, French or German. This is much usually better than having individual websites which you need to maintain.
Are there some scenarios where it makes sense to have a different website for each country?
It’s important to understand the distinction between language and country. For instance, you may wish to sell in both UK and Australia. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a separate website for Australia, but sometimes customers go this route. Reasons could include:
- Selling different products in each market
- Charging in different currencies
- Local pricing strategies
- Giving the local team autonomy to change the website to suit their local requirements
- Different payment platforms or different order fulfilment strategies which are difficult to manage via a single website
Are there disadvantages to having separate websites?
Yes, there are big disadvantages. Aside from maintaining each website, you are likely to lose control of your global content strategy. Some factors to consider include:
- If you don’t have a global content strategy, it will make it more difficult to implement one.
- Paying to create content for the same products, services, events or campaigns several times.
- Managing global product launches is much harder, and you may experience delays as you wait for the laggards to catch up.
- You may lose the ability to store translated content in a Translation Memory, meaning that translations will cost more, take longer and may lack consistency.
What should we do if we already have different websites for some countries?
Moving to a single global platform will improve the scalability of your business, allowing you to get new products into the market faster and open up new markets more easily. Break down the barriers to a single global platform and create a project plan.
- Multiple Payment Service Providers (for instance Stripe [link] or PayPal [link]) – consider consolidating to a single PSP.
- Different ecommerce platforms (for instance Magento or Shopify) – work out which is the best for your business.
- Different CMS – if you’re using WordPress in one market and Joomla in another, make a plan to migrate.
We understand this can seem daunting, but it’s not nearly as hard as you think. If you need help with any of this, get in touch and we’ll help you start to pull your plan together.