Thursday, June 21, 2007

Internationalizing Your Store

Have some downtime? Think about how to "internationalize" your store. At a minimum, I offer shipping to Canada, the UK, and Australia [I am American]. Most int'l buyers realize that New Zealand's rate is the same as Australia and that Germany is the same as the UK and so forth. Save yourself time by using Etsy's shipping profiles for items you sell frequently and bookmark the USPS calculator to estimate charges.

I also suggest providing cm and inches for measurements. If discussing measurements, use cm and kilograms NOT inches, pounds, and ounces when convoing with anyone non-american. If you are selling clothing, it is important for you to specify that your size is a US, UK, Euro, Japan or whatever else. They are all different and your buyer may not even think about it when they are looking! Wouldn't they be disappointed to recieve your dress in the mail after doublechecking the size and it doesn't fit. As a tangent, this is why I put actual measurements as well.

And finally, concerning language. Simplifying and clarifying your descriptions will be good hospitality to int'l shoppers. Be aware that some of our English phrases get very cryptic when translated directly. You may not be understood when you abbreviate, misspell and use acronyms. When reviewing your shop, think about how you would fare reading a similar description in a language that is not your first. Would you want it simpler?

Consider dialects. British English is different from American English. You really need to look into what similar items are being called and desribed elsewhere. Vests, jumpers, badges, fibre!

I have had many shoppers ask questions about items that show that they are struggling with English. I am not even sure if they understand my responses. Be sure to demonstrate a willingness to re-explain. Be straightforward.

Don't assume that people who don't understand English great aren't on Etsy looking for items. They are!

Some quick pointers:

  • use "because" not "cause" or "cuz" or "cos"
  • use "want to" not "wanna"
  • use " I don't know" not "dunno"
  • do not use "ttyl", "jlk", "LOL", "PM" and other computer jargon phrases when convoing

1 comment:

Oria said...

Thanks for writing this.