Sir Patrick Geddes was a Victorian Scot and one of the greatest forward thinkers in history. Gardener, biologist, conservationist, social evolutionist, peace warrior, town planner and the man who first said the words:

“Think Global, Act Local.”

These words have since been used by environmentalists, politicians and brand marketers alike, because frankly, if you want to influence peoples’ behaviour then, ‘Think Global, Act Local’ is exactly what you have to do.

Bringing an online business to the UK from the USA should be relatively easy. There are some spelling issues and the holidays are not the same, but in my humble opinion, the day-to-day of running the business should be easier.

The Digital Evolution

The evolution of Amazon’s retail platform into a ‘pay to play’ model, which resulted in many vendors looking to Digital Marketing and off-Amazon strategies, is much easier in a country that has both Local and National media.

Bloggers are fewer and so selecting the ones you want to work with is less challenging, plus UK PR and Digital Marketing agencies are smaller and used to working with small start-ups.

However, the UK market is still relatively small in comparison, which means that many vendors are looking over the Channel to Europe – or as my Mother still calls it, ‘The Continent’.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Going ‘To Europe’ can be a hugely successful strategy but, as with anything worth doing, it takes careful preparation and planning.

It’s not enough to simply translate your existing listing into another language. You can’t assume that the tactics and positioning you’ve been using in the USA or UK will be relevant, or even appropriate, to audiences within other countries and cultures.

We’re told by those ‘in the eCommerce know’ that Content Marketing is now ‘where it’s at’, which means that a poor local language version – or a poor culturally irrelevant translation will be interpreted as a total lack of interest in the customers’ of that market.

Native Translation is Key

If you’re not a native language speaker of the language in the country where you want to do business, by all means use on-line translators when doing your own research but NEVER EVER use an online translator for anything that will be seen by a customer.

Here’s why not:

A new online seller came to a friend of mine with the idea of selling English Soap in Spain.

She had her logo, website and packaging all done and looking beautiful except for one small mistake ‘Jabón Ingles’ – Ingles means groin! Inglés means English.

An expensive error.

Another seller fortunately had not gone far into his product research when they stopped him doing a ‘Mist Spray’ for the horticultural German market: Mist means Manure in German.

At Brand Dot we use only native language speakers for our translations. And you should, too.