Strategy Centre

9 Easy Steps to Americanise Your Website

  
30 August 2016 11:58
  

9 Easy Steps to Americanise Your Website

It’s no secret that when consumers feel loyal to a brand, they are more likely to buy the brand’s products. To preserve this behaviour if your website is attracting a significant number of US customers, it is important that you start overcoming international pain points. Typically, the three most painful blockers to international ecommerce conversions are shipping, currency and customs.

Here is a nine-step guide to help you overcome all the pain points and have your US customers feeling confident using your website. By taking steps to make US customers feel at home, you can keep them coming back for more.

STEP 1: The Visual Matters – Adapt Your Banners

Using banners is the easiest and quickest way to optimise your website for an international market. Banners are also important because they are the first contact that a customer will have with your website — they are the biggest images on your home page.

Key recommendations for the USA

  • Explain shipping times thoroughly and highlight tracked and courier services;
  • Customer service is key for US customers — make sure they know that even though you are in the UK or Ireland, you have a dedicated service just for them;
  • Highlight specific offers that you are willing to offer US customers.

How to implement on the IRP

Below is an example of a recommended banner for the USA that you can add to product pages. Where necessary, you should adapt this to your site-specific USA market.

For more information, see the Banners help topic in the IRP Knowledge Base.

STEP 2: The Visual Matters – Adapt Your Trust Badges

Google Certified Shops certification is available to eligible merchants in the United States. It helps to instil in the customer a sense of trust and confidence to fulfil an online purchase.

There are several benefits of having Google Certified Shop status:

  • It can increase the confidence of new shoppers
  • It can improve sales on your site
  • It can be highlighted in AdWords
  • It can attract shoppers from Google Shopping
  • It can help you to qualify for seller ratings in AdWords

Key recommendations for the USA

Google Certified Shops are well known in the USA and will inspire confidence in your customers to continue shopping on your website.

As Google Certified Shops are more prevalent in the USA than Trustpilot, you should give this priority in your messaging. Whilst Trustpilot is very well known in the UK, there are very few stores running this in the USA.

How to implement on the IRP

Sign up to Google Certified Shops:

You can configure this feature using a set of Application Settings and the IRP feeds feature. For more details, see the following IRP Knowledge Base articles:

STEP 3: Use the Right Terminology

Certain words and phrases vary between British and US English.

Key recommendations for the USA

The IRP platform allows you to add a new language; you can also add language dialects such as US English.

Here are a few examples of major terminological differences found on American websites:

  • Basket = Shopping Cart / Shopping Bag
  • Goods = Merchandise
  • VAT = State TAX

How to implement on the IRP

To add the US English language to your website, follow the steps described in the Languages help topic in the IRP Knowledge Base.

STEP 4: Adapt Your Custom Content Pages

Custom Content Pages play an important role in the Americanisation of your website.

Key recommendations for the USA

You should adapt the following Custom Content Pages for your US market:

  • About Us: This page should be clear about the fact that although you are a UK- or Ireland-based company, you have dedicated customer service for the USA;
  • Contact Us: On this page, adapt your opening hours to the USA markets so that they know when to contact you from the US. Create a localised phone number for the USA (see Step 5 below) or advise American customers to first contact you via email;
  • Delivery & Shipping: This page should be appropriate to the USA market with details about shipping methods and fees for the USA.

How to implement on the IRP

Simply modify the information needed on your Custom Content Pages by switching from English to US English and adapt the information to the American market. You can also add ‘country variations’ to your Custom Content Pages. For details, see the Custom Content Pages IRP Knowledge Base help topic or get in touch with your IRP Account Manager.

STEP 5: Get a USA Phone Number

The habitual ‘ 44’ country code displayed for European countries might frighten customers from the other side of the pond. A good strategy for preventing customers being scared off by exponential costs or any other barrier would be to have a USA phone number available.

Key recommendations for the USA

Several options now exist to acquire an American phone number. Skype or Sonetel for example are companies that offer quick and easy solutions for this service.

The cost of a Skype Number subscription varies depending on which country you want the Skype Number for and how long the subscription lasts (3 or 12 months).

Refer to the following links for more information:

How to implement on the IRP

Once you have USA phone numbers, display them in your contact details on your website.

STEP 6: Adapt Your Shipping Costs

Shipping costs being too high is the leading cause of basket abandonment in the UK. And the same phenomenon applies in the USA. It is notable that a 2013 study led by Comscore.com found that 63% of online sales came with a free shipping promise.

Key recommendations for the USA

If your resources do not allow you to offer free shipping to the USA for every order, the concept of a ‘Free Shipping Friday’ to the USA could be a good alternative.

How to implement on the IRP

In order for customers to be aware of this offer for them in the USA, display a specific banner on the home page of the USA version of your website that states, for example, ‘Free Shipping to the USA every Friday’. You can also display the offer on product pages and include the offer in every email you send to the USA mailing segment (see Step 9 for Mailing List Segments).

Here are some default banners with a ‘Free Shipping to USA on Fridays’ message that you can upload and adapt:



STEP 7: Vary Your Payment Options

In the USA, Visa is the most common payment method used. However, they also have alternatives that we do not especially use in Europe.

Key recommendations for the USA

Give your US customers the choice and add payment options to your website. For example, add American Express, Diners Club and Discover as payment options.

How to implement on the IRP

For details, see the following IRP Knowledge Base help topics:

Once you have added these payment options, don’t forget that your bottom navigation also needs to be updated to include the payment options you have chosen. Refer to the IRP Knowledge Base or contact your Account Manager if you are unsure how to update your design.

STEP 8: Adapt Your Promotional Days

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two most important days in the USA for online shopping. For example, Cyber Monday 2014 was the heaviest online spending day in US history, surpassing $2 billion. Don’t forget Thanksgiving and Independence Day either.

Key recommendations for the USA

You need to make USA customers aware of the special discounts that are available on those days. Send a targeted email 24 hours before the launch of the sale to your USA customer mailing list.

Here are some default banners for a Thanksgiving or Independence Day promotion that you can upload and adapt:




How to implement on the IRP

For more information, see the following IRP Knowledge Base help topics:

STEP 9: Send Targeted Emails

England and America are two countries separated by the same language” — George Bernard Shaw.

Key recommendations for the USA

You should not include all English-speaking customers in the same Mailing List Segments as they are in different markets.

How to implement on the IRP

The emails that you send to the USA market should have their own messaging that targets American customers and should include information about shipping costs and delays for the USA. The emails should also display the products that are popular with American customers and include American customer reviews.

For more information, see the Mailing List Segments help topic in the IRP Knowledge Base.

Conclusion

By using the localisation and language features of the IRP you will find it very easy to quickly adapt your website to your American customer base. Follow the nine simple steps described in this article or get in touch with your IRP Account Manager today for help with growing your USA sales.

Additional Reading

Comments

Anonymous - Interesting article - it's a huge market if it can be cracked by retailers.
31 Aug 2016 09:27
You must be logged in to comment on this article.

Similar Articles


Copyright © 2017 IRP Commerce. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the IRP World Terms of Use, IRP Privacy Policy and IRP Cookie Policy
IRP Commerce is a Trading Name of Export Technologies Limited, a Deloitte Fast 50 Company five times: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014   Deloitte.