Global E-Commerce: What’s Influencing Digital Content Strategy?

welocalize October 1, 2019

The internet is the world’s busiest and noisiest marketplace. Getting products and services to the right target online audience in a virtual sea of sellers and suppliers takes knowledge and some courage. It’s a worthwhile effort though. Global retail e-commerce sales are due to hit $4.9 trillion by 2021 – indicating a 265% growth rate since 2014. With 3.8 billion (51%) of the world’s population online and growing, e-commerce will continue to see solid growth in the years to come. In China alone, e-commerce accounts for 23% of all retail sales. 

Global brands are investing heavily in their online presence, combining online and physical sales experiences, and driving digital marketing campaigns to improve the customer journey and ultimately increase sales.  

Here are some of the key influencing factors impacting global e-commerce and content strategy 

E-commerce only exists with online digital content 

Retailers now carry between two and 10 times more SKUs/products online than they did in 2009. Products only exist online if the relevant content is available (images, descriptions, reviews, instructional videos, customer support). If content can’t be found, products won’t sell.  

The role of content and linguistic copywriting is crucial for any e-commerce operators. Content is the bridge to online shoppers – it’s what makes an item or service become potential ROI. Prioritization of accurate and relevant digital e-commerce content is key. 

TOP TIP: Build and train specialist teams of SME content creators, linguistic copywriters, and translators who can get truly entrenched in the product and customer journey. How does leading online design tool Canva support 200+ languages? 

Multilingual digital marketing 

Getting heard online is a challenge and the right global digital marketing strategy is key to gaining competitive advantage. Targeting multiple markets online encompasses a range of skills and activities – each must be adapted to the local language and online shopping habits. Activities including search, PPC, paid and organic social media, content creation, cultural adaption, and programmatic advertising, all require knowledge of local markets and channels, and must be localized to reach the right audiences. 

TOP TIP: Global social media and influencer marketing will continue to grow and play a key role for e-commerce. Influencer marketing using relevant social media channels is more targeted and leads to high engagement rates. Linking e-commerce activity from social media accounts is a growth area to increase conversions. 

AI will play a key role 

AI is a hot topic and e-commerce is one area that is actively integrating AI into its process. For example, conversational experiences, especially chatbots are now becoming a standard part of an e-commerce toolkit, resulting in increased response rate as well as in the number of “hot leads.”. Use of AI in customer support, a crucial part of the e-commerce flow, is common. Other AI enabled solutions used in e-commerce include augmented marketing analytics, conversion optimization technologies, real-time personalization and intelligent pricing, helping retailers gain a competitive edge by managing and optimizing their pricing and space.  

TOP TIP: Machine learning can be used to transform unstructured data into high-quality multilingual AI datasets to enable customer support tools, such as chatbots, to reach customers in multiple languages. 

Rise in centrally managed content 

Centrally managed content can help better process high volumes of digital content and improve consistency. This is important for improved customer experiences, helping SEO, brand awareness, and consistency of information and terminology. Creating and localizing content centrally can also leverage efficiencies in terms of translation memory, terminology management, and the benefits of machine learning if using language automation technology. 

TOP TIP: Leverage content and translation management systems to establish a central workflow for content. 


By 2021, mobile e-commerce sales (smart phone and tablets) are expected to account for 54% of total e-commerce sales. And if consumers don’t complete the transaction online using their smartphone or tabletthen they spend time looking up information and reading reviews whilst on the go. Publishing content, in all target languages, that renders on mobile devices is a key component of any e-commerce content strategy.  

TOP TIP: Put all mobile content and interfaces through rigorous functional and linguistic testing in all locales. How does Wizz Air use mobile apps to drive customer engagement? 

More marketplaces 

Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart – the internet is dominated by large marketplaces. Half of all the merchandise on Amazon is third party.  

There’ll be a further shift to consolidation and reduction of the supply chain (growth of direct-to-click, D2C) and use of marketplaces will increase. 

TOP TIP: More emphasis on marketplaces elevates the role of digital marketing and advertising – driving more traffic and engagement.  

To learn more about Welocalize’s approach to taking content global for e-commerce operations, connect with us here.