The biggest retail industry challenges in 2023 and how to tackle them with translation

Published on March 23rd, 2023

Retail companies selling to multiple language markets face a unique set of challenges – as we’ve covered on our blog before. Translation services can help retailers overcome these day-to-day challenges but what about the more recent, temporary issues affecting the retail industry in 2023?

In this article, we look at the biggest retail industry challenges for this year and how translation can help retail brands overcome them.

What’s happening in retail for 2023?

With global economies still facing strain from the COVID-19 pandemic and several other issues, the retail industry is facing a challenging year. Some countries are facing bigger problems than others. The UK retail industry for example is in a particularly difficult position as the cost of living crisis forces people to cut back on spending.

For retailers selling to multiple language markets, global factors will have varying impacts on different audiences. This in itself presents challenges, but also opportunities for companies with a robust translation strategy and the ability to respond quickly to market trends and shifts.

How can translation help retail brands in 2023?

Aside from the usual benefits translation services have to offer, in this section, we discuss how translation can help retail brands overcome the biggest retail industry challenges they are currently facing – or will face – this year:

  1. Market isolation: As consumers get more and more comfortable with shopping from different countries, the global eCommerce landscape is set to experience a strong growth in the years to come according to this report by Signifyd. Translation can significantly help power retail brands’ expansion into new language markets, minimising the risk from economic strains in specific countries like the UK.
  2. Cutbacks: With consumers cutting back on spending, retailers have to get even more creative, relevant and personalised with their messages. Moreover, this is especially important and true when targeting different language audiences.
  3. A transformation in payments: Due to the rising cost of living in the UK and in other countries around the world, there has been a surge in ‘buy-now-pay-later’ payments across all age groups (especially in the UK, according to this Financial Times article) as shoppers look for more flexibility in short-credit payments.
  4. Multichannel marketing: Today’s consumers spend a significant amount of their time across a growing variety of networks and channels. Therefore, retail brands need now, more than ever, a solid multimedia translation strategy to reach them and engage with them at every step of the journey.
  5. Authenticity: It is no surprise that consumers today demand more and more authenticity from brands. What translation can do is help retailers present themselves truthfully and positively in each local market.
  6. Local interests: With the right mix of translation and localisation (and transcreation in cases of promotional messaging); retail brands can cater for the local interests, needs and problems of customers in each market.
  7. Multilingual customer support: Retail brands need to deliver multilingual customer support to cater for every market they target, whether that is via online chatbots or live customer service specialists that can address the questions of consumers.
  8. Returns: With today’s consumers seeing returns as an indispensable part of their shopping experience, retailers need to provide transparency and clear instructions on such processes across every language market in order to minimise disruption and client dissatisfaction.
  9. Competition: Despite the challenges retail is facing, more businesses launch every year (especially online), meaning that the competition only increases. Retail brands, therefore, need to work even harder to win new customers with various personalisation, re-targeting and influencers marketing tactics, whilst holding onto existing customers.

Retail is facing a challenging 2023, but this industry is used to facing disruption. The digital age turned the retail landscape on its head and it has been difficult for many retail brands to adapt. However, the digital age also continues to bolster new opportunities for retail brands that are quick to adapt to and embrace international markets.

With a flexible translation and localisation process at the heart of your business strategy, every market around the world is a potential new opportunity.

From eCommerce translation to offline messaging

Within the retail space, eCommerce translation is what most people think of as a language strategy.

If you operate fully (or mostly) online, then you have legitimate reasons to prioritise the online customer journey. However, retail brands are increasingly merging the online and offline interactions into a single, cohesive experience.

For retailers operating in multiple language markets, this may include TV ads, digital signage, print and poster ads, exclusive pop-up stores, magazines and a variety of other offline channels that also blend in the digital or virtual element. On the online front, you also have to consider every stage of the customer journey in your eCommerce translation strategy.

For example, providing native-language customer service and support in each market is crucial for building sustainable success and customer loyalty. To maximise profits in any market, you want customers to keep buying from your local shop (be it physical or digital) while you continue to acquire new customers.

Even if you’re launching in a new market for the first time and are investing most of your budget into customer acquisition, having a solid customer support system is of paramount importance nowadays. Without one, you will struggle to build a positive brand reception and a stable customer base that builds the foundations of your growth and strategy.

This is especially important in markets where economic strain causes some customers to spend less of their money on non-essentials. To mitigate this, you have to get things right with the customers who spend regularly and having a multilingual customer support system is an essential element for this.

If your retail translation strategy needs enhancing, our experienced team of eCommerce and retail translation specialists can help you. Please submit your request via this contact form and one of our eCommerce Translation Consultants will get back to you.

Posted on: March 23rd, 2023