The localisation of websites is becoming more and more important for financial companies such as banks, financial services, insurance companies, credit services and other financial institutions, here’s why.
Like most global industries, the finance sector has had to deal with various challenges which directly impact operational behaviours. Of these, mass emigration has proved to be one of the most significant, specifically as it relates to both language and cultural perceptions.
A great example of this would be North America, where a once predominantly English-speaking market is now expanding into multiple languages, and each set of consumers is looking for websites and services in their own language. Financial institutions and companies that fail to recognise this change in consumer demographics, run the risk of losing out on untapped markets and opportunities.
There is no doubt that we are currently going through major changes within the digital sphere, as more and more communities are now exposed to internet-based services and opportunities worldwide. Moreover, as traditional demographics undergo a major tectonic shift, the way your website is viewed by potential users is always changing. How do you keep up with these constantly changing and shifting trends?
The following briefly outlines a few of the more notable trends that have developed in recent years as they relate to internet usage and activity among various demographics.
The ability to search for websites, articles and a variety of data, is one of the most useful features of the web. Web users generally prefer to search for these and other topics in their own language. By extension, non-English speakers who currently reside in a predominantly (or traditionally) English country will still want to search for local content in their own language. Being able to offer this as a standard option places your business website above competitors that may only offer an English version of their site and services.
Recent studies conducted primarily within the North American financial sectors, particularly within online banking, yielded very interesting results. They showed that there has been a marked increase in activity for returning visitors using localised versions of the internet banking platforms, while predominantly English site usage has remained more or less stable. In other words, non-English speakers feel more comfortable doing business with financial service websites that are willing and able to cater to their specific needs. This includes the ability or option to conduct business in the language that they are most comfortable using.
One of the biggest trends to hit the finance sector, for instance in online banking, is product or content customisation. What this boils down to is creating tailor-made experiences for each client based on their particular needs or interests. Content customisation can include value-added services, guides and informational services, financial products that are designed to meet specific needs, and localised services and features. Studies conducted on sites that offer customised or localised content, over the more traditional or ‘general’ services sites, show a marked increase in web traffic by 50% or more, as well as a marked increase in customer retention when onsite.
While we’ve only looked at a small (yet significant) segment of current website localisation trends, the main takeaway here is that localisation is vital for continued growth and expansion of financial companies. Of course, localisation of existing websites presents its own set of unique challenges, but overcoming these by using smart and efficient localisation techniques will make the expansion or transition that much easier. However, in the end, the move towards localisation presents far greater rewards in the long run than any temporary set of challenges may present.