Why it takes a team to launch a truly global website
03 May 2007 Archived as Articles
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On any given day, you can take a glance at any of the Internet stats sites such as www.nua.com or www.cyberatlas.com and read about the evolution of our global economy. The markets for companies now in the US are no longer defined (or should I say confined) to the East Coast - Midwest - West Coast, but are better defined by hemispheres.
By now, most of us realize our website creates a global presence for us. It allows us to advertise our products and services globally, and therefore should allow us to conduct business globally. However, just as speaking Spanish is no guarantee of a successful business transaction in a Spanish speaking country, merely translating a website into different languages is no guarantee it will be an effective tool for global e-commerce. To fully enable your web presence to conduct international e-commerce, it takes a multidisciplinary team consisting of professionals from various fields, applying what they know to your web planning and presence.
If you consider yourself the coach, and your co-workers your coaching and locker room staff, who are the players needed to win the game of creating a global web presence.
First of all, make sure your coaching staff has the right skills and experience necessary to manage your website globalization effort. These skills are a combination of language, project management and technology expertise.
Your global website team should consist of "players" from ten areas of global commerce expertise. Understand that the expertise and services provided by any of your ten team members may be available in-house, and therefore the outside player may or may not be necessary.
So, who are the players and what do they provide?
- Trade Organizations including government-sponsored groups: initial information, contacts and research required for determining target markets and localizations required for your website
- Legal Counsel: review website content for target market appropriateness and local legal requirements including "distance selling" restrictions, advertising standards, privacy and data protection, and online terms and conditions/"clickwrap" enforceability
- Accounting and Tax Advisors: accounting advice regarding currency and tax consequences of web transactions
- Web Graphic Design and Development Firm: website design and development services including determination of the appropriate e-commerce enabled architecture for your site
- Website Globalization Firm: website translation, internationalization and localization services including enabling a site to function and display correctly in various natural languages (i.e., Spanish, Chinese, Arabic)
- Global Hosting Provider (ISP): website hosting and management services including security, monitoring and housing for your global site
- Multicurrency Transaction Service: service and technologies to allow your site to accept and make payments in any currency
- Search Engine Optimization Service: global search engine submission and optimization services to ensure people in any country, speaking any language, can find your website
- Global E-Fulfillment Providers: storage, packing and shipping of your products ordered from your site to major destinations worldwide
- Multilingual Support Service: global multilingual 24/7 support and help desk for your site, products and services
Like any good team, solid upfront planning and practice, and good communication, prepares you and your website presence for the big game… global e-commerce.
Martin Spethman is the Managing Partner USA for Globalization Partners International, a global provider of website internationalization and localization services in over 50 languages. Mr. Spethman has over 18 years experience in designing and developing multilingual software, documentation and websites. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-272-5874.
by Martin Spethman