Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why ‘glocalisation’ is the new golden standard in customer experience

by Étienne Mérineau, Co-founder of Heyday by Hootsuite

Let’s face it. Today’s customer is more demanding than a Grammy-nominated diva – expecting instant service personalised to their unique needs, delivered on the platform of their choice and in their preferred language. 

Global brands are expected to deliver exceptional service at scale in a way that feels “local,” providing experiences that are culturally relevant and adapted to local specificities. Known as ‘glocalisation’, this trend has become the new golden standard in customer experience (CX).

This new reality creates immense pressure on Ecommerce and customer service teams who are scrambling to deliver personalised service in multiple languages across multiple time zones. Considering 57.5% of global internet users make an online purchase every week and that 72% of shoppers are more likely to buy a product if it’s presented to them in their native language, brands can’t afford to slow down on delivering glocalisation.

The challenges of glocalisation

Brands often focus on the logistical challenges of going global, such as how to ship products to another country or how to translate their website to another language. While these are valid concerns that need to be addressed, glocalisation encompasses much more. 

Success is dependent on recognising the cultural differences that impact how a brand presents itself to a new market. It’s about making shopping experiences feel local for people in that territory, like being able to pay in local currency or having a local social media presence. It’s about considering differences from high-level branding to the frontline product level, such as factoring in that a size 8 shoe in the US is different from a size 8 in the UK, which is also different from European sizing. Even receiving payments varies across the globe, with credit cards and online purchases commonplace in some countries, whilst bank transfers or cash-on-delivery are favoured in others. 

The four pillars to a successful glocalisation strategy

Here are four ways brands can successfully unlock the power of localisation and personalisation on a global scale.

1 – Localised products

Demand for products can differ substantially between countries based on local cultural trends – it’s not one-size-fits-all. Adapting inventory management and product offerings based on local demand can be hugely beneficial, from sizing charts and product labelling to actual sizes and stock levels. For instance, the Dutch are known to be some of the world’s tallest people, so it makes sense to offer longer trouser lengths and larger shoe sizes in the Netherlands.

There are similar challenges for product searches and queries. When looking for trousers, a US consumer may search for ‘pants,’ whereas a UK consumer running the same search (‘pants’) would more likely be searching for underwear. If multiple languages are involved, this becomes even more complex. An effective solution for this are natural language processing-powered search solutions, which allow customers to search for products in a conversational way. This method of search can be highly effective in translating online queries for local needs, no matter the language or turn of phrase, customers can find what they’re looking for.

2 – Localised marketing

When marketing to consumers, if you’re not culturally relevant to their local market, your brand will suffer the consequences, making it vital to adapt marketing content to local specificities and sensibilities. And with over 53% of global internet users aged 16-24 now turning to social to research brands before buying, social media marketing has emerged as one of the most  effective and efficient ways to  address multiple locations and connect with local customers where they already are – on social.

Another great way to localise your social content is to get local creators on board. 50 million people around the world consider themselves to be social creators, so consider tapping into this resource to connect better with local customers and build brand awareness and affinity in every marketplace.

3 – Localised channels

It’s important to meet customers where they are. Global fashion brand, Lacoste for instance, is localising its CX in over 20 countries by adapting its customer service channels to suit each region. Facebook Messenger and Instagram are preferred in the West, whereas KakaoTalk and LINE are the primary messaging apps in South Korea and Japan, respectively. Leveraging Heyday by Hootsuite’s conversational AI capabilities available in multiple languages, Lacoste is adapting its social commerce experiences to deploy them locally on the platforms that suit customers best.

4 – Localised customer service

Delivering customer service in preferred time zones and languages is a must when connecting with local customers – because if you don’t, they’ll find another brand that will. Brands can deliver even better personalised experiences and win customer loyalty by taking local specificities into account, such as the fact that French in France is very different from Quebecois, or how Spanish varies greatly between Spain and Latin America.

You don’t need hundreds of multilingual contact centre agents working around the clock to meet these requirements. Bestseller, for example, uses a multi-lingual AI chatbot to reach customers in multiple languages, 24/7. Using AI in this way is paramount to making glocalisation scalable – offering real-time, continuous service across the globe at a fraction of the cost of traditional customer support.

The power of local CX

Done right, localised CX is a gift that keeps giving. Localisation efforts not only boost customer satisfaction and NPS thanks to a more personalised service, but they also boost brands’ bottom line; personalisation increases conversion rates and basket size, as customers feel valued and heard by being able to engage with their favourite brands in their own language and on their own terms. This is crucial to making CX a competitive advantage at scale. 

Glocalisation is all about marrying the benefits of globalisation (access to global brands at a lower cost) with localisation (access to products and services adapted to local needs). Nailing the right mix at scale can be a challenge, but a new era of CX possibilities is being ushered in by AI technology, and forward-thinking brands are making localisation their new golden standard.