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Building success in the UK and Europe through localisation

SportPursuit - a leading sport flash sales site

SportPursuit are a highly successful e-commerce start up. They are a private member flash sales site for high performance sportswear and associated products. From running shoes to training devices, to bikes, to climbing gear, Sport Pursuit have an enviable selection of leading brands appearing on a regular cycle at heavily reduced prices.

They market via social media and referral, with effective use of email marketing promoting the latest available brands to those who have signed up. Their customers, once won, tend to be loyal and work on a pretty steady metric of repeat purchases.

The challenges of successful website localisation

As an ambitious and VC backed company, SportPursuit had aggressive growth plans and wanted to build on their enviable success in the UK and Europe through localising their site for several key markets.

As they were also to go through a further round of funding, they needed to see how much of an impact the localisation piece would have on their planed success, and accordingly how much budget should be allocated to facilitate this.

The synopsis, the sites would deliver better results in in-country language versus a region served by the English version.

English vs in-country language

It was decided to run a multi-variant test on their Danish market. They had been successful in Denmark in English, and with good English language skills in the market as a whole it was decided this would be a good test bed for success (i.e. a market where you should be successful in English with the right products, so any uplift would most likely be more significant in regions where English sites perform more poorly).

It was a straight A/B test, with half the group being driven to an English only site and half to a Danish site. On the Danish site about 90% of the content was translated; the missing 10% was on larger product descriptions where the high and fast movement of brands and products didn’t allow time for translation.

Phenomenal conversion rates

The initial outcome appeared to show an amazing 250% improvement on a like for like basis, which obviously was more than anyone really expected. However, we were keen to dig deeper and test the responses over a longer period, and also test across different member profiles.

What this showed was that, over an extended period, those members who had been with the site the longest experienced the highest uplift in conversions, settling at about 100% versus their longer term average.

Those who had been customers for an average of the overall group for the region showed a 75% uplift, and those who had been with the company for the shortest time achieved a 60% uplift.

Why do we think there was this variance?

One reason appears to be that these longer term customers, early adopters in a sense, had experienced the English site for the longest, and it was almost that they really appreciated the company investing in the translated version, their loyalty being repaid with a better user experience.

For those newer customers, there was still significant benefit but they perhaps hadn’t had the longer exposure to the English site, and also were still on the upward cycle in regards to life time value.

Other metrics such as time on site, bounce rate and click through from marketing emails also showed positive responses to the translation approach. Overall, I think everyone was in agreement that it left little doubt of the value of having a site in language for that region or country.

What did it mean to Sport Pursuit? Well, they now know that for every pound or euro they spend on their localisation approach they will get handsomely rewarded. And, as a result, their board granted the budget to fund additional translation.

Their growth has been phenomenal already and, with this new proven and tested approach, you assume next will be world domination. So, if you want great sports gear at amazing prices, in whatever language, then you know where to go.

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