Why 2015 is the year for international growth: Thoughts on internationalization from The Next Web Conference

Internationalization should be at the forefront of small-business owners' minds in 2015 – and the speakers at the 2014 USA The Next Web Conference were quick to point out how companies can leverage technology to foster more international growth in the coming years.

Technological innovations – including localization technology – have drastically improved the ease with which businesses can communicate with partners, consumers and clients in different countries. These resources have been invaluable for forward-looking companies, and the upcoming new year will present business owners with a wealth of new opportunities to expand their international reach.

"2015 will present business owners with a wealth of new opportunities to expand their international reach."

Mobile growth is exploding
Smartphone adoption continues to soar across the world. According to a report from eMarketer, 4.77 billion people – or 65.8 percent of the world's population – are expected to own a smartphone in 2015. The English-speaking population only accounts for a percentage of this figure, highlighting the necessity for businesses to seek app translation that can accurately convey companies' information across a variety of languages.

Alexandra Chong, the founder and CEO of Lulu – a mobile app that allows girls to anonymously share information about men in their region – explained that the app saw greater success in different countries when it was released in the native language.

"The Lulu app was ranked No.1 in the app store in Brazil within a week of launching in Portuguese," Chong said at TNW.

Adapting the content of your mobile app ensures your global users have access to every aspect of your content, from the settings to the sales. Distimo conducted a study in 2012 to discover how language affected the number of app downloads in different countries. The company found that in China, 79 percent of the top 200 apps were those available in Chinese. Additionally, the study discovered that apps in a country's native language generated more revenue than those that were only available in English. 

Localizing your app for global constituents is an easy and cost-effective way to break into the international market. 

E-commerce is becoming easier
Business globalization has caused many small businesses to reevaluate how they sell merchandise or services to consumers living in other countries, but with the rise of e-commerce, this process has become significantly easier. EMarketer projected that the impact of e-commerce would be substantial in 2014, estimating that businesses would see $1.5 trillion in sales among global consumers. John Collison, the president and co-founder of Stripe, explained at TNW that e-commerce continues to gain in popularity as businesses learn more effective ways to reach international markets.

"The barriers to cross-border commerce have never been lower," Collison said. "E-commerce is going global faster than ever before."

Preparing your mobile apps and websites for international consumers can greatly contribute to your success.

Integrating safe and simple payment tools, including those developed by Stripe and Apple, is important for reaching markets in other countries, as these easy-to-use installations provide global consumers with the tools necessary for making secure interactions across the world. It is equally important to use localization services when translating your e-commerce site's language, as these companies can prepare your brand for international transactions by taking regional speech and cultural differences into consideration beforehand.

Companies are thinking global sooner
Taking your business global may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, but many professionals encourage new businesses to consider this action as soon as possible. Technology has not only made internationalization much easier in the past several years, but it has highlighted the necessity of business globalization for continued success. Jon Oringer, the founder and CEO of stock-photo site Shutterstock, said his company plans to put internationalization toward the top of its priority list in 2015.

"We were international from day one, but we need to get better as a company on how to communicate with our customers overseas," Oringer said at TNW. "Internationalization and translation are a huge focus for Shutterstock in 2015."

Global buyers constitute a large portion of potential purchasers, so it is crucial that business owners do not neglect this sizable group when planning for the new year. As companies continue to discover how vital accurate international communication is for their success, the necessity for companies to invest in high-quality localization services soars as well. 

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