September 14, 2016, 3:57 PM

What’s in a country-specific search term? Maybe more sales

Baby stroller manufacturer Maclaren has learned the difference between “buggy” and “stroller” for business buyers in the U.S. and the U.K.

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When selling online to customers in multiple foreign markets, it pays to ensure your website’s data taxonomy accommodates the local lingo. That’s what Maclaren, a manufacturer of baby strollers sold online to retailers throughout the world, has learned on the e-commerce sites it operates for buyers across seven countries outside of the United States, says James Ramsey, global head of technology.

Ramsey notes that a major difference in the two versions of English on Maclaren’s e-commerce site, Maclaren.com.us, is the use of “buggy” in International English and “stroller” in U.S. English. “In the United States when we use buggy as a key word, it doesn’t work,” he says. “You have the same problem on the other side of the pond when you search for a buggy. Right now we’re not coming up because we are in there as strollers. So we’re working on putting in International English, and the site will automatically pick which version of English that you should be seeing.”

Ramsey says Maclaren has also been considering adding Russian and Italian options. “If we decide to do that I have all the files and we’ll just have to translate them,” he notes. “Then there’s a bit of coding to add the extra language.” He describes the coding as a two- to three-hour project. “There’s just the matter of getting stuff actually translated. At this point we’re using a translation company for all the big stuff and they do an excellent job.” For adding occasional phrases and terms Maclaren uses internal translations conducted by its internal staff.

Although Maclaren is also eyeing Costa Rica as an additional e-commerce market, it has no current plans to expand further internationally. Still, there’s more work do to be done for the eight markets it now serves.  

“We have a lot of equipment to add to the site over the next few months to really improve what we’re offering to business customers,” Ramsey says. “We’ll be adding documentation to the site, training manuals, product manuals and marketing materials. There’s a little bit out there right now but not a whole lot. That’s what we’ll do in the next few months to really enhance the documentation for the distribution people.”

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Phil Burgert is a freelance writer based in Pittsburg, Kan.

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