The Secret to International Retail

The eCommerce Futures Conference recently brought together speakers from the likes of fashion retailers Coast and Hobbs and pure-plays such as sex toy specialist Lovehoney to discuss their latest endeavours in international expansion.

Matt Curry, head of eCommerce at Lovehoney, said that for eCommerce operations to work successfully in new territories it is important to “do the stuff a start-up would do”. Established retailers, he said, should not be afraid of looking at the basics of retailing when entering foreign markets such as are you communicating with your customers in their language.

Before you commit yourself to expanding into a foreign country, you must test the market. Travel to the country, hire a local expert and visit similar businesses and companies, try and get a feel for the tacit knowledge. Make sure that your business model will survive and even thrive in this new place and be certain that you are fully aware of any cultural differences between your way of life and your chosen country. Read more

10 Food packs we DIDN’T translate

Translating food packaging isn’t easy – we should know because we do over a thousand products a week. These guys have got it so wrong its funny but could you imagine your product on shelf saying something stupid in a different language? Nor could we, give us a call and we’ll sort it out for you.

For now… here are the top ten disasters we’ve seen this week. In no particular order… Read more

UK Economy Needs More Foreign Languages, Experts Say

It’s easy to advocate for the importance of foreign language learning in warm, fuzzy terms; for example,  it helps us connect with other people and it helps us understand people from different cultures. Foreign language learning does help us do these things, but a new report from The British Council reminds us that there is a another, more concrete reason to value foreign languages: money.

According to the report, the UK economy may take a hit in future years because there simply aren’t enough people speaking what the Council identified as the ten most important foreign languages: Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and German. The report calls these languages “of crucial importance for the UK’s prosperity, security and influence in the world over the next 20 years,” but even the most commonly taught languages on the list are not commonly spoken by most UK adults. Read more

Japanese Company’s Translation Fail Goes Viral

A Japanese company’s new mascot gained them a boatload of Internet attention last month- but probably not the kind they were aiming for.

In October, Fukushima Industries introduced a new mascot in the form of a cutesy flying egg with an indeterminate gender identity and an eerily chipper demeanor. The mascot’s name? Fukuppy, which was apparently an attempt to meld the company name with the last 3 letters of the English word “happy.” Read more

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