British retailer Topshop has launched its first two local language sites in French and German as a response to demand from shoppers.
Both sites will operate from the Topshop.com address, and feature all collections and concessions with prices in euros.
The company says that it made sense to create localised sites, as this maximises the opportunity to engage with the fashion-aware, discerning younger generation that regularly browse the English version of Topshop.com.
The sites will feature a limited set of editorial features at launch, which will increase over the coming months. Additionally, Topshop plans to translate other social media channels such as its award-winning blog Inside-Out.
Topshop head of e-commerce Kate Walmsley added that France and Germany have consistently been in its top five international markets.
"Creating localised sites was the logical next step to supporting these growing markets. Language is a known barrier to purchasing online, customers prefer to shop in their native tongue, and I’m delighted we can now offer our French and German shoppers the chance to do so.”
The issue of internationalisation is a hot one for UK retailers.
Arena Flowers' Will Wynne says that the main barriers are complications around websites, language, SEO, tax and how to integrate with back-end systems.
He says that deciding upon the domain split is one of the most important decisions to make. As Topshop has done, the biggest benefit of sticking with one website to rule them all is that you only have to market just the one website.
This can be beneficial in terms of simplifying PPC and making SEO easier (as you only have to build the domain rank of one domain, not numerous).
But Arena runs five localised sites; this is more taxing in terms of web development and extra marketing, but Wynne says the benefits of a localised and tailored experience - plus better marketing in each country - far outweighs that.