Sell to foreign visitors

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Everyone is being affected by the recession (which only really started on Friday) but perhaps the most visible is on the high street. Walk down any high street in the UK and it is apparent how hard the retailers are trying to sell their products.

In the FT this weekend was a great article titled, ‘Foreign shoppers cash in on falling pound’, to summarise it said that while UK shoppers are finding it increasing difficult to spend money as in 2007 people from abroad were travelling to the UK to shop. This is especially true of big ticket items such as TVs, jewellery and even new cars.

This is helped by the change in value of £ sterling. In case you’ve not noticed the value of the £ in the international currency markets has fallen dramatically, meaning that currencies such as the Yen and US Dollar are now respectively 70% and 35% stronger (in relation to the Pound) than they were in 2007. This on top of the discounts that UK shops are offering lead to massive savings for the shopper coming from abroad.

And they have money to spend, research carried out by the Financial Times shows the average spend per person to be as follows;
Middle East – £1,974
Nigeria – £1,496
Russia – £1,456
China – £1,252
Malaysia – £760
Hong Kong – £747
USA – £631
Japan – £542

The languages that they speak are, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, French, Japanese and Malay. This is almost 80% of all foreign shoppers.

If you are in retail (and I include both online and high street) one way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to translate your marketing material into the 7 languages listed above, giving you a much greater chance of selling to 80% of the foreign shoppers.

Ask yourself – which is the more sustainable business model?
1) providing translation in 7 languages to take advantage of the cheap £, increased amount of foreign shoppers and their willingness to buy expensive items, or,
2) continually discounting your low mark-up goods by anything up to 80% in the hope that the UK consumer will buy from you and not the guy next door.

If you can read about a project/service before you can buy it and the sales assistants (via telephone interpreting) can converse in your language you are many times more likely to make a purchase.

Its not rocket science… translating your material opens up new markets.