Samsung: The best consumer technology website of 2013

Samsung logo

We studied 18 consumer technology websites for the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card.

The Web Globalization Report Card is an annual benchmark of how effectively companies internationalize and localize their websites and applications for the world.

Out of those 18 companies, Samsung emerged on top.

Samsung emerged on top not because it leads in languages or global consistency, though it is strong in both respects.

Samsung supports an impressive 41 languages, not including US English. Apple, by comparison, stands at 31 languages.

Samsung emerged on top in large part because it has been aggressive  in engaging with users via social media across a number of languages and countries.

Note the bottom third of  Japan home page:

samsung Japan

Samsung embraces a range of social platforms to communicate and engage with users — in their local languages.

Samsung also leverages these platforms to provide customer support, as shown here:

samsung support

Many comparisons have been made lately between Apple and Samsung.

When simply comparing their global websites, clear distinctions are hard to miss.

Samsung has embraced social networking while Apple has not. Samsung appears to be comfortable with a certain level of visual chaos that comes  with supporting social networks and interacting publicly with customers. There are signs on the US website that Samsung is moving towards a new Samsung Nation model in which users register to earn points and virtual goodies — as well as connect with friends via Facebook. The degree to which this model will scale globally remains to be seen though I suspect Asia will pose a challenge.

Apple, on the other hand, presents a clean and consistent design template to the world. There is nothing scattered or busy about an Apple websites (except, I would argue, for its excessive use of flags). And consistency has served Apple quite nicely, though Apple has moved more slowly from a globalization perspective than Samsung.

Regarding the global gateway, Samsung buries the link to the gateway in the footer (not good).

Tthe gateway  itself is well organized, though the flags should be eliminated. As a general rule, flags should be avoided (a subject for a future post).

samsung global gateway

Finally, Samsung has been aggressive in updating its mobile website experience.

In the past two months, it launched a new mobile-optimized website, shown on the right:

samsung mobile

Notice how social icons are front and center. Also notice in the header how Samsung detects the use of an iPhone and instantly poses a comparison test.

Sneaky but smart.

While Samsung still has room for improvement, it does so many things well that it earned out the number one spot, outperforming companies like Apple, Panasonic, and Lenovo.

Here are the 18 consumer technology websites included in the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card:

  • Acer
  • Adobe
  • Apple
  • Canon
  • Dell
  • HP
  • HTC
  • Lenovo
  • LG
  • McAfee
  • Microsoft
  • Nikon
  • Nokia
  • Panasonic
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • Symantec

Read more in the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card.

Or you can purchase just the Consumer Technology Website report.

Also included:

The top 25 global websites from the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card

Top 25 global websites of 2013

UPDATE: The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card is now available.

I’m pleased to announce the top-scoring websites from the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card. This is the ninth annual edition of the report and it’s always exciting to highlight those companies that have excelled in web globalization over the years.

Google is no stranger to the top spot, but this is largely because Google has not stood still. With the exception of navigation (a weak spot overall) Google continues to lead not only in the globalization of its web applications but its mobile apps. YouTube, for example, supports a 54-language mobile app. Few apps available today surpass 20 languages; most mobile apps support fewer than 10 languages.

Hotels.com has done remarkably well over the past two years and, in large part, due to its investment in mobile websites and apps. While web services companies like Amazon and Twitter certainly do a very good job with mobile, I find that travel services companies are just as innovative, if not more so.

Philips improved its ranking due to its improved global gateway. And Microsoft and HP also saw gains due to their website redesigns, which also included improved global gateways.

New to the Top 25 this year are Starbucks, Merck, and KPMG.

As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 50 languages. And while this number is skewed highly by Wikipedia and Google, if we were to remove those websites the average would still be above 35 languages.

The companies on this list also demonstrate a high degree of global design consistency across most, if not all, localized websites. This degree of consistency allows them to focus their energies on content localization, which these companies also do well. And more than 20 of the companies support websites optimized for smartphones.

I’ll have more to say in the weeks ahead. You can download an excerpt here.

And if you have any questions at all, just ask.

 

Previewing the 2011 Web Globalization Report Card

I’ve begun work on the 7th edition of the Report Card. To produce this report I individually review more than 200 global web sites across more than 20 industries. Needless to say, I’ve got a busy month ahead!

I’ve already done a first pass on a number of web sites and have some initial thoughts to share:

  • As regular readers know, Google and Facebook finished in a dead heat for first place last year, with Google having a slight advantage. Both companies made significant changes over the past twelve months, changes that promise to make this another photo finish.
  • I’ve noticed an increase in the number of sites using geolocation for navigation. Unfortunately, some of these sites are not using geolocation as well as they should. As I’ve noted in my book, geolocation should never be used without a visual global gateway in place. Geolocation is an excellent tool, but it presents a number of edge cases that only a global gateway can solve.
  • I’ve seen some amazing global gateways so far, and, in some cases, demonstrating vast improvements over previous global gateways. I’ll be documenting a number of these gateways in the report.
  • Companies continue to add languages. After initial analysis, Indonesian is hot, as is Russian and Turkish. Last year, the average number of languages was 20. I suspect we’ll see increase again this year. Keep in mind that this is just the average. Companies like Cisco, Apple, and DHL are well above 20 languages.
  • For last year’s report, I began measuring “community localization” — the integration of social networking platforms into local web sites. I wasn’t just looking at Twitter and Facebook use around the world, but at how companies are fostering communities. I’ve noticed quite a lot of Facebook integration around the world. Below is a home page visual from Samsung Italy:
  • Samsung also promotes its Twitter feed on the home page of its Brazil site. And Samsung is far from alone.
  • Finally, I’m noticing lots and lots of web site surveys.They’re popping up everywhere and in many languages. Somebody please make them stop!

Here is the link to the 2010 Report Card. All companies included in this report will be included in 2011. We’ll have a page for the 2011 report up shortly.