Lunar New Year has arrived and, with it, the Chinese New Year (and related Asian New Year celebrations).
As I’ve done a few times in the past, I thought I’d feature a few localized web pages from multinationals as they make the most of Chinese New Year.
And, as in years past, we can expect to see plenty of the color red — the color of celebration and good fortune.
Beginning with Google:
And BMW practically wall-papered its China home page in red:
Buick (which has a very positive brand in China):
Hermes (and its poorly punned promotion):
Speaking of luxury brands, they have invested heavily in China, but as you’ll see in the next Web Globalization Report Card, luxury brands are laggards in web globalization best practices.
<begin PSA> And speaking of pigs, did you know that they are more intelligent than most dogs? Sadly, we slaughter millions of these very smart and compassionate creatures every day. In honor of this amazing animal, I ask everyone who eats meat (as I once did) to consider cutting back or giving it up altogether. As someone who was raised on barbecue, I never would have imagined I would be one day write these words, which is proof that you will not wither away if you give up meat. You’ll actually be quite a bit healthier. And think of the animals you will save! </end PSA>
Out of these websites Tiffany emerged on top, largely because of its investment in global ecommerce.
Most luxury brands have been late to embrace ecommerce and, even now, have a long ways to go in terms of web localization and usability.
These websites average only 10 languages, which is a major reason why they lag most other global websites. And global navigation is also a problem for most websites, as is support for mobile devices.
But Tiffany is the leader in this category in global navigation. Tiffany uses geolocation to ensure that you are directed to your localized website, assuming it’s available. It displays the following overlay to first-time visitors:
Here is the same overlay, localized for German website visitors to the same .com domain:
This may seem like a minor detail, but it makes a significant impact to customer experience and ultimate conversion.
Tiffany also supports a mobile-friendly website design, though the gateway is poorly located in the footer. Burberry also buries its global gateway link in the footer, as shown here on the German home page:
For users who don’t speak German, this gateway link is not going to be easy to find. A globe icon would greatly improve usability — something that fashion brands have yet to implement.
In terms of global reach, Tiffany is tied for number one in languages with Hermès. But fashion brands still are not even halfway to reaching the baseline for “global” websites. As shown here, the average number of languages supported by the leading global brands is now 30:
As luxury brands embrace ecommerce, they must also embrace fundamental global usability practices, such as user friendly global gateways, support for country codes, fast-loading mobile websites, and depth of localized content.