Selling to Superman’s Mom: Multilingual Customer Support for Retail Brands

May 10, 2018

The retail sector is certainly a challenging choice for doing business today. I recently paid a visit to a fashion designer friend’s storage space in downtown Manhattan, not far from Unbabel’s new NYC office. As we stood in the dark, windowless room amongst piles of leather, rolls of fabric, and boxes of buckles, my friend scratched his head and sighed. “All this raw material is just SITTING here, but I’ve got to turn it all into clothes and bags. And then I’ve got to SELL it all online. Sometimes I don’t know where to begin!”

At that moment I realized the difficult journey that faces retail brands every single day, even before their products see the light of day. Material must be sourced, shipped, and stored; then it has to be designed, assembled, and transformed into actual products; and finally everything has to be stocked, photographed, styled up in marketing campaigns, uploaded to web platforms, and sold on e-commerce platforms.

Needless to say, those among us in the digital space — with virtual products and services — sometimes have it pretty easy, at least when it comes to the complexities of supply chains and logistics.

Though the retail journey can be a long and winding road, retail brands also stand to achieve the most rewarding gains and visibility with their products. Imagine seeing your gear and apparel worn by people all over your city. For example, my New York fashion designer friend recently saw one of his messenger bags at the movie theater … onscreen, that is, carried by none other than Clark Kent, aka Superman! (Yep, apparently the stylists for Man of Steel loved the bag and had Henry Cavill’s character wear it during filming.)

Once your brand has gained traction in a certain market, or created enough happy customers in your home city, then the sky’s the limit — quite literally, actually, if your customer is Superman. The next step is going international and bringing your brand to customers around the world, a huge challenge in its own right.

In our experience with retail brands, we’ve seen three distinct approaches employed by brands that have decided to take the leap and go global:

  • Shipping internationally to target markets, using online platforms and services like Borderfree
  • Shipping internationally and creating multilingual websites, helping customers in target markets browse products in their native languages
  • Shipping internationally, creating multilingual websites, and providing multilingual support (emails, chats, and FAQs) to customers in various languages

We’ve found that the third approach is definitely the most effective for retail companies when it comes to winning happy customers around the world. This approach ensures that international customers can not only browse and purchase products in their own languages — which multiple studies prove that customers demand, as the internet becomes more multilingual — but also interact and engage with your brand in their native language when things go wrong. Which, by the way, they often do in retail, yet another inescapable aspect of the business that makes it tough to master.

Fortunately, Unbabel provides a great service for retail brands large and small that makes going international that much easier, paving the way toward global success. Using our “Translation as a Service” platform, which combines AI with a huge global network of linguists, brands can communicate seamlessly with their international customers in 28 languages. All it takes is for us to switch on Unbabel in your preferred CS platform and your team of English-speaking agents can instantly start firing off multilingual support emails, chats, and FAQs in their customer’s native language with the click of a button, without interrupting their current workflows.

Best of all, with Unbabel, you can even leverage your existing CS teams back in your home city and have them communicate fluently with people around the world, giving your lean, talented team of agents multilingual CS superstar skills.

So far we’ve helped retail bands large and small — UnderArmour and Daniel Wellington are just a few of our wonderful customers — empower their favorite CS agents to engage with international customers in 28 languages (and counting!).

The retail business is hard enough to master. At Unbabel, we try to help retail companies achieve international success by inserting a crucial steppingstone into the long retail journey: a superhero-grade service that not only helps your brand communicate effortlessly with international customers when things go wrong, but also makes sure your customers are satisfied enough to come back again and again to buy your great products.

And what if your customer is Superman, you ask? Well, just leave that up to us. Give us a couple weeks and we’ll teach our AI and global community of editors to handle Kryptonian, so that even Superman’s mom can buy her son a nice new leather bag for his birthday. All you have to do is ship it up to whatever’s left of Krypton or other neighboring planets and you’re set. We’ll take care of the languages.

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Unbabel’s Content Team is responsible for showcasing Unbabel’s continuous growth and incredible pool of in-house experts. It delivers Unbabel’s unique brand across channels and produces accessible, compelling content on translation, localization, language, tech, CS, marketing, and more.