Even though his research was not based on the digital world, we at eCulturise strongly believe, that his cultural dimensions can be transferred to the digital world. People remain people, they simply interact on a different platform.
The three main concepts within Hofstede’s research include
- Uncertainty Avoidance (How much are your customers prepared to take risk)
- Long-term Orientation (How far do your customers plan ahead into the future)
- Individualism vs. Collectivism (Do your customers make their own decisions or do they heavily rely on other people’s opinions)
This section will explain what the above proven cultural concepts have to do with conversion rate optimisation. Each concept will be looked at in the context of a digital presence and a number of inter-cultural examples will be given.
Top Tip – Do your cultural research
Each element and each copy in your online store will in one way or another be related to one of Hofstede’s cultural concepts.
As we cannot explain every element here, we have picked 3 elements which we believe have the biggest impact on conversion rates: Payment options, Savings and discounts and Reviews.
Let’s be realistic in saying that making money has always been the ultimate goal of any company. Be it offline or online. And money is received by simply offering the right products at the right price. Would you agree?
This is where you go wrong
If you think that the customer journey ends at the point where the customer decides to buy something, think again!
All too often, customers place their products or service in their online basket but at checkout realise, that their perferred payment method is not available.
But how do companies know, what the preferred payment options are in the respective cultures?
Here comes the connection to the cultural concept “Uncertainty avoidance”.
Let’s take Germany as an example. On the uncertainty avoidance index the German culture is ranks at 65 which is in the top list of avoidant countries, compared with e.g. Singapur at 8, UK at 23 and USA at 46.
Because Germany ranks highly on the uncertainty avoidance index, this indicates that Germans need payment methods which they can trust and which do not force them to step out of their risk comfort zone. One of the most popular payment methods e.g. is payment via invoice which gives customers the opportunity to see the products first and then pay if they are satisfied.
Comparing this with a lower risk avoidant culture, e.g. UK, credit card is one of the most popular payment methods. Credit cards are a means of fast payment and the risk that comes with this is not minded by British people.
This simple example shows how culture can impact the choice for payment methods and we advise you to do your cultural research when deciding on the most important factor of receiving your money online.
Savings and discounts – Long-term orientation
Should you invest in offering high quality products with certificates and higher guarantees for cultures that are high on long-term orientation and prefer their products to last a lifetime? Or should you go cheap and offer savings and discounts for cultures for which long-term thinking is not one of the priorities?
Reviews – Individualism vs. Collectivism