Business development · 23 February 2018

Royal Mail reveals secrets to export success for ecommerce entrepreneurs

Britain’s ecommerce economy is said to be worth 130bn
Despite technology democratising international trading for ecommerce entrepreneurs, many of Britain’s small online retailers are struggling to expand the global side of their business.

According to new research from Royal Mail, one in three ecommerce business owners sells exclusively to a UK market.

HMRC figures put the value of UK exports at 29.6 billion for December 2017 alone, demonstrating the sales opportunities for smaller ecommerce businesses.

The study also looked into how online retail businesses are operating in 2018. Some eight in ten sell via their own website, but over half have succeeded in building shop fronts on marketplace platforms such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

Meanwhile, four in ten ecommerce entrepreneurs had a physical store as well as an online presence, highlighting the popularity of a bricks and clicks? approach to business.

Some retailers had even found luck with more traditional ways of trading. A fifth were making sales over the phone while 14 per cent still advertised goods in catalogues.

Looking to the future, over half wanted to test out new sales channels. The value of exports was also understood, and almost two-thirds planned to increase international sales revenue in 2018.

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ecommerce

 

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Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for Royal Mail Parcels saidecommerce was becoming increasingly globalised? and urged online retailers to expand the international side of their business.

there are currently more than two billion internet users in 200 countries, with nearly 100 million of them in English speaking countries. It is a particularly good time for UK businesses to explore exporting options, given the current state of the pound.”

To help online retailers tap into the £130bn ecommerce boom, Royal Mail outlined seven steps which could help owners make products more competitive and build customer relationships overseas.

Seven steps for export success

  1. Make your delivery charges affordable


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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