We all know that with the omnipresence of digital technology, the world seems like a much smaller place. But selling across borders is still a confusing and scary prospect. A great way to start though is to extend your sales to other countries on a digital basis first.
Selling retail goods on country-specific e-commerce platforms (for example, Amazon.co.uk for UK vendors) is one thing. Branching out to international e-commerce platforms (for example, selling on Amazon.com as a UK vendor) is entirely different.
But the great news is, there’s lots of help out there for you to do so.
Alongside translation services, less than a year ago on September 8th, 2014, the UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) officially launched its new e-Exportation programme – it aims to help local sellers go international in a few different ways.
- First off, you have to find the marketplaces to sell on. The obvious ones are Amazon and Alibaba, but not everyone has products that will sell there.
- Then, you have to figure out how to actually export – it’s not as simple as it sounds, especially if you’re doing a considerate amount of volume.
- Finally, you’ll have to take the time to set up on each platform… and then forfeit the full fees when you make a sale. These fees can be quite high – if you take a look at Amazon.com’s referral fees, some categories, such as Jewellery and Entertainment, can be as high as 20%.
All of this adds up to many UK businesses staying domestic, even when their products could be successful on an international level. We’ve worked extensively with small, UK-based companies to translate their digital marketplace product information listings.
Below, we’ll cover the programme completely. If you’re in the UK and not exporting yet, the UK Trade & Investment’s e-Exporting Programme may very well be the push you need to get started.
What the program does for you…
- Helps you find profitable platforms – the UKTI can connect you with over 400 different international e-commerce platforms for you to sell your merchandise on
- Sets you up with discounted fees – when you go through the e-Exporting programme, you’ll pay fewer fees to the marketplaces than if you went to those companies by yourself
- Sets you up faster – to deal with time constraints, the UKTI has streamlined the setup process for many of the 400+ platforms
- Not exclusive – you run your own e-commerce shop and just use the UKTI’s programme to increase revenue and growth wherever possible. The UKTI don’t lock you in.
Who should use it?
If you take a look at the UKTI’s promo video, you’ll see a lot of fashion/beauty companies featured. That makes sense – the UK is often at the forefront of style, and international customers want to be able to get that style before it becomes mainstream in their respective countries.
But you shouldn’t necessarily think that fashion and beauty are the only industries that will do well internationally.
The marketplaces that the UKTI can get help you start selling on range from industrial, to medical, to fashion, all the way to general marketplaces that sell everything under the sun! No matter what you’re selling, there are international marketplaces for it.
And the UKTI can help you find them.
And once you’ve found them – our translation services can help you attack them!
Getting started on it is pretty easy
The programme is meant to increase international trade – the UKTI is well aware that successful local businesses don’t have time to jump through a million hoops just to try something out.
So, they made the application process simple – all you do is contact your local UKTI office, set an appointment, and the wheels are in motion.
Here’s what will basically happen, broken down into five simple steps.
Step 1: During your meeting, you’ll sit down with a Digital Trade Advisor from the UKTI to go over your business, your current export efforts (if any), and the best route to go depending on your company and its specific goals.
Step 2: If you don’t have a firm foothold on exporting your products, the Digital Trade Advisor can point you in the right direction to get that started. They’ll help you deal with all of complications that come with exporting – taxes, shipping solutions, etc.
Step 3: You and your Digital Trade Advisor will go over all of the marketplaces that could potentially be successful for your products. Usually, there will be at least a few that you can choose from, and your Digital Trade Advisor will help you narrow it down to the most profitable ones.
Step 4: This is where you actually get on the platforms. You’ll learn about the streamlined setup process that the UKTI can offer – it’s exponentially faster than setting up the accounts and uploading the inventory yourself. Often, international platforms can integrate right into your current digital framework.
Step 5: Optimise and grow. If you choose to, you can continue to meet with your Digital Trade Advisor to get more sales on your current platforms and branch out to new ones easily.
What’s the ultimate goal of the e-Exportation programme?
The goal is to have you selling internationally anywhere you can. It’s like your business is open 24/7 – you’ll be getting sales around the clock, whereas if you were domestic, you’re limited to the population of the UK market and the times when they shop.
The ultimate goal is to increase your revenue, get more data about your customers and their preferences, and overall, just grow.
It’s a hands-off approach – once you do the initial legwork and get your products synchronised across the world, the platform becomes a sales machine that requires minimal time investment to keep things humming along.
Putting all of your effort into the UK market can be profitable, and as a UK business, it’s a smart place to start. But once you’re up and running, the world is your oyster – link up with the UKTI today to get started on building your e-Exportation empire.
Click here to learn more about the UKTI’s new e-Exportation programme
Click here to find your closest UKTI office and book an appointment
And remember – not everyone speaks English. Even though we are fortunate enough to be the “international language of business” when you’re targeting other countries and cultures, it’s imperative you use professional translation services to make these consumers feel comfortable with your product and services.