How North West businesses can benefit from e-commerce on global online platforms

As technology is revolutionising, consumer demand is changing. Wi-Fi is readily accessible, and smartphones and tablets enable instant purchasing at the touch of a button, anywhere, at any time. Businesses have the opportunity to access global online audiences in new, targeted ways, enabling unprecedented growth potential.

The UK has the third largest e-commerce market in the world and is worth £77billion a year to our economy. In 2017, the exports of goods and services in the North West rose to £28.8billion, up 3.6% on the previous year. There are hundreds of opportunities available to North West businesses, ensuring the region continues to capitalise on its share of this expanding market.

For small businesses in particular, a key benefit of e-commerce is that it helps reduce the costs associated with the logistics of exporting, minimising overhead expenditure and the need for staff on the ground in overseas markets.

To help businesses get started with e-exporting, we work closely with many leading global e-commerce marketplaces including Amazon and eBay, as well as those dedicated to specific sectors, such as US-based tech giant Newegg.

Amazon has revolutionised the way in which we trade, allowing exporters to sell goods to global consumers 24/7, without delay in payment. The total export figure from Amazon Marketplace sellers was nearly £2.3billion in 2017, up 28% from the previous year.

We recently supported the Amazon Academy to hold 2 days of events in Manchester, designed to help drive major growth in the North West through trading online. At these event, Amazon demonstrated the opportunities available to both start-ups and established businesses, to increase their presence in international markets.

To ensure businesses in the North West continue to succeed in this digital economy, we have a team of International Trade Advisers ready to help businesses explore e-commerce opportunities. Our advisers can counsel businesses on ways to become more digitised and target specific audiences online. They can provide one-to-one support and facilitate networking events with commercial partners - including Amazon.

One firm making the most of online opportunities is Manchester-based, DOMU Brands. The company recently developed an e-commerce strategy and now successfully sells their home, kitchen and garden goods globally through Amazon Marketplace. The Department for International Trade (DIT) worked closely with the company to advise on its growth strategy and support its research into new markets. The business now uses its online presence to target customers across the world. E-commerce sales to the EU and North America alone make up 35% of its annual turnover. 

Businesses in the North West thinking about exporting, either through traditional means or via e-commerce, should get in touch with our team of advisers. DIT’s E-Exporting Programme helps UK retailers and brands to export their products overseas via e-marketplaces.

There’s a real appetite for UK goods across the world, and it’s our job to help get them out there, on or offline. If DOMU Brands can do it, you can too.