Ecommerce sales are predicted to reach £2.8 trillion by 2020, with 40% of those sales happening on e-marketplaces. The growth of such platforms is being driven by increasingly savvy shoppers and the rise of online shopping on mobile devices.

More and more online shoppers are also buying from foreign websites, meaning UK retailers are having to adopt cross-border strategies to develop their business internationally. By the end of the year, it’s estimated that 28% of European online retailers will sell their products overseas, and 83% of European cross-border shoppers will buy online from another European country.

If your ecommerce business isn’t currently trading on an e-marketplace, it’s time to take the next step and put your products in front of more customers around the world.

Why sell on e-marketplaces?

As e-marketplaces continue to grow, so will your business – both on a national and international scale. A report by Forrester indicates that consumers did half of their online shopping via e-marketplaces in 2016, and this figure could rise to two thirds in five years.

E-marketplaces are also a great place for browsing and researching products, which ultimately leads to customers making purchases. 25% of European online shoppers used Amazon to research their most recent product prior to buying.

Which platforms are the most popular?

At present, Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba’s Tmall account for 31% of all ecommerce sales (£255 billion worldwide). Approximately 75% of e-marketplace consumers shopped on either Amazon (global), Alibaba (China), (China) or Ebay (global).

One of the more established e-marketplaces is Amazon. Last year, its marketplace sellers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands generated sales of £2.3 billion (a figure that’s up 28% year-on-year).

International trade opportunities

60% of UK businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace now export abroad, with half of all sales on Amazon's global sites coming from smaller, independent businesses. Selling your products on marketplaces is a fantastic way to expand your customer base and boost your international sales.

Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager at Amazon said: “We are seeing a record number of British SMEs selling their products across Europe, North America, Japan, China and India, opening themselves up to millions of additional potential customers through the power of the internet.”

Helping businesses to get set up on e-marketplaces

A couple of months ago, we hosted the first ever Amazon Marketplace Northern seller event, which was attended by delegates from 138 companies. 62 of these were new sellers who had never traded on Amazon before.

The event was a great opportunity for companies to meet with Amazon representatives face-to-face to discuss the support on offer to help them launch on Amazon’s global marketplaces.

Domu Brands Ltd - a marketplace business that sells home, kitchen, and garden products – is a prime example of a company that’s seeing improved success as a result of selling on Amazon.

Mark Januszewski, CEO of the business, said: “Partnering with Amazon has certainly improved our business over the years. Amazon leads the way in terms of providing fantastic service to ecommerce customers and the high standards they expect from sellers only improves them. Our relationship with Amazon has developed over the years from being quite transactional to feeling more collaborative. I believe the relationship between the platform and seller is vital for mutual success.”

“We’ve enjoyed sustained growth throughout our journey. Today we have a team of around 140 that is headquartered in our Manchester office, and we sell currently to the UK, EU, and North America. We continually look at new growth opportunities, which includes new regions.”

Over to you

Would you like to launch your business on an e-marketplace? Our team of international trade experts can help you to get set up and hit the ground running.

The DIT has preferential agreements in place with 39 international e-marketplaces, so get in touch today to speak to an adviser and start increasing your international sales.

Karl Susol - International Trade Team Leader

Twitter: @KarlSusol