Back in December 2016, The Department for International Trade (DIT) launched their ‘trade hub’, an online portal designed to help small UK businesses expand overseas, by providing exporting opportunities and invaluable support.
Of the 2.5 million businesses registered in the UK, an estimated 360,000 wrongly believe that there is not a global demand for their exportable product or service. This is a huge number of businesses who could otherwise see success from expanding their business internationally.
In fact, following the EU Referendum’s Brexit outcome and more recently the triggering of Article 50, which has marked the beginning of the UK’s exit from the European Union, international demand for UK products has soared, due to the declining value of Sterling.
While there is no certainty as to the future impact of Brexit on UK businesses, overall demand for British products is expected to continue and the government-backed online portal is part of a larger push to get 10,000 more UK businesses exporting by 2020.
What are the export opportunities available to UK online sellers?
Part of the DIT’s trade hub is their Export Opportunities page, which displays the international opportunities available to UK sellers. Specifically, sellers are matched with overseas brands who are looking for British goods or services. As an example, some of the opportunities currently listed include a Chinese importer looking for high quality UK skincare products, as well as a German company who is looking for a provider of bike clothing and bags.
Regardless of what you are selling, it is certainly worth signing up to receive alerts for relevant opportunities, if you are thinking about selling overseas.
The Department for International Trade also allow you to create a ‘Find a Buyer’ profile, in order to generate international sales leads. On this profile, you are able to highlight vital facts about your company, showcase your company’s experience and encourage international buyers to contact your sales or business development teams.
Preferential rates and discounts for DiT clients
Another benefit for online sellers is that the DiT can pass on reduced marketplace fees for various global marketplaces. If you’re thinking about selling into France, for example, you could try Cdiscount or La Redoute for free for the first three months, paying only commission on the items you sell. Alternatively, if you’re thinking about subscribing to an Anchor Level eBay Shop, they will be able to waive the subscription fee for six months.
Additional discounted rates include a 15% reduction in commission from 9.85% (including payment fees) to 8.37% when selling on New Zealand marketplace, Trade Me, as well as 2% lower commission fees for sellers on Privalia.
Some of the marketplace offers available to UK sellers can be seen below.
- eBay will waive the Shop subscription fee for 3 months for entry level sellers who are subscribing to an eBay Basic Shop
- For UK sellers with marketplace sales over $500,000, eBay will waive the subscription fee for 6 months for an Anchor Shop level subscription
- New Etsy sellers are eligible to receive 20 free listings
- Sellers referred through DIT will secure reduced commission fees when selling on Mercado Libre (9% instead of 10% in Columbia, 11% instead of 12% in Chile and 14% instead of 16% in Mexico)
- Trade Me are offering a 15% reduction in commission fees, from 9.85% (including payment fees) to 8.37%
- Global marketplace Fruugo are offering a 10% lifetime reduction in their commission charges, for DIT-referred sellers
- DIT-approved sellers can try La Redoute, Cdiscount and Spartoo for free for 3 months (excluding commission)
- Newegg will reduce their commission fees from 12% to 11%, and to 10% for merchants selling over $100,000 per month
- OTTO will waive their €10,000 fee for approved merchants
- Allegro are offering an exclusive marketing package worth up to £1000
- Chinese marketplace JD Worldwide will waive their $1000 annual fee for UK companies for the first year
- Privalia are offering DIT referred brands reduced commission fees – 13% for brands and 11% for retailers
There is also a lot of support and guidance available for selling into markets, both for first-time exporters and for those who are already selling internationally.
If you are interested in selling into a specific market, their collection of country guides may offer some valuable insight and advice. These guides cover everything from data about the top industries importing into the country, right through to tips for selling into the country, legal considerations and customs and documentation. With hundreds of guides for different countries, as well as a huge amount of additional resources, it’s certainly worth taking a look.