Nearly one in three UK SME e-tailers fail to ship goods overseas

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A recent study by Royal Mail has shown that 11% of SME online retailers in the UK do not import or export goods of any kind. Of those surveyed, nearly one in four (23%) do not import goods and 30% do not export their own items.

In spite of this, there is a keen appetite for exporting with almost two thirds (64%) aiming to increase international sales revenues in 2018. In December 2017 alone, the value of UK exports and imports reached £29.6bn (US$41.4bn) and £39.1bn (US$54.6bn) respectively, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

When it comes to how UK SME online retailers sell their products, 78% sell via their own website and over half (54%) sell on a marketplace. Looking to the year ahead, over half (52%) are planning to sell through new channels. In 2018, 15% intend to list products on a marketplace while 18% will use additional marketplace sites.

A spokesperson for Royal Mail Parcels said, “The e-commerce sector is becoming increasingly globalized and SME online retailers especially should look at opportunities 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.”

For e-tailers looking to target international customers, Royal Mail advises companies to make delivery charges affordable; be clear about customs charges; make sure international payments work; translate the website; convert prices; provide customer support; and check out the local competition.

February 26, 2018

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Dan originally joined Parcel and Postal Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest technological developments, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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