Why you MUST adapt your products if you want to succeed in international ecommerce

product adaption

This week’s guest blog comes from Thrive Digital who provide a full solution to internationalising your ecommerce through a process called The Mix. The Mix helps to inform development of an effective strategy for growth in international ecommerce.

Companies that are prepared to make adjustments to their products and services to meet the needs of their overseas customers, will be those most likely to succeed in international ecommerce.

Business like yours are increasingly looking to international markets and online marketplaces to provide new revenue streams. At Thrive Digital we help companies with a three-stage process to help you achieve success with online retail in overseas markets – firstly undertaking specialist market research to uncover any cultural differences that might be a barrier to sales.

The second step is acting on the market intelligence to identify changes that are required to your products to ensure that they are aligned with the culture and buying behavioural values of your target markets. The third step is to build or realign digital platforms to deliver on the strategy. Continue reading

Exporting After Brexit – panel discussion, March 9th

Flyer v2

Open to Export CEO and Director General of the Institute of Export and International Trade, Lesley Batchelor, will be appearing on a panel discussion being hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group at Portcullis House on Thursday 9th March (10-11:30).  

The panel also includes Richard Corbett MEP – Deputy Leader of the Labour Members of the European Parliament, author of “How Does Europe Work”, former advisor to Herman Van Rompuy – and William Butler-Adams OBE – Chief Executive, Brompton Bicycles.

The debate will cover the following topics and specifically how they impact manufacturers:

  • The imposition of tariffs on trade
  • Non-tariff benefits of EU membership
  • Ongoing co-operation with the customs union
  • Integrated cross-border supply chains
  • Support for British exporters
  • Free-trade agreements and the World Trade Organisation

Please click here to RSVP to the event, or email George.dibb@policyconnect.org.uk.

Export Optimism Survey – Q1 2017

Ahead of an appearance before a Select Committee at the House of Commons next week, the Institute of Export and International Trade are running a survey asking UK exporters how they feel about the exporting landscape in 2017 so far.

Have your say to the government about international trade for UK businesses this year so far:

Create your own user feedback survey

UK SME exporters look beyond the EU and towards a ‘Global Britain’

As part of our recent webinar on what UK exporters need to know about Brexit in 2017, we polled our audience (mostly made up of UK SMEs) to gauge their confidence about exporting into the EU and beyond following recent developments in the UK’s stance regarding Brexit.

In the first question, we asked ‘how confident do you feel in continuing to trade with the EU after Brexit?’ Just under 40% said they were still confident while around 20% said they were not very confident. Very few businesses are not at all confident, while just under 30% are currently neutral.

EU trade confidence

UK SMEs are neither very confident nor completely lacking confidence for continued trade with EU markets.

In the second question we asked ‘Do you intend to expand your horizons to trade with new non-EU countries?’ Perhaps backing Theresa May’s prediction of a more global Britain following Brexit, just under 70% said they would be, with around 25% undecided.

global britain exports

Will UK SMEs back up Theresa May’s prediction of a more ‘Global Britain’ following Brexit?

Following these findings, Open to Export will be hosting the ‘Beyond the EU’ webinar series for the new Global Britain. We will be covering Russia and both North and South America in the series, following our recent webinar on markets in the Commonwealth.

Please do have a look at our blog post on the Beyond the EU series.

Get your complimentary ticket to CeBIT 2017

CeBIT Pepper

Open to Export members can get complimentary tickets for CeBIT 2017.

Open to Export have secured complimentary tickets which you can access by clicking on the following link: click here

Digital transformation takes centre stage at CeBIT 2017 – the Global Event for Digital Business. As the world’s foremost event devoted to the digitalization of business, administration and society, CeBIT 2017 will focus on the wealth of opportunities inherent in the digital transformation. Humanoid robots, self-driving cars, automated factories and drone deliveries are just a few examples of how the digital transformation is reshaping our economy and society more than any other advance in the history of technology. The keynote theme at CeBIT 2017, “d!economy – no limts”, reveals the enormous potential of digitalisation. Continue reading

How Brexit could affect the UK’s role in developing future standards


Read a report by Enterprise Europe Network on how the UK’s roles in developing future standards could be affected by Brexit.

Ahead of our webinar on Brexit on January 17thEnterprise Europe Network have shared a report on the likely impact of the UK’s exiting the EU on its role in developing future standards. The post reports on a recent webinar hosted by the British Standards Institute, BSI, on how the UK’s involvement in setting future standings could be affected.

The key takeaways from the webinar were that:

  1. Following the result of the UK referendum there will be a transition period. While negotiations are on-going, it is business as usual for BSI, including all aspects of standards making, policy and strategy work.
  2. BSI’s ambition is that the UK should continue to participate in the European Standardization System, with BSI as a full member of CEN and CENELEC.
  3. BSI is confident that a UK exit from the EU will not affect BSI’s membership of ISO, IEC and ETSI.

You can read the full report here. Continue reading

Putting GREAT British products under Christmas trees around the world


Open to Export are heading off on the festive break this week, but helping UK SMEs expand business overseas is never far from our minds.

We received an email to admin@opentoexport.com from a little known import-export business called ‘The Saint Nick Delivery Company’ asking if there were any UK products they could distribute to a ‘global audience’ and we couldn’t resist this opportunity to promote great UK businesses looking to start exporting.

When responding to the exports@saintnick.xmas email we initially didn’t know where to start in terms of which businesses to recommend. There are so many businesses that could become great exporters but not all of them have sufficient plans in place to make the most of international business opportunities like these. Continue reading

Export Action Plan Case Study: Premier Plant Hire

Following another inspiring Export Action Plan final, we’ve asked each of the finalists about their experiences using the tool and for their export tips for future entrants. In this case study we talk to Premier Plant Hire.

Premier plant hire

Premier Plant Hire present at the Export Action Plan final.

How would you describe your business / what do you sell?

We are developing, manufacturing and selling modular conveyor belts and diesel particulate filters to mainly construction related enterprises. Continue reading

Beyond the EU – looking to a ‘Global Britain’


In a recent poll, we found that 70% of UK SMEs are looking to expand beyond the EU following Brexit.

When we hosted a webinar on Brexit and what UK exporters need to know about it in 2017 last January one of the key tips given was to consider looking ‘beyond the EU’ at markets around the world. This was quickly followed by Prime Minister May’s suggestion that Brexit should be followed by a more ‘Global Britain’.

While Europe will always be the most significant region for UK exports, looking beyond the continent and trading with more regions around the world is a great way of spreading risk for growing businesses.

In November and February we followed this advice, running webinars on markets beyond the EU in the Commonwealth, Russia, North and South America.  

You can find recordings of each of the webinars below and further tips supplied by market experts from each region.

Continue reading

How the Export Action Plan competition helped us take our next export steps


Open to Export recently hosted our third Export Action Plan Competition and once again,  we enjoyed hearing from some great finalists pitching their plans to our panel of judges.  

The competition is designed to encourage small businesses to use the action plan tool to create a coherent plan for international expansion. The action plan has already helped many SMEs to take their next steps towards international growth by walking inexperienced exporters through some vital, key steps to success.

All of our finalists paid testament to the impact the plan has had on their thinking about export including Michele Conway, Sales Director of Pasta Foods, who told us:

“The plan has made us consider the priorities for our business and enabled us to strategically look at where to focus our efforts first, we’ve already achieved some quick wins – and the support from the Open to Export team has been brilliant.”

Nikky Hall, Creative Director at Polkadoodles, added: Continue reading

Food and drink Q3 export snapshot

fdf snapshot

As part of our ongoing support of the food and drink sector, we’re delighted to share with you the FDF and FDEA export snapshot for the 3rd quarter of 2016. Food and drink exports are continually rising and the sector has a significant role to play as part of the government’s pledge to increase the UK’s overall exports.

See the full snapshot here and you can read the executive summary below. Continue reading

Export Action Plan Case Study: Polkadoodles

Following another inspiring Export Action Plan final, we’ve asked each of the finalists about their experiences using the tool and for their export tips for future entrants. In this case study we talk to Polkadoodles.

nikky hall polkadoodles

Nikky Hall, Creative Director of Polkadoodles.

How would you describe your business / what do you sell?

Polkadoodles manufactures and sells unique craft products to crafters around the world. Continue reading

Export Action Plan Case Study: Pasta Foods

Following another inspiring Export Action Plan final, we’ve asked each of the finalists about their experiences using the tool and for their export tips for future entrants. In this case study we talk to Pasta Foods.

pasta foods case study

Michele Conway, Sales Director at Pasta Foods.

How would you describe your business / what do you sell?

We are a dried pasta manufacturer and snack pellet producer based in the UK. Selling directly into some of the world’s largest food manufacturers – our products end up in many markets such as canned, ambient, fresh and frozen. Continue reading

Case study – Chemoxy go international to create a more robust customer base


Established in 1868, Chemoxy International is one of Europe’s largest independent contract producers of chemicals. They manufacture products that are used across a range of sectors, such as oil and gas, personal care and coatings. They are based in Middlesbrough, where they have carried out distillation for almost 150 years, and a new expansion was opened in Billingham in 2014.

Chemoxy are a medium-sized enterprise, employing more than 140 highly-skilled people across its two sites. As such they are able to move with the speed of a smaller company, while maintaining the health and safety and environmental standards of a much larger firm.

The UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry is a global leader and exports over £50 billion to the EU alone. Chemoxy is no different, with 60% of its products exported overseas, bringing in around 61% of its annual turnover. They have supplied their goods to the rest of the world for a number of years now, with their ‘Coasol’ coalescent range being their best-selling product. Their success doing so has allowed the company to double its number of employees, while expanding its manufacturing capacity by over 30%. This progress was recognised by the North East of England Process Industry Chamber (NEPIC), who awarded Chemoxy their ‘New to Export’ award in 2012. Continue reading