Getting started in more accessible markets: Europe

In June 2015 Open to Export hosted the ‘Getting started in more accessible markets: Europe’ webinar with Mathilde Murphy (Enterprise Europe Network) leading the discussion, and Simon Chater (Joda Training) and Melanie Talbot (Water-to-Go) speaking and answering questions.

The major talking points

The key takeaways from the webinar were the following:

  1. There are no tariffs when trading within the EU. The four economic freedoms of the EU, (free movement of goods, services, capital and workers) are designed to make it easier to trade with other EU states.
  2. Non-tariff barriers are also being closed down among the 28 EU nations, as national regulations are being replaced by common minimum standards.
  3. Eastern Europe is a land of opportunities for UK exporters, due to higher growth in the region, leading to increased disposable income and consumer spending.
  4. UK brand should still be strong in the scenario of a UK exit, as shown by the accelerating growth of trade outside of the EU, particular in East Asia.
  5. But UK would lose EU regulatory influence if it left. This would be a problem because the UK would still need to comply with EU regulations for things like the labelling and safety of products when trading with EU countries.
  6. New trade agreements will be created if the UK leaves the EU. The UK could still remain in the European Economic Area, forming similar trade agreements as the ones Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland already have . The UK would also have to form new bilateral trade agreements with all non-European countries.
  7. European developing markets can be more accessible than domestic markets because of the growth and appetite for UK products and services in these countries. Also bear in mind that a flight to Sofia, for example, can take less time than driving to another UK city.
  8. Take the time to develop relationships with your prospective distributors, agents or customers in new European countries. You will not necessarily make a hard sale on a first visit to a new market, but you can start to develop future sales relationships for further down the line.
  9. Consider the different social media channels across Europe, including sites like LinkedIn and YouTube which are widely used, but also country specific versions of these sites like ixpos and Xing in Germany, and Viadeo in France.

You can read articles with further information and guidance relating to these key points in our Getting Started and Selecting a Market sections.

You can watch the video of the webinar below, and check out our Recent Webinars page to access all the Open to Export webinars giving practical guidance and answers to all your exporting concerns.

Questions and Answers

As usual, attendees gave some excellent questions to which speakers gave informative answers. Here are the questions and the answers given to them (with the time they are addressed in brackets):

Q: To what degree is it important to localize different marketing materials for new countries? (52:50)

A: It can depend on the product or service you’re offering, but it can be a ‘fight’ to ensure brand consistency across all your materials because different distributors will want to specialize the materials for the marketing they’re selling in.

Q: Do you need to translate the labelling of your products before shipping or can you get your distributor to do it? (55:50)

A: Ensure your customer will be able to understand and appreciate your labelling. Be wary of the limited size of the label and your customer’s interest. Ensure the most important information is translated for each market, and then consider using symbols and images to convey less important info.

Q: Does a product imported from outside the EU to then be exported within EU need to comply with other regulations? (1:00:25)

A: As long as the product complied with the EU regulations needed to be imported into the UK, it should be fine for export within the EU.

Q: What are the issues regarding the use of an associate to deliver your service in another country? (1:03:25)

A: There are quality and legal issues to consider. Ensure you have a way of ensuring that the quality of the service delivered matches your expectations. Then consider your IP to ensure the service is protected as yours and fit this into the contractual arrangement with the associate. Also, bear in mind the employment regulations in the country if you’re hiring the associate as an employee.

Q: What’s the best way of splitting costs when a distributor specialises the materials for their market? (1:07:25)

A: It can be easier for the distributor to charge but ensure you are aware of what they are charging for, and try to ensure that the changes they make fit with your overall brand and marketing templates.

Open to Export hold monthly webinars about the different opportunities and challenges involved in exporting. Check out our upcoming webinars page for more details.

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