Drinking in the Export Opportunities

Transvend is a family business providing hot water solutions that enable people who work from vehicles to enjoy a hot drink. “It’s a health and safety requirement”, explained Nick James, Transvend’s Director, “for an employee to have provision for refreshment during their working day”. Established in 2003, the business is based in Bedfordshire.

Transvend had always focused on the UK market but a chance contact from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and UK Trade & Investment prompted a rethink. “We already had a good share of the UK market and were hungry for further business growth so exporting presented an exciting opportunity”, explained Nick.

Transvend signed up to UKTI’s Passport to Export, a structured programme of support to help new and inexperienced exporters. The programme enabled Transvend to focus on their export strategy and create a plan for how to achieve their export ambitions. “The opportunities for growth were clear, however we realised very early on that our website wasn’t good enough and did not portray the Transvend brand professionally”. Nick decided that, before embarking on their plans to increase export sales, they needed to significantly improve their website.

Through the Passport to Export programme, they were introduced to the Export Communications Review (ECR). The ECR provides practical, impartial and straightforward advice to help companies improve their communications with overseas markets. Each review is conducted by a communications expert and is tailored to the company’s individual requirements.


Nick met with Notburga Preining, a registered Export Communications Consultant, in December 2013. Notburga reviewed the Transvend website in light of its suitability for an international audience, initially focused on the Dutch market; the meeting was followed up with a comprehensive report of recommendations. “I’m not a web expert so it was perfect that Notburga pulled apart our website piece-by-piece and put forward clear recommendations for improvements in such a nice way!” said Nick. The recommendations included:


  • Tailor the website to the target audience: “Our key customers are vehicle convertors”, explained Nick, “so we needed to make sure our website spoke with them”. The ECR highlighted the importance of using the appropriate level of technical detail in each language and ensuring use of the correct ‘keywords’ for search engine optimisation. “It hadn’t occurred to us that the keywords might not be the same in all languages!”
  • Use the appropriate web platform. Notburga suggested ‘Word Press’ to give Transvend greater control over their website and more flexibility in the future. “This was such good advice as some web developers we considered wanted to use their own, bespoke programme which would have tied us in to expensive change costs and a loss of control”.
  • Ensure relevant trademark protection: …and ensure no other trademarks are infringed!


Transvend was able to use the ECR report as a brief to select a new web developer. “The report gave us the confidence to approach web developers with a clear and professional looking brief for what we wanted from our website. Beforehand, our brief had simply relied on copying the look and feel of other sites we’d seen and I was concerned that a web developer would rip us off!”


Having implemented most of the recommendations, Transvend commissioned a second ECR six months later. “It was dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s”, explained Nick, “a fine-toothed comb to enable us to see the progress we’d made and make the adjustments to put us back on the right track.” The second review also helped Transvend to focus specifically on their growing Dutch business.


The results speak for themselves; within 3 months of simply changing the website, web traffic doubled, the company now receives regular product enquiries and requests for quotations daily.


“The thing I liked best about the ECR”, explained Nick, “was having a critical, unbiased expert review of this key aspect of our communications with a helpful and targeted approach. You can’t just get your website translated, and Notburga showed us how to focus on what is important”.

If you are thinking about reviewing your communications for an international audience then maybe an ECR could help you too?


The Export Communications Review(ECR)

The ECR is delivered nationwide by a network of specially-trained accredited Export Communications Consultants. Together with the client, the consultant puts together a programme of reviews to suit the needs and complexity of the exporter and their goals. Each review costs £500 + VAT; however, established companies with fewer than 250 employees may be eligible for a UKTI subsidy of £250 towards the cost of each of their first three reviews.  

For more information, please visit www.ukti.gov.uk/ecr or contact the ECR team at the address below.

UK Trade & Investment is the United Kingdom Government’s lead organisation for supporting UK companies in overseas business, and attracting inward investment.

For more information please contact your ECR team on 0845 0342111 or [email protected].

Please follow this link to see how other Companies have benefitted from the ECR

For more information, please visit www.ukti.gov.uk/ecr or contact the ECR team

[email protected]

UK Trade & Investment is the United Kingdom Government’s lead organisation for supporting UK companies in overseas business, and attracting inward investment.

Sectors: Automotive Retail, Maintenance, and Workwear
Topics: E-commerce
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