eCommerce MasterPlan helps businesses to improve their online presence and sales; this is all delivered via e-books, ‘proper’ books, blog posts, the podcast, speaking, events, and online training courses. Established four years ago by Chloe Thomas, the business has a base in Truro, Cornwall.
The UK is a world leader in eCommerce so our advice would be expected to sell at a premium overseas
“I went to a couple of UKTI seminars about exporting”, explained Chloe Thomas, Founder of eCommerce MasterPlan, “and was invited on to UKTI’s Passport to Export scheme to support new exporters”. Through the programme, Chloe was introduced to Kerry Stagg, Research Adviser for the South West Region who provides professional advice to help businesses undertake market research before approaching overseas markets for sales
The Market Selection planning helped eCommerce Masterplan identify the markets where success was most likely
Chloe and Kerry worked together through the factors which would influence likely demand for eCommerce Masterplan’s offering and what would indicate easier markets. They then used data to identify the best markets. “USA looked like it was going to be the biggest opportunity but we decided that Ireland and Australia would be better places to start as we are still a relatively small business and wanted to ensure our processes were right before launching in our largest market”.
Before approaching the market for sales, Chloe wanted a better understanding of the Australian market
Kerry helped Chloe to plan a research trip to Australia to get the best information she could. “At first, I thought the process seemed a bit unnecessary”, explained Chloe, “but it soon became clear that it would help me to concentrate on what I was aiming to do and how I was going to do it!” By pinpointing what Chloe wanted out of the trip, she was able to identify a wide and representative range of people to talk with and what to ask them.
Chloe spent two weeks in Australia finding out about the market.
By speaking with potential suppliers, potential customers (both high-street and small-scale), consultants, other B2B suppliers and the editor of a well-regarded retailing journal Chloe was able to gain a good understanding of the market and how eCommerce Masterplan could best launch in Australia.
A good understanding of the market enabled Chloe to make a difficult decision…and take the business in an exciting new direction
“I knew the UK was leading the way in eCommerce, but my research highlighted just how far ahead we were!” Chloe exclaimed. “I estimate Australia is about 6 years behind the UK and just not ready for our current offering”. It was clear that the Australians would require specific case studies and on-going focused support which would be time-consuming. Chloe also realised the licencing or franchising approach would not work for the business. “My initial thoughts of a ‘big launch’ just wouldn’t have been right for the market. We decided a more ‘slow burn’ approach would work better and could also allow us to develop several of our target markets simultaneously”
eCommerce Masterplan’s podcast is now believed to be the number one eCommerce podcast in the UK and 60% of their podcasts are also downloaded in US, Australia and many other countries.
The research findings focused the business to create a new export strategy, driving potential customers to the website through the podcasts and offering free and paid-for e-books. “The research visit made us think clearly about how we might launch in Australia and therefore the information we would need to find and with whom we’d need to talk. Without this rigorous process, we would have wasted a great deal of effort, time and money pursuing a poor strategy. Our new approach has doubled sales over the past year!”
Company: eCommerce MasterPlan
Industry: Consultancy and training for eCommerce
Target market: Australia
UKTI Service: Market selection and Export Marketing Research