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The early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic have given us rare insight into the creative ways companies have adapted to pressures, and seen many examples of positive disruptions that have reshaped the way we do business. Small businesses in particular have shown enormous dynamism in the face of challenges. In fact, over the past two years, despite the challenges of Brexit, we have seen UK SME exports increase. For other companies considering spreading their wings, there are a few lessons to take away…
Consider how global markets have changed in response to Covid-19
In the UK, much attention has been paid to the decline of the high street and the impact this has had on businesses pushing to expand their national e-commerce offerings. For companies looking to grow their exports in 2022, it’s equally important to consider changing buying habits around the world. For example, the retail culture in the Middle East was heavily centered around malls, while e-commerce was far less mature than in some other markets. But the closure of malls in places like Dubai has led to dramatic growth in e-commerce. This creates an opportunity for UK businesses, where previously a physical presence in the Middle East would have been prohibitively expensive.
Likewise, there are certain goods that we might not have considered buying online two years ago, such as wallpaper or certain health and wellness products. But Covid-19 forced a change in behavior and, as a result, created a whole new route to market.
Keep an open mind about the markets to target
Adjusting to trade outside the single market has come with challenges, but this experience has prepared businesses that previously only traded with the EU to trade with the widest range of markets possible. Although trading with countries like India may have seemed daunting before, companies need to be confident that their experiences over the past 12 months have equipped them with the skills and knowledge to navigate the various customs requirements. . Working with an expert partner such as DHL Express can provide an additional layer of advice to manage the individual requirements of each new market, as well as insight into which markets offer the richest opportunities.
Spread your risk with a presence in more than one country
If businesses have learned one thing from the pandemic, it’s that they need to be prepared for change and challenges. To manage the risks associated with overseas trade, it is wise not to put all your eggs in one basket. The more markets a company operates in, the weaker the highs and lows seem – for example, when exchange rates or the economic outlook differ for a particular country. For small SMEs, it is worth considering starting by selling internationally through a marketplace. This provides access to many markets as well as upfront payment protection. As a business grows and gains knowledge and confidence in international trade, launching its own e-commerce site won’t seem so daunting.
Clearly display your commitment to sustainability
Finally, as sustainability continues to be a priority for consumers, being clear not only about your ambitions but also about your actions will be key to developing and retaining customers. Research shows 88% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a business that supports environmental issuesand 74% of customers say a company’s sustainability practices are more important than a year ago. With this in mind, companies have the option of offering more sustainable shipping options, such as DHL’s Go Green service.
Selling internationally is a major opportunity for growth, but SMEs should not try to do it all or do it alone. It’s important to step back and get expert advice to supplement your own knowledge. At DHL Express, we support our customers on a daily basis in preparing shipping documents and clearing goods through customs, as well as providing tools to calculate duties and taxes before moving goods across borders. We also guide clients on how to increase their international customer base by following the recommendations of our e-commerce and sustainability health checks. All of this gives companies the knowledge, control and opportunity to succeed internationally.
Originally published on Business Reporter
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This notice was published: 2022-04-06 10:35:01