UK Businesses are to have access to a new suite of services to help boost their international trade through UK Trade and Investment's (UKTI) new e-Exporting Programme.
UK Trade and Investment, a government department, says it is working with the world’s 400-plus leading e-marketplaces to help UK companies "fast-track" international sales. Businesses of all sizes from across the UK will have access to a new suite of services to help boost their international trade through these online channels.
Trade Minister Lord Livingston launched the government support package this week at the Autumn Fair at the NEC in Birmingham.
UKTI is working with a number of international e-marketplaces including Tmall China, Amazon China, Japanese e-commerce platform Rakuten and Harper’s Bazaar. Operating through these e-marketplaces presents a cost-effective way for companies – particularly small and medium-sized businesses – to increase their reach in terms of both numbers and geography, said the government.
The programme is the first of its kind in the world, according to UKTI. It says it is the only organisation to hold the operational information of global B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) e-marketplaces, with the central aim of using the information to "revolutionise exporting".
Lord Livingston said: "The UK leads the world in cross-border online sales, but there is still much more we can do to help British business seize this huge opportunity, with forecasts of three billion online consumers in just three years.
"Trading online is a great way to start exporting to a new country, enhance distribution in an exciting market and effectively sell while you sleep. This is why we are launching the UKTI e-Exporting Programme to help businesses thrive abroad in some of the world’s largest markets."
UKTI launched a pilot of the new programme in November 2013, introducing British companies to Chinese e-marketplaces including Tmall, Jumeii and ASOS China. Since this pilot more than 100 UK brands have launched in China through an e-marketplace, from Karen Millen and Cath Kidston to Tangle Teezer and Tyrrell’s Crisps, leading to the development of the global programme now being launched.
The programme is expected to help around 50,000 UK companies establish online trade channels.
Head of international business development for Debenhams, John Scott, said: "Debenhams has worked closely with UKTI and is glad to see government react to how digital has transformed the retail sector with the e-Exporting Programme.
"We encourage more British brands to engage with online channels as Debenhams has done in order to increase their sales, reach out to customers through their chosen channel and future proof their business model."
The programme follows UKTI’s Grow Online, Expand Worldwide campaign that was launched late last year by business secretary Vince Cable.