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July 23, 2013updated 19 Aug 2016 9:26am

Are UK firms missing trick with international e-commerce?

Survey suggests online investment doesn't extend overseas


There’s an interesting study just been published by by master data management firm Stibo Systems and e-commerce digital agency Salmon, which suggests that while UK companies have invested in online channels, these rarely go beyond UK borders.

The research found that while 67% of UK B2B organisations already had online offerings, and 72% of organisations sell their products and services internationally, only 40% sell internationally online.

The survey was of 100 senior UK decision-makers in manufacturing and wholesale companies about the current stage in their adoption of e-commerce.

When asked what was holding them back from international online sales, 87% said the most significant challenge was the cost of service to trade. Trading overseas for any business has significant cost implications ranging from logistics, a concern for 49% of businesses, to lack of market knowledge at 58%.

Commenting on the report, Simon Walker, director, ecommerce innovation at Stibo Systems, said, "British businesses are innovative and dynamic, as this research shows, and have expanded considerably overseas in recent years. However, this research has highlighted how this expansion is being stifled by the cost of doing business. By channelling the local market and cultural knowledge developed by selling through existing channels into online operations, the cost barriers to international expansion can be significantly reduced. By utilising centralised tools such as Master Data Management as part of a business’s ecommerce infrastructure at home, it can in turn power online offerings abroad, significantly reducing the costs of operating overseas."


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