UKTI launches online exporting package launched to help British businesses ‘sell while they sleep’

Businesses of all sizes from across the UK will have access to a new suite of services to help boost their international trade through online channels.

Trade Minister Lord Livingston will launch the government support package on 8 September 2014 at the Autumn Fair at the NEC in Birmingham.

UKTI’s new e-Exporting Programme has been created to ensure UK companies are best placed to tap into the huge opportunities that exist online. The growth of technology has dramatically changed consumers’ purchasing habits with Britons now spending approximately £91bn a year online making the UK one of the world’s leading e-commerce countries.

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. The programme encourages UK exporters to reach out to the generation of digitally-capable consumers who are increasingly influenced through online channels.

The programme is the first of its kind in the world – UKTI is the only organisation to hold the operational information of global B2C and B2B 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.

“UK products are GREAT – it’s time to take them to the world.”

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 over 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 launching today.

UK retailers including Mothercare, organic skincare brand Neal’s Yard Remedies, and fashion brands Emma Willis and Matthew Williamson have also endorsed UKTI’s efforts to support UK retailers and brands with their e-commerce strategy in order to boost exports. The programme is expected to help approximately 50,000 UK companies establish online trade channels.

CEO and founder of mobile payments company Powa Technologies Dan Wagner said: “The UK is rapidly becoming a global centre of excellence for e-exports as a result of the innovation efforts of hundreds of British companies across the UK. The democratisation of the web now allows companies of all sizes to extend their reach around the world and tap into new markets through e-commerce, something that would have taken an extraordinary amount of effort and investment only a few years ago.

“The support provided by the UKTI’s e-Exporting Programme will enable businesses of all sizes to rapidly expand their operations, creating new jobs and wealth both at home and abroad, and cementing the UK’s position as an innovative, world leading exporter of quality goods.”

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 e-Exporting Programme is a continuation of the Government’s commitment to get more UK businesses trading online and meet the UK trade ambition of £1 trillion by 2020. The programme follows UKTI’s ‘Grow Online, Expand Worldwide’ campaign that was launched late last year by Business Secretary Vince Cable.