20 years after the first recorded online sales transaction, e-commerce is now a worldwide market comprised of merchants ranging from multi-national retailers to single owner-operator businesses.
While the earliest days of e-commerce sales were dominated by the bricks and mortar retailers that were already well established, new technologies have allowed those smaller, and newer market entrants to quickly grow market share and revenue streams by rapidly responding to the constant change in market dynamics. This in turn has paved the way for cross border trade.
UK SME’s currently trail behind the rest of Europe in terms of exports, according to recent research from the UKTI. Of an estimated 5.4 million businesses in the UK, with Small to Medium Enterprises currently accounting for 99% of those businesses, you’d think that it would be more than one in five that currently export. France are one in four, and Germany one in three.
Although these are the figures for the UK, France and Germany, cross border trade is growing. 33% of retailers surveyed currently sell on international sites and one in four of those retailers earn more than 20% of their revenue through international sales. In 2013, cross border e-commerce sales between Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, the UK and the US totalled $105 billion. By 2018, this figure is said to jump to $307 billion. A near 200% increase. With this in mind, Bigcommerce’s Democratization of E-commerce Report predicts that US SME’s e-commerce market alone will exceed $100 billion in total sales in 2015.
However, there are still problems that retailers face when it comes to trading internationally. Examples such as language barriers or even fulfilment processes are amongst the most common. Retailers only need to invest time to research and build a strategic plan before taking the leap into cross border trade.
Trade between two nations is an excellent way to strengthen international bonds because it helps to create long lasting partnerships where before none may have existed.