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Myths and truths: Growing your business internationally
As a business, you’d be forgiven for letting the past few years mar your enthusiasm for risk-taking in 2023. You’ve likely had to navigate new regulations, implement new safety measures, and make lots of difficult decisions - all whilst maintaining ‘business as usual’.
The difference now though is that expanding your business internationally isn’t the risk you might perceive it to be. In fact, it could be one of the most stabilising business decisions you make. With Parcelforce Worldwide’s customs solutions in place and a world out there that loves to buy British: it’s time for growth across Europe and further afield.
Here we tackle some of the most detrimental myths deterring businesses from taking full advantage of international opportunities.
1. “I’m worried about customs when sending to the EU.”
This is a very common anxiety, whether you’re a business already selling to Europe or simply considering it. Brexit has brought with it seismic changes to the way parcels pass through borders and - in the past - retailers, carriers, and customers have experienced difficulties.
Since the EU’s introduction of The Import One Stop Shop (IOSS), however, things have been easier. IOSS simplifies the declaration and payment of VAT for goods sold from Great Britain into the EU, helping avoid unexpected charges for end recipients.
Parcelforce Worldwide are pleased to offer an assisted IOSS option: Taxamo Assure, which is a to pay-as-you-go solution.
You can partner with a third party to register your business for IOSS, which will allow you to send items using your own IOSS number. This is recommended for UK sellers sending higher volumes of items and who do not wish to register and manage tax returns in-house.
2. “I don’t have the capital.”
Perhaps you think you’re too much of a ‘small business’ to benefit from going global. In fact, expanding your customer base is likely to make you more resilient to economic downturns. If sales in one country decline, you can refocus your efforts on regions still growing.
Online retailer Spice Kitchen are proud of their SME status and continue to enjoy strong global sales. “If the pandemic has taught us anything,” their Head of Community Ann Lowe tells us, “it’s that the world can change in an instant. Having options in terms of sales channels is vital for business. We see global trade similarly, in terms of offering options to spread the risk and offering us resilience in the face of an ever-changing business landscape.”
3. “How do I connect with global customers?”
This can feel like a daunting task. Having just become accustomed to the trends and complexities of the UK market, you now need to understand an entirely new one.
To connect with global customers, your partners are everything: particularly your delivery partner. 98% of global shoppers say their loyalty to brands is directly affected by the delivery process.1 Parcelforce Worldwide deliver with local carriers that customers overseas already know and trust, helping to increase first-time delivery successes and ensure a great doorstep experience internationally.
4. “I feel uncertain about foreign markets.”
Despite your uncertainty about foreign markets, there are still ways to make global shoppers feel at home. Localising your business offerings via website translation and local currency options, for example, are simple and effective ways of making consumers across the world feel more comfortable buying.
Online retailer Adore Baby sell via marketplaces as a way of reaching foreign markets. These marketplaces localise their language and currency options as a way of supporting the growth of SMEs globally. “We sell worldwide,” says owner Pamela Kennedy, “to the US, Australia, Dubai, Italy, Germany. We have customers everywhere.”
There will always be some risk attached to entering the international market. Minimise these risks with trusted partners and simple e-commerce solutions, however, and it could be a risk worth taking. 87% of executives say their biggest growth potential lies with international sales expansion,2 and with new technologies - the world is closer than ever before.
For more information on how we can help you export to the EU visit parcelforce.com/delivery-terms
1 Business Wire, 2018
2 Visa Global Merchant eCommerce Study, 2019