THE BLOG

UK Retailers Venture Beyond Albion's Borders

20/03/2013 16:16 GMT | Updated 20/05/2013 10:12 BST

Cross-border online sales are set to reach £10bn for UK retailers in 2013. But not every retailer can steal a slice of the £10bn for themselves. There are some key challenges they need to tackle first, such as trust.

According to the latest IMRG research, British retailers are proving to be the most successful cross-border traders in Europe. In 2012 international consumers spent £7.4bn with UK-based sites, with the total set to exceed £10bn this year. Sounds like a lot especially when the cross-border sales across Europe will reach €36bn in 2013 and account for 10.6 per cent of total online sales in the region.

The UK online retail market has proven to be one of the great success stories over the past decade, recording strong growth each year and being second only to the US market in terms of overall value. Actually, the British domestic market is so mature that UK retailers have started to eye foreign markets in the hope of taking advantage of the rise in online shopping.

So does that mean that every UK retailer venturing beyond the borders of Albion is an immediate success? Not even close. There is one big obstacle standing in their way: trust.

Inspiring confidence among international consumers remains one of the key challenges retailers have to overcome in order to reach that pot full of gold in foreign markets. Research from Trusted Shops found that two thirds of online shoppers regard an internationally-known trustmark as important or very important when considering a cross-border purchase.

In order to facilitate cross-border growth across Europe, the Trusted Shops and IMRG 'Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS)' schemes combined in 2012 to create a standard European trustmark that greatly supports UK retailers in their international expansion strategies.

What's the recipe for success then?

Let's look at what the experts say:

Andrew McClelland, Chief Operations & Policy Officer at IMRG, commented:

"Cross-border is the future of e-commerce, and the opportunity is particularly strong for UK retailers due to the advanced state and sophistication of the market here. Expanding internationally is a complex business however, and retailers need to carefully identify markets that are appropriate to them rather than just attractive in terms of value and growth. Research is everything when it comes to cross-border; there have been several instances of retail brands finding success by selling product ranges that they are not well-known for by consumers in the UK."

Jean-Marc Noël, Managing Director at Trusted Shops said:

"When shopping online for a good deal, being able to consider products from other countries can bring huge savings or greatly increase choice. This is clearly driving the growth of cross-border sales. However retailers should remember that most online markets are not as advanced as the UK. This means that a different approach must be taken as foreign shoppers may be more sceptical of shops based abroad.

"With a well-known trustmark in place, users can have the peace-of-mind they need in order to shop with confidence, and retailers can reap the benefits of tapping into a much wider audience."

Have any questions? Want to chat? Feel free to tweet us! @TrustedSHopsUK