Power up your potential: embracing e-commerce and going global

DHL is a Business Reporter client.

The past few years have seen numerous challenges for businesses, with unexpected political and environmental events and constant change. Yet amid this upheaval, opportunities have emerged for businesses to establish or expand to an international customer base, which has helped to mitigate disruption. The Covid-19 pandemic showed businesses the disadvantages of relying solely on physical stores, while a key lesson from the recent economic volatility experienced is that it’s risky for businesses to depend exclusively on one market.

Having an e-commerce presence and an ability to go global can put businesses on a path to growth – even when navigating a tough local marketplace. Not only does exporting internationally safeguard against domestic trading conditions being weak, but often international sales can be more substantial and bring in greater profit. 20 per cent of international purchases are worth over £165 – ​a higher basket value than the domestic market – and goods are half as likely to be returned ​when shipments are cross- border.​

However, to successfully attract and retain customers, businesses need to ensure their customers are confident in their ability to meet their needs. Shoppers today expect everything on demand.​ They expect information to be readily available so they can make informed purchasing decisions, while looking for greater personalisation and sustainable delivery options. To be successful in a competitive landscape, businesses need to take the time to “health check” their websites and ensure communication with customers is clear and engages them in the right way. Ultimately an optimised online shopping experience will lead to increased visits, sales and repeat purchases.

Businesses should make sure that their website clearly displays where they ship to, delivery options, any import duties or taxes, tracking information, sustainable practices and return policies. This will save customers from having to scroll through your website, and help improve bounce rate.​ Creating an FAQ page to address customer queries is key to proactively addressing concerns and reassure shoppers. In times of disruption or trading difficulty, it’s wise to anticipate a surge in customer service enquiries and have adequate resources in place to respond promptly.

Alongside having a high quality and informative website, businesses should look to social commerce as an untapped opportunity for growth. Research has found that three out of four consumers now use social media for shopping, and worldwide social commerce revenue is predicted to reach over $3.4 trillion by 2028, according to Statista. With the right solution, businesses can integrate with a range of e-commerce platforms, streamline every step of the fulfilment process and leverage the power of social selling.

It’s clear that current unpredictable trading conditions won’t see significant improvements any time soon, so it’s prudent for businesses to explore other avenues for profit drivers and revenue. While making the first steps to expanding internationally will require confidence and bravery, it will pay dividends in the long run. With the right partner who has the right solutions and expertise, you too can power up your potential.

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