Playing to our Strengths: How UK Businesses can Harness Omnichannel to go Global


By Murray Lambell, Director of International Trade, eBay Europe

The UK has become the world’s second biggest online retail exporter. According to the British Retail Consortium, shoppers from all over the world are demanding UK goods, from UK brands, purchased easily over the internet. Consumers don’t mind if a product they want is at a local store or in a shopkeeper’s window halfway around the world. It’s now less about location and more about consumer engagement — anytime, anywhere.

The recent BRC figures show that foreign shoppers have been flocking to UK sites over the past year. The rapid uptake of smartphones globally has played a large part in the development. Retailers experienced a 64% increase in the total volume of overseas consumers searching for UK brands on smartphones, with a 41% year-on-year increase in the volume of searches by tablet.

Led by mobile, a commerce revolution is under way — how we shop today is being transformed at breakneck speed. Shoppers want convenience, speed and choice. They want to shop anytime, anywhere, on any device and we have to respond to how they shop.

Today there are around 2.5 billion internet users worldwide. That’s expected to grow to three billion over the next three years. There is no doubt that the popularity of UK brand names, coupled with a general rise in access to online shopping inevitably leads to an upwards trend of exports. UK retailers are perfectly placed to cater for this global demand — on eBay, fashion items are our biggest export but we see strong exports across all of our categories.

The fact that the UK is a leading light with its online exports also says a lot about our home-grown retail practices. Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, links the rise in exports to UK retailers investing heavily in... continued on page two >



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