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Global Ecommerce 101: How SMEs Can Reach New Markets

Global ecommerce 101: how SMEs can reach new markets

From shortbread to vintage-inspired clothing, there’s a growing market for British products overseas. Many smaller companies that have launched online sites are finding that many of their customers come from farther afield.

The obvious next step is adapting your website to reach overseas markets. That was the focus of a dedicated global ecommerce workshop held by Lingo24 in Edinburgh, with the help of DigitalSix and the Princes Trust.Christian Arno, Lingo24’s CEO, Kevin Thomson, Digital Marketing Manager, and Ewen Cameron, Technical Director at DigitalSix, shared their advice at the lively workshop.

The broad range of participants included Joanna Potts, of Lady Jojo’s Boutique, Michael Corrigan of the travel supplier, trtl, and Michael McDonagh of Little Devils Direct, which sells products for babies and children. They all have successful online retail sites, and are looking to grow internationally.

There was plenty of discussion on choosing the right platform and domain name, and how to use content marketing effectively. DigitalSix, a web development and design agency, specialises in creating dedicated ecommerce websites, and Ewen shared his advice for getting this right.

They also shared their experiences about selling to overseas markets, especially North America and Europe. Scottish products such as Lady Jojo’s tartan dresses and The Foodie Company’s shortbread were flying off the (virtual) shelves in the USA. Go Army’s British Army surplus clothing and equipment had also found fans around the generic levitra yemen globe.

Joanna said the event had helped her prepare for her website re-launch. She said: “They clearly knew their stuff very well indeed and it was great of them to share some of this knowledge.”

Five top tips from the event are:

  1. Choose your domain name carefully. A domain won’t get the visibility you want outside the UK, so an international domain such as .com is a better choice.
  2. Take advantage of content marketing. As well as creating your own blog, try to engage with bloggers in your sector.
  3. Choose the right ecommerce platform. WordPress’s WooCommerce is a good option to get started, but if you want greater functionality, Magento might be a better choice.
  4. Marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon have a huge international reach and are another easy, cost-effective way to get started.
  5. Don’t be afraid to emphasise your Britishness, Scottishness etc! Whether it’s unique clothing or delicious food, you could fill a gap in the market and cater for customers who are looking for something a bit different.

And here’s some more feedback from participants:

Saul Page of Go Army said: “Meeting was fantastic, has given me a lot of thought for food in increasing my sales in international markets”

Michael, of trtl, which markets a unique, lightweight “sleep scarf” for travellers, said: “One thing we will be implementing is a blog which we weren’t going to do before as we felt it would be too much work.”

Peter McLean of The Foodie Company added: “Great all round event, good discussion and loved the fact no question was a stupid question.”

Find out more about localising your website for overseas customers, or get in touch.

Hazel Mollison

Hazel Mollison edits and writes for the Lingo24 blog. After studying Italian and German at Cambridge University, she worked as a journalist for five years with regional and national newspapers. She enjoys writing about languages, translation, online marketing, and helping small businesses explore new opportunities.

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