As a business owner, you’re used to thinking big – and if you feel that the time is right to expand your wholesale distribution operation, the world really is your oyster. Growing your business in new countries is the next step for ambitious distributors who want to take advantage of a changing market and opportunities for increased sales, and there’s no reason why international trading needs to feel foreign to your company. If you’re looking to go global, BlueBridge One talks you through some of the considerations to think about ahead of overseas expansion.
1. Map out your territories
Once you’ve decided to distribute into other areas of the world, you’ll need to pinpoint where to focus your efforts – after all, the world is a pretty big place. You may look to international markets that are similar to your own to ease the transition, or may choose to limit your initial growth to countries within the EU. With Brexit creating uncertainty over related trade deals, and more political bargaining looming on the horizon, UK wholesale distributors will need to consider how moving into European markets will affect them during times of economic ambiguity, and how they can take advantage of any resulting opportunities which may present themselves.
Wherever you plan to reach out to, you’ll need to research whether the demand is present for the goods you’re offering, and who your target audience is. Talking to local retailers and customers will help you to establish how worthwhile it is to invest in distributing within a certain area, and forging strong local relationships or placing people at the site in question will help things to go more smoothly.
2. Sales channels with a global reach
Having planned the new locations and markets to which you will sell, you’ll need to select the ways in which you will carry out your transactions.
If you opt for using a distributor, you’ll need to source one, or if you choose to control distribution yourself, you’ll need to research legal requirements and distribution agreements in every country in which you operate. You may decide to sell through local retailers, who will need to be approached and negotiations made, or you can sell indirectly to other countries through UK based retailers who run overseas operations.
Online distribution via your eCommerce website ensures that you only need to ship goods directly to overseas customers. Arranging international freight will be your biggest logistical issue, and insurance should be put in place to cover stock lost or damaged in long haul transit. If you’re particularly confident about your expansion project, you may even be looking at opening new retail stores overseas.
3. Lost in translation
When you’re trying to replicate the success you’ve had locally into new areas, you may come up against cultural and linguistic barriers, and your current approach to promoting your products may need to be altered, or reconsidered entirely. Marketing messages may not work as well for foreign audiences as those closer to home, or may lose their impact when translated into another language. Understanding local customs, approaches to humour, things which may cause offence, and looking at popular brands and concepts on the ground will help you to realign the way you try to reach your potential buyers.
4. It’s all foreign to me
Expanding your business isn’t all you’ll need to worry about – you’ll also need to expand the way you think about and approach doing business. Operating in different countries means completely new ways of working, and requires a global mindset that takes into account the nuances of international trading. You’ll now need to think about processing different currencies, creating new pricing strategies, and monitoring exchange rates. Differing time zones will be an issue when communicating with contacts and offering customer service, as well as any language difficulties. You’ll also need to understand and implement overseas tax and selling laws, and customs duties, and be up to date with any relevant regulations and terms and conditions appropriate to every new territory.
Make international expansion less daunting with BlueBridge One
Knowing that your end-to-end business processes are operating as efficiently as they can be, and that your systems and processes are up to date will allow your wholesale distribution business to prepare for international expansion and cope with any economic impact post-Brexit. Implementing leading business management software will help you to grow into a global business and maximise your potential – to find out how BlueBridge One can guide you through the use of NetSuite talk to us today.
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