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Amazon helps UK businesses improve overseas sales

07 February 2018 - 09:39 by Simon Crisp

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Companies based in the UK are taking advantage of e-commerce giant Amazon’s international reach to sell to customers elsewhere in the world, with exports hitting £2.3 billion last year.

The Telegraph reports that this is an increase of £500 million compared with 2016 and indicates that more British retailers are engaging with overseas customers via shopping online.

Amazon has been criticised in the past for putting pressure on smaller firms and making it harder for them to compete both on the web and on the high street. But the fact that it has also enabled SMBs to make billions through exports from its marketplace could improve its reputation and undo some of the earlier damage.

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said that he was pleased to see Amazon making a positive impact among small businesses and recognised its ongoing efforts to improve access to consumers in other countries.

Around 60 per cent of the British retailers which sell online using Amazon’s platform are making use of international shipping opportunities. And in fact 50 per cent of sales generated on this platform are made from smaller outlets, rather than the bigger players being entirely dominant.

Of course, this news is not entirely positive for retail in the UK, as experts are concerned about how the sector will fair domestically now that shoppers have the ability to pick and choose from a much broader selection of outlets based in far flung regions.

This leaves British firms having to compete with international rivals, while also being able to target customers in other markets. It is effectively a double edged sword and one which can only work in favour of the retailers that are able to wield it effectively and get ahead of the game.