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UK retailers must court overseas trade

10 October 2011 - 11:08 by Paul Tissington

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Companies based in the UK, who offer online shopping to domestic consumers, are failing to make their services appealing to international shoppers, according to a report from the European Consumer Centres Network (ECCN).

The study does note that cross-border e-commerce has taken a dramatic upturn in quality over the past few years, with an impressive 94 per cent of packages ordered from overseas eventually making their way to the buyer.

However, the ECCN has determined that retailers need to go further if they are to take full advantage of the burgeoning online market, which can break down arbitrary national boundaries as consumers seek out great deals and the products they need.

In the report, it is essentially stated that e-commerce firms need to give consumers a consistent experience, whether they are domestic or foreign. It also hopes to encourage a larger number of mainstream stores to offer international shipping.

The consumer will be the real beneficiary of increased overseas selling because UK residents who carry out safe shopping online will be able to enjoy lower prices, thanks to the increased competitive pressure on retailers.

There are 27 member states in the EU and the ECCN sees no reason why each should not contain retailers willing to sell to all of the others. Businesses would also benefit from a drastically expanded market and given the troubled state of the Eurozone, any boost to trade would be welcomed.

Tests carried out by the ECCN show that while retailers are often successful in sending packages overseas, actually getting information about the products being bought and the process involved can be quite complex and alienating.

Retailers need to break down these issues which are presenting problems for consumers, acting with a greater deal of transparency to ensure international trade flourishes.